Monday, March 15, 2010

I’m not an auto mechanic but

I’ve been driving for 25 years, many of those years with junk cars over a decade old when I got them, plus a number of years with cars that were no longer new, even though I purchased them that way.

I know a lot about what can go wrong with cars & am fairly good at diagnosing them.

I know the difference in sounds between a car not turning over because the battery is dead and a car not turning over because there is a problem with the fuel pump.

(correctly identifying this in DH’s truck last month as soon as at failed to start)

I know that that horrible grinding noise you hear sporadically while driving is probably caused by your brakes. Either the pads have worn off or there is a problem with the rest of the braking system, probably the rotors.

I know how to repair a problem with the radiator hose with a box cutter & duct tape.

I know the terrible sinking feeling the engine makes as the transmission suddenly goes out on you while you are driving. (having experienced it 3 times!)

I can correctly identify the timing & alternator belts and know what happens when they break while you are driving. (Not in the mini van or the Cruiser, but in any pre-1995 ford or chevy auto)

I know that if the CHECK ENGINE light comes on and stays on, with no accompanying ‘strange noise’ from the engine, that it really means CHECK BANK BALANCE

I not only know how to change a tire, I can do it on the side of the road on rainy night while wearing a dress and heels. Or in my own driveway while DH sleeps off the meds from having 2 teeth pulled. I have AAA now, but short of being in a life threatening position, like on the side of a busy highway & the flat being on the road side, I will probably get impatient waiting for them to show up after 30 minutes and change the tire myself.

I have done so as recently as 2 years ago.

I can change my own oil and transmission fluid (again, not in the mini van. We were given lifetime free scheduled maintenance as an incentive to buy, so I actually have no idea where the oil is added.  Though I do know how to jump start it)

Speaking of jump start it. The jumper cables in my mini van have been with me since 1988.

So I am not a novice when it comes to automobiles.

But there is one thing that has always eluded me about every single one of the cars I have owned except the 1972 Dodge Dart

I cannot for the life of me ever remember how to change the time on the clock. (the Dart had no clock)

I just keep punching combinations of buttons until I get fed up or the time changes. Should the time actually change I tell myself I will write down what I did and put the note in the glove compartment.

There is never a note in the glove compartment 6 months later and once again I just push random combinations of buttons and hope.

Sunday the clocks went forward. But so far, not the one in the mini van.


SciFi Dad said...

Chances are, the owner's manual for your van is available in PDF format online.

I know in many of my cars, if there wasn't a dedicated clock button, pressing and holding in the radio power button and then using the seek/scan rockers usually got the clock moving.

taless said...

I know nothing about cars, not even how to change a flat tire, but I know how to change the time. LOL. I'd prefer to know how to change a flat tire, though.

Creative Junkie said...

Holy cow - I need you to come sit by me when I'm driving so that you can diagnose all the strange and weird noises my car makes. I'll teach you how to change your clock - that's about the only thing I can fix correctly in my car.

Cheri Andrews said...

I've had some of those same experiences. And I definitely know what it sounds/feels like when the engine throws and rod and kills your car. Luckily on my minivan there is a little "h" button and a little "m" button right below my clock. One press of the "h" button and the clock is on the correct time!

TooManyHats said...

"Check bank balance" - LOL - btdt.

Why don't they rig the car clocks with the atomic clock like they do some watches - that would save everyone the frustration.

Rinda said...

Fantastic post today!!! I learned to change a tire in Driver's Education in High School and will make the kids learn before they get their license. Taught my 14 year old how to pump gas last summer. Not nearly as accomplished as you in the mechanic dept., but I could change the clock on my Toyota Avalon. Got a new BMW three months ago, and I could not figure out the clock this am either!

Comfy Mom said...

Sadly it is an after market radio. I am the owner's manual but it shows a different radio. I've had no luck so far with any button combination so I am going as the dealership guys to see if they can set it when I get my oil change done on Wed

Comfy Mom said...

I had that in one of my cars, but you also had to press another button at the same time & I always forgot which one & ended up reprogamming my programmed station buttons somehow

DawnMarch said...

I don't know much about cars, but I can usually get those clocks working right because it drives me crazy when the time is wrong!

humel said...

lol!! I'm in awe at your mechanical competence - if I change the clock for you as necesssary could you fix my car in return???