Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cars, Parts, Tools, and Time

I once had a friend tell me that the easiest way to learn to fix a car was to have a car, and be poor, at the same time. I presently fit that description to a tee.

Yes, I could take one, or both, of my cars to a shop. Have them looked at, fixed, and pay a mechanic a frankly exorbitant sum to take the problem out of my hands. But if I were to do that I would, one be unable to do anything else with the money that would be spent, and two have learned nothing.

If web design has shown me anything it's that there are professions that thrive on ignorance. Book keepers, mechanics, repair people of every ilk, and techies all thrive because everyone else wishes to live in complete, blissful, ignorance. While those in the know cash in on that desire to remain blissfully unaware.

Anyone can repair a car, build a computer, write a website, balance a checkbook. There is no mystery, no mystical force that enables one to do these things, it simply requires the tools, the time, and the desire to learn.

I have the desire, some of the tools, and ample opportunities to practice.

It always starts small, an oil change, a filter, gaskets, hoses, then it moves up, brakes, drums, plugs, then to the alternator, the starter, the radiator, after that your only limited by your tools, and your time.

Certain tools make life much easier, but are often out of reach of anyone but a shop. Tools like an arm lift, or a high capacity air compressor. Some other tools are simply cost-prohibitive, or space prohibitive. Tools that fall into this category are most tire tools, and alignment racks.

However, most of the above tools aren't necessarily required. Obviously most DIY mechanics won't rebuild their engine, or transmission. But anything else from the body panels to the electronics can be fixed, upgraded, modified, and diagnosed with hand tools and practice.

Let's see how far I go.

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