Saturday 31 August 2013

A Geek With a Leak

I am sure that I have mentioned this before, but it does bear repeating. Even though I think I should be able to do minor and medium repairs on an automobile, I can’t!

I know what I have to do, I have done some research, I have talked to friends that know about cars and I have a positive mental attitude towards success. Something always seems to go wrong. Often, the photo that is in the book and the engine in my car don’t look anything alike to my eyes. I know that they are the same, but mine is covered with rust, grease, dust and often old dried leaves. To my way of thinking, the people who write the book should take pictures of cars like mine so that guys like me will have some clue where to start. I don’t really want to work on the car at all; I sure don’t want to start by spending two hours cleaning a dirty, greasy engine.

Often there is whitish green powder on the terminals of the battery. I know the battery has nothing to do with the job I am attempting, but why is there powder there at all? I know I can clean that off and starting a job with a small success always makes me feel good about myself. I get a wire brush and start scrubbing the terminals like I am shining a pair of funeral shoes. This just spreads the powder all over the engine and some of it takes to the air and settles deep into my nasal cavities. Ok, now I could die from inhaling this greenish, white fucking powder. Nope, I don’t feel good about myself, my abilities or the upcoming job.
The rad on my car sprung a leak the other day and I was lucky enough to make it into the garage so that it could leak coolant all over the floor. I spent a day or so feeling sorry for myself, because I knew that I would either have to take the car to a mechanic or try to fix it myself. I did a Google search and found numerous articles and Youtube videos on everything to do with a leaking radiator. I narrowed the field down to using “Bars Leaks” or replacing the radiator.
Replacing the radiator would be the perfect solution and if I did the work myself it would cost about $100 and if I had a mechanic do the job it would be closer to $250. There is a very good chance that I would damage the whole car if I did the work, but I think I could do it with a moderate amount of frustration. Plus, I would save about $150, which is nothing to sneeze at.
“Bars Leaks” is a product that has been on the market for decades and I think I have even used it in the past. Unfortunately, I can’t remember if it worked or not. It is one of those products that you either love or hate. I would read a glowing report about someone that used it and it has been two years without a leak. The next comment would be from someone that tells you how it will clog the rad and heater core and it is at best a temporary fix. They say you might just as well use an egg white or some black pepper. WTF??

How is someone to decide? I went with the cheapest option and used the “Bars Leaks” ($4.79). Well, black pepper would have been cheaper, but I don’t want the kids to raise their eyebrows at me when I tell them why dad is riding his bike everywhere now. I read and re-read the instructions and then watched a video on how to use the stuff. You shake it up, pour it in the rad, and then fill the rad with coolant, which is just what I did. It says to let it run for 15 to 30 minutes, so I let it go for 40. It was still dripping coolant, but I didn’t know if it was the stuff left from the original leak, the stuff that leaked waiting for the “Bars Leaks” to take effect, or if God was just messing with me.
Surprisingly, the God thing happens more often than you might think.

I let it cool down out in front of the house, washed the residual coolant off of the engine and later took it in to get gas. The last time I looked at the garage floor, there were no tell tale drips. It looks like the cheap option worked! It has rarely been the cheap option that works. Things are turning around finally, and the universe is beginning to make sense.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

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