Basic Auto 101

Basic Auto 101

Recent events concerning a certain automobile, known as the filthy red jeep, have prompted me to jot this article, even though I haven’t really fooled much with car repairs since I was a teenage tomboy (now I’m an adult tomboy and a professional organizer in New York City, so why not, eh?)

What does it take to be a mechanic?

I’m not trying to tick off anyone – honestly, but seriously, when was the last time you had a competent mechanic fix your car correctly the first time? Back in 1993 when I wanted to get out of my Radio Shack geekdom and get into computer assembly and repair, I though, “man, how do you get into this business? Do you go to a special school? Do you have to get a license? Do you have to pass a test?” I was utterly surprised to find out that anyone could open a store and advertise themselves as a computer specialist. As long as you talked the talk, the average person never knew if you knew what you were talking about or not. Now, I’m not saying that’s what I did – I took my computer knowledge so seriously that within the particular shop where I worked, I became the “knowledge bank.” I was responsible for reading all the magazine articles, hunting down emerging technology, knowhing about device and software incompatabilities and basically anything else that might affect how we ran the business… but there was no means of “certification” back then for anything we did – we just learned as we went and it was up to our clients to decide if we were competent enough to keep a job.

Now back to cars… A few weeks ago, I noticed water leaking from my car… no, scratch that, a few MONTHS ago a friend of mine noticed water leaking from my car. When I got married, I took a haitus from car fixing so I reported the leakage and my observation of it and the man of the house ordered a new radiator right then, based on my telling him where the water appeared to be dripping from – even though it seemed to me like a rash decision… that weekend he took the car to his brother’s house and they prepared to “fix” it. Now to his credit, my brother-in-law said “hey, let’s pressure this up before we tear into it and see exactly where the leak is.” Guess what? It reportedly never leaked while they sat there with the engine running for over an hour. That’s what they told me anyway

“Maybe it was just overrun from the antifreeze reservoir.” Or not…

In mid-July, I moved about 200 miles west, in the dead of summer, and discovered, about two weeks after getting moved in, that my vehicle was indeed leaking again… and this time it was a little more serious – as in I saw a puddle in the rearview mirror after I sat for a couple of minutes at a traffic light!