Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I think everyone remembers when one of the exhaust pipes on my car rusted through and broke last summer and made riding in my car an unforgettable experience. When I had it brought in for a check-up the mechanics put a quick weld on the rusted metal, a quick fix. A week or two ago the weld broke, proving the pipe needed to be replaced altogether. I took it into a mechanic to have that replaced and while there I asked the mechanic to take a look at the rest of the engine and see what needed tuning up. Apparently there were quite a few things that could be done- the valve cover gasket needed to be replaced and it was leaking oil into the engine block, and the spark plug wires and plugs needed to be replaced immediately. He said other things that needed to be done but weren't as urgent. Those included changing the cooling fluid and changing the fuel filter.

I gave him the green light on the spark plug wires and the valve cover gasket (gaskets scare me a little bit because what if I don't get the seal like I should? Plus, a lot of gaskets take substantial work to get to.) I told him not to replace my spark plugs, that I wanted to do that. So he fixed what I asked, then I stopped on the way home to get some spark plugs, and a spark plug socket (thanks, dad, for telling me recently that spark plugs need special sockets). Bryan asked me recently if he could observe whenever I fixed something on my car so I waited for him to get home and we changed the spark plugs on my car.

I've taken so long to explain this because it was a large feeling of accomplishment. I had never changed a spark plug before. When I got under the hood I regretted having him change the wires (he also changed the distributor cap, but I don't know if I could have done that). The wires look like something I could have done. It left me wondering if, instead of taking my car back in to have the other things done, I should just try to do them myself. I checked on the price of a fuel filter at auto zone and just the parts would cost $174 while the mechanic would do it for $114. When I googled the fuel filter online, I found it for less than $50, but it didn't look like the same fuel filter that I saw at auto zone. Any thoughts on how easy on this may be? Dad, I'm specifically hoping for feeback from you. Also, for any of you who have taken your car in to had a complete service on your cooling system, is $90 a good price?

In any case, my car sounds like a dream now, I don't remember if it was this quiet before, but I feel like I'm driving a new car with how quiet it sounds. I have a date this Friday, and I wanted to get it fixed before then, but I hiked the Y with this girl last weekend and didn't stress about getting it fixed before then. I know you're all wondering "why not?" The answer is that now when she gets in my car it will feel new and nice to her too, and we can joke about how bad it sounded. That's my best attempt to make the best out of a bad situation.

I think that's all for right now, but I hope to put up some pictures next week. Oh, and for anyone wondering how much I saved by replacing my own spark plugs, it was a little over $40 (by the mechanic's estimate).