Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Car Maintenance Lessons

I had this great idea that one way to save money is to learn how to do some car maintenance myself instead of going to the stealership. Over the past few months, I have been accumulating tools, manuals, etc. This past weekend, I tried something ambitious -- changing the fuel filter on our 1999 Saturn. There were some important lessons from this endeavor:

  1. It's helpful to have a neighbor who is handy and has a lot of tools.
  2. NOTHING is as easy as it looks!
  3. Some things aren't where the Haynes Manual or the Saturnfans web page say they are.
  4. Bolts that have been in place for seven years and 90,000 miles are going to be really difficult to remove, and may very well shear off.
  5. If you lie down on a cold, hard, concrete floor for any period of time and do not have a pad, you may experience some back pain for a few days.
  6. Make sure the maximum height the floor jack lifts your car is greater than the minimum height of the jack stands you bought.
  7. Keep receipts from Sears Hardware, or at least all the original packaging.
  8. Gasoline can make your jacket smell.
  9. A beginner can jack the car up, support it on stands, and not have it fall on him. Then again, maybe that's beginner's luck.
  10. That dirt and grime can stay on your hands for quite a few days, even if you wash them vigorously.
  11. Maybe I should try learning to do brakes instead. At least I won't be under the car!
  12. It's helpful to have a neighbor who is handy and has a lot of tools.