You need to change the air in your tires

It generally takes me about twenty minutes to open the hood of my car. The operation requires fingers the size of Slim Jims, a flashlight, and the ability to bench press half your body weight. Once you accomplish that, you need to find the coat hanger size rod that will prevent the hood from crushing your head like a walnut.

When I finally get the hood up on my jeep, it requires both hands and an engineering degree to even find the motor. My knowledge of auto maintenance consists of: the check engine light is a bad thing; and ignore the low fuel light at your own peril.

We had no check engine light on our old Ford Falcon. You knew it was time to get a tune-up whenever the car came to a grinding halt on some dark backwoods road 40 miles from nowhere. My jeep is designed to do a couple of hiccups and a grinding sound when it’s time for the 40,000 mile maintenance. Honestly.

So yesterday when we picked up my husband’s truck from the garage, he didn’t even make it home before the check engine light came on again. Since he can’t take any more time off work, it falls to me to take it back in and convince them that I know what I’m talking about.

“The check engine light came back on.”

“Must be the alternator.” (It’s always the alternator).

“It also hiccupped on the way in here.”

“To be on the safe side, we better rotate the tires and change the air.”

While everyone knows that your car handles better on fresh air, I’m pretty sure that’s not the problem. All I know for sure is that I better take a good book, a lunch, and a false sense of optimism.

I know going into it that I’m going to get fleeced. Each time the mechanic opens his mouth, I regret getting that Spanish literature degree in college. It’s all Greek to me.

12 thoughts on “You need to change the air in your tires

  1. LOL Mechanics really do think they know whats going on by the “sounds” of things. Yeah, it’s all a guessing game, I think. None of them really know for sure, and then they charge you and ‘arm and a leg’ for the service they have provided. Maybe you should tell them to use helium in your tires. At least if you get stranded, you could have some fun…

  2. As an undergraduate foreign language major (French) myself, I can attest to the utility of being able to curse in a tongue that no one – especially the mechanics – can understand. So if you get really steamed, just tell ’em, “Le chat est dessous la table.” That’ll get them purring.

    • OMG! The only french I know is, le chien est sur la table, so I almost know what you’re talking about.

  3. Karla, you know more about vehicle maintenance than I do.

    I have a friend who could never remember to check the oil in her car. One day, she pulled into a service station (back when full service still existed) and the guy filling her tank asked if she wanted him to check her oil.

    “My dad says my car doesn’t use oil,” she told him. (Ah, so she did realize her dad was being sarcastic when he said that….)

  4. Reminds me of the one time I attempted an engine repair myself.

    Got the best advice from my buddies. Scanned a manual, sort of. Get the best approximation of the tools suggested and set to work.

    A few hours later, the car actually started right up. I put it in gear and it went all of 10 feet before the engine blew up… 🙂

  5. I’m feelin’ ya about the car maintenance fleecing. I can’t speak a foreign language (unless you count my Southern drawl, which surfaces when needed), but I try to play the ‘Grandma’ card and compliment the “handsome young man” on how polite he is….and then lead ever-so-sweetly, I lead into the pitiful story about living on a fixed budget and having to take the cat’s food if this maintenance costs too much. I don’t know if it works but I don’t think so, because I never get out of that garage with less than a $700 bill. So much for Grandma flirting techniques.

  6. Isn’t that the truth! It is all Greek to many of us, and they take advantage of that fact!

  7. The check engine light is a scam to get people to bring their car in for expensive check-ups. Mine goes on whenever it’s time for an oil change but it doesn’t tell me what it’s about. It also goes on for burnt out light bulbs and other stupid things that have nothing to do with the motor.

  8. Car mechanics, lawyers, and accountants… all fleecing con artists just waiting to take your cash, they are…

    *gets clobbered by the Mechanics, Lawyers, and Accountants Consortium*

  9. As I recall, maintaining that old Falcon involved a long weekend, lots of swearing, and us kids learning how to grind valves and change piston rings. Dad had to have the car working again by Monday morning in time for work. I don’t even dare open the hood on my Honda lest I touch the wrong doodad.

  10. Thanks for the information; I’ll see if I can come up with something! (for sneak peeks, I mean)

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