I have finally fixed my car, today.
Once upon a time, approximately 27 years ago, I had three old (1971, 1972, and 1973) Volkswagens. A standard Beetle, a Superbeetle, and a “microbus”. Those old VWs were the only automobiles I had ever worked on, until last week. I have a 1999 Toyota Corolla, and I am the original owner of the thing. In my opinion, the Toyota Corolla is nearly indestructible. For example, I STILL have the original muffler on the car, after sixteen years.
Now, about two years ago, I started leaking power steering fluid, such that I had to refill it periodically, wherein a quart would last me about 2-3 months, depending how far I had driven. This was, of course, a pain in the ass. But, I didn’t have the money to take it to a mechanic, so I endured. Recently, I had saved enough money, I had thought, to pay a mechanic to fix it.
Now, I told three different mechanics that I had the part, and all they needed to do was replace the hose. The three mechanics told me that they would charge me from $190 + tax to $250 +tax. OK, I may have had a stroke in the past, but I am not stupid. I bought the part I needed, I bought some tools, on amazon.com, and from O’Reilly’s (the place I bought the part from), and watched some appropriate videos on YouTube.com. And when it was warm enough (in North Dakota), I started in.
In my opinion, it was difficult and frustrating for me, but it was far better than paying an overpriced mechanic to do it for me. I had all sorts of problems, the one end of the hose was nearly inaccessible, and I had to buy another tool to get to the bolt. Even so, I could only turn that bold 1/6 of a turn at a time before I had to reposition the tool. And, because of my stroke, I had to stop when I had an obstacle so I can think about it. And I had missed a day because I was broken up by my cat dying on Monday night, and I had a medical procedure on Tuesday morning.
But on Wednesday 15 April 2015 at approximately 1:30 PM I had replaced the power steering fluid hose, filled it up with power steering fluid, tightened that damnable bolt until it stopped leaking, and I was done.
Yes, it took a long time for me in this task, as I kept misplacing tools and having to look for them again and again. But I did overcome my stroke-induced brain damage, and I eventually got the thing fixed.
OK, for me, this is an accomplishment. I was, and still, nervous about doing repairs to my Toyota. There are too many gizmos to have to work around to get to anything on the car. And I was, and am, concerned that I will break something other than what I working on. But in this task, I have done the deed and that is, in my opinion and observation, what men do well.
Men make attempts to fix something that they barely understand, and old men, in general, do the research they need to do what they want to do. I was without a car for three days as I was making repairs on my car, and I came out it successful. Other men out there can, and probably do, the very sort of thing that I have just done. In general, men are natural mechanics, we like to take things apart and put things back together again. We take apart our computers when they have died in the hopes that they can salvage SOMETHING from that dead computer. That is, in my opinion, the nature of manliness. We do thing to try and learn something, and maybe, sometimes, we actually learn something from that experience.
Men do not take the safe route, we are not daredevils, but we are explorers. We fail at times, but we succeed at times, and that makes it all worth while.