Learning to Car

Adventures in Learning How to Car

In April when my mom died I inherited a car. It’s a beautiful ’96 Dodge Dakota complete with duct tape, a bent frame, a spray painted door and one useable mirror. It’s my first car ever and it’s been quite a learning curve.
A few weeks ago the brakes went out, mid driving, like totally out not able to stop out. My boyfriend was driving so he was able to use the e break to stop the truck and get it back to my house and park it.
As I listed above, the truck has a lot of quirks and 250,000 miles on it so I’m not wanting to spend money on any major maintenance. So I did some googling to try see if I could figure out what was wrong and how to fix it myself. I figured out that one of the break lines had a leak and it’s an easy thing to fix yourself. Actually getting to the part where I could fix it took a while. Apparently the break lines for my truck aren’t common so I had to call all over the city for somewhere that had them in stock. I also had no tools and the added bonus of not knowing the real name of the tools I needed. No one else knows what a cruncher (vice grips) and twisty wrench (still don’t know the real name) are. So it took a little bit to find someone to borrow them from. Which it turned out my boyfriend had them. Finding a lug wrench was actually the hardest part. No one owns these anymore so I had to go buy one.
After I had all the stuff I needed, I got everything together, all my parts and tools, drip cloth, light, etc. Then I go to take a bolt off and it won’t budge. I felt pretty defeated I’m not going to lie, I love tinkering and fixing things. It took me a while to figure out how to fix this and get everything together and I failed on step one. And I had to ask for help.
I’m fiercely independent I don’t need no body kind of girl. I try and do everything myself, I hate asking for help. I’ve gotten pretty handy so I’m never going to have to wait weeks for a boyfriend to hang a picture frame, install a light fixture, patch dry wall, I am Mrs Fit It. I rarely come across something I can’t do or figure out. So I asked my big strong handsome boyfriend to come help me. He was pretty excited because like I said I never ask for help and when I do it’s usually “can you open this jar” kind of stuff. I appreciate him so much. He got there and I showed him the bolt that wouldn’t come off and he said “I’ll loosen it for you and then let you take over. I know you want to do it yourself.” My strong independent women mentality is something that he appreciates about me. Instead of trying to do it for me or having some kind of machismo gender roles complex about he should be the car fixer man in the relationship, he decided to support and nurture me with this new project. Turns out, being a 100lb little human, there was lots of bolts I couldn’t unscrew that he helped me with.
So like 2 hours later after replacing a break line and bleeding the breaks we fixed it. I’d say it cost me about $30 to do at home (after I return the totally useless out dated technology that is a lug wrench) so I saved about $100+.
Some things I learned from this are, small people like myself just aren’t strong enough sometimes, it’s science. Lug wrenches are not called tire irons but everyone knows what you’re talking about when you say that. Lug wrenches are worthless, don’t waste money on one. I couldn’t find one to borrow and it’s because they are totally useless unless you are the strongest human ever so no one owns one. Car goop takes finger nail polish off so don’t fix your car right after you get your nails freshly sharpened. Bleeding brakes sucks. Working on cars isn’t really very fun. That’s all I got.

2 thoughts on “Adventures in Learning How to Car

  1. Lug wrenches are only useless until you need to change a tire (like say when you have a flat tire on the side of the road,) in which case you kind of need one to take the lug nuts off. They’re kind of useful at that point.
    Otherwise, good job fixing it yourself! In the almost 20 years of driving, I’ve had to put my vehicle into the shop a total of 3 times. 1 was an electrical issue that I could not find, 1 was a water pump that I didn’t have the proper tools to replace and the tool was more expensive than having the shop do the job, and the 3rd was an engine issue that I was unable to diagnose. Once they diagnosed it, I did the repairs to fix it. YouTube is an EXCELLENT source to learn how to do something that you don’t know how to do btw. Everything I know about working on cars, I’ve learned because my car broke down and I was too broke to put it in the shop to get it fixed.


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