Monday, June 22, 2009

The fun of car repairs

Or, why you really should get a mechanic to check your vehicle over.

The LA and I have me driving a Volvo, which we've slowly given enough fettling to keep in running order for a good long time. However, compared to the $1000 purchase price, we've now put in roughly $700 for repairs, including new belts, a new battery, new tyres... but now, it's set for a good while. I've actually got lifetime balancing and rotation on the tyres, which is useful, and it's pretty much set. I'll be keeping an eye on fluid levels, and getting a plano box to keep spare bulbs in the trunk. Funny story there; I had it in the shop this morning, getting the belts and battery replaced, and it turns out that to replace the battery, the right-side headlamp needs to be disconnected. I tend to use the headlamps as DRLs (among other things, I feel slightly wrong in a Volvo without DRLs!), but had turned them off to save the mechanics the trouble... and so, when I turned them back on, BING! The idiot light to warn me that a bulb somewhere was out lit up. I wasn't braking at the time (the high stoplight had blown over the weekend, so I was intending to get the right bulb for that anyway), so this was clearly a Bad Thing. So, I got home, checked my lights, and found... yup. The right-side headlamp was out. (bonus points if you're better at seeing where this is going than I was at the time)

So, off I went to the parts store, to get two headlamp bulbs (much like tyres, they ought to be replaced in pairs), and a bulb for the blown stoplight. Grabbed those, resisted the glass cleaners (my windscreen is 15; that's why it's somewhat gritty, and no amount of cleaners will fix that. Not stuff you can buy at any Kragen (for the UK folk: think Halfords)) and headed home to install them. Popped open the bonnet, and... erm, that looks wrong. Shouldn't there be a cable going into the back of the headlight assembly? Let me have a look... hmm, here's this cable sat neatly out of the way... ah. So, it connects like so... let me go see if the light works now... feh. Yup.

So I have two spare headlamp bulbs, which should be put in a nice protective box before I put them in the back, and it turns out that the bulbs for that stoplight do most of the rear lights, as well as only coming in pairs. So, inevitably, I accumulate a bulb kit. It's good practise to have one anyway, and it's not as though bulbs are heavy. Also, every single bulb in this machine is a tool-less replacement.

I should really call junkyards. I ought to replace the bashed-in indicator, it would be nice to replace the worn-out sun visor on the driver's side, I wouldn't mind replacing the missing ohshit handle on that side either, and I suppose the grille could stand to be replaced.

Oh, and the shop offered me a credit on my next visit for the disconnected headlamp. I was happy with that, and I've replaced the old plate frame (for the previous owners' favoured shop) with one of theirs.

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