Gasoline Alley

Every year since I grew up, I have found myself under my car in the dead of winter.  And it’s already happened this year.

This is because I actually can fix cars, drive cheap cars that are likely to need work in the winter, and because I’m willing to do it.  This time it was changing the alternator, often a standing, through-the-hood sort of thing, but on my ’88 Honda, it must be done from underneath the car.  And after it’s unbolted, the axle has to droop a bit for it to clear the things in its way on the way out.  So I had to jack up the car to make this happen even though it was already on ramps.

I was deliberate, calm, and took great care to stay comfortable.  I set up a space heater under the car, and laid lights all over the place.  It paid off; I finished fairly quickly and without pain or broken skin.

So I’ve learned something in thirty-five years.  I wonder how long I’ll keep doing this?

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4 Responses to “Gasoline Alley”

  1. The Modesto Kid Says:

    Nice. It is a regret of mine — albeit one I have taken few or no steps to remedy — that I lack mechanical know-how. When I was a teenager I did stuff like building a bicycle, and (with my uncle) dissassembling and reassembling his car — but then I spent about 10 years not doing any of that, and when I tried it again, none of the previous experiences seemed to have stuck with me.

  2. CharleyCarp Says:

    I find the modern automobile altogether too complicated. A pre-75 car was a simple thing — my 64 Dodge pick-up could often be fixed with a ball peen hammer.

  3. I don't pay Says:

    Oddly enough, I’ve found them getting easier to work on again, after having, as you said, getting more complicated in the 70s. The initial response to emissions laws in the late sixties and early 70s was to add things to existing engines, making them more complicated and poorer-running. Engines made from the start with the rules in mind were much more straightforward. And the replacement of electro-mechanical mechanisms like distributors and carburetors with the digital devices of now is another step towards simplicity and reliability.

  4. xadtt Says:

    Good site!!!

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