Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gettin' Dirty

Holy long holiday weekend! I wasn't intending to take a few days off from blogging but lo and behold, it happened. There were burgers to grill, beer to drink, parties to attend...I just didn't have the time to sit down and write! It's really been a lovely three day weekend for us. Though we didn't do any of the home projects we had planned, good friends, good food and lots of afternoon naps have left us refreshed and rearing to go for our fall season! Well, actually, I lied. We did get to one thing on the list. Rotating the tires on my van...

I drive a 2007 Dodge Caravan. We went with a Dodge Caravan because that is the kind of van my parents drove when I was a kid. They had one of the very first minivans, complete with the fake wood paneling on the outsides of the doors. Fancy. And though I was just a kid and really didn't pay attention to such details, I don't remember our vans being broken down much. They were good, sturdy vehicles that we drove into the ground before purchasing the exact same thing a few years later.

So imagine my shock and disgust when, with only 34,000 miles on it, my van needed new brakes AND rotors, a new battery and four brand spanking new tires due to uneven wear patterns. WHAT? My van is used mainly for city driving. We take it home to the ranch a few times a year but the most "off-roading" my van ever sees is when I cut a turn too close and jump the curb. I am RELIGIOUS about oil changes and try my very best to keep up with preventative maintenance so that my van will last at least until the kids are in middle school. But no such luck.

Since the van needed several hundred dollars in repairs, we had to pick the most pressing issue and repair the rest later or on our own. We paid for the brake job which, even with a coupon, was around $300 smackeroos. Four new tires cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 and a new battery around $100. Rather than pay for labor, we decided to try to tackle the other problems (the tires and the battery) ourselves and save a buck or two.

And so, on my long Labor Day weekend, I learned how to change a tire. I'm all for saving money and learning the skills needed to be more self sustaining but I can't lie....I wasn't thrilled that my husband wanted to lock me in the garage and make me get dirty. But, in order to get a few thousand more miles out of my tires before we have to buy new ones, we rotated the front tires to the back. Ideally, this should be done every other oil change but the place where I have been taking my van doesn't offer that service. So it's never been done. And since my car is front wheel drive, my front tires bear the brunt of the work and are in way worse shape than their rear counterparts.

It was hot, sweaty work but surprisingly, not that hard! I learned how to use a jack...

and how to wield a tire iron!

Because we had to remove all four tires, hubby did help for the sake of time but I did two of the tires all by myself! Tires are nasty, dirty things and I ended up with black smudges all over my sweaty face but I was pretty proud.

I'd like to learn how to change my oil next. Knowing how to perform basic car maintenance can save us a bundle and it's just good info to know. The more we can do by ourselves the better!

1 comment:

  1. so proud of you. last time i had to try to change a tire, i just stood there looking at the manual and trying to figure out what step they had left out because the dumb lock thingys wouldn't turn (the instructions left out the key to the locked thing). Lucky for me a group of guys drove by saw me (likely laughed out loud) drove back around to help. They were very nice and didn't even have to look at the directions!