My brother can fix about anything. When he was in 6th Grade he built a motorcycle from parts of two junked ones. But, I’m the one in my family who’s known as being ‘mechanically challenged’. I’ve never burned up an engine by running a car out of oil or tried to drive off while the car’s still on the jack or anything really stupid like that, but I haven’t really done a whole lot of auto-work outside of changing oil occasionally. I did puncture an oil pan once (with a little ‘guidance’ from my brother Dan), and actually, in the process of rotating tires once, I popped a hole in the gas tank, right at the lip of the fuel intake. I got to learn how to install a new fuel tank that fun day.
My lack of mechanic acumen presented itself very early in life, when I was ‘helping’ my dad in the garage and decided pliers would work well for removing an oily clump of dirt from my stomach. I still have a scar to attest to the fact that squeezing pliers harder does not make them release whatever they’re holding – even if that happens to be skin. (Stop laughing, I was only 4.)
But today, I have actually diagnosed a problem with my car (with a little help from the nice people at Autozone with the cool little computers), and fixed it. The engine light was on because a cylinder was misfiring (and when you only have 4 cylinders like my little Dodge Avenger that’s a big reduction), so I took out the plug wire for that cylinder and found some corrosion on the terminal of the ignition coil. So I got a new coil and installed it.
Realizing that if a little fix is good, a little more might be even better, I changed the spark plugs (which I properly gapped), and replaced all the plug wires. In the process of all this, I ripped out a hose that was so brittle it broke in my hands, so I replaced that as well as the little PCV valve attached to it. And for good measure, I’m changing the air filter tonight.
Fun, fun, fun…