Chaos Attraction

Auto Mechanics Class, Week Two

2014-04-08, 9:16 a.m.

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This week's class had a field trip, or at least the first nearly three hours of class were held at a car wash, which was also suitable for engine washing. Last week we had thirteen people show up--this week four more turned up, which was ah, interesting. They're lucky that the adult ed people actually sent out a notification saying where the class was going to be held this week, or else things would have been awkward. As is, it was really funny (I'm sorry, but it WAS) that two guys showed up ON THEIR BIKES. Yes, two fellows didn't think that an auto mechanics class required you to have any kind of vehicle. I think one guy didn't even own a car, but he said he could go get his dad's. So those guys had to ride home really quick to get cars. Yes, I live in the one town ever where people ride their bikes to the car class.

Anyway...while my car buddy did bring his friend's car (a Subaru), he was cool with working with me, so yay on that. Also, whew. People opened up their hoods (I had no idea how to do this, of course), and we were told to look around for oil leaks and acid buildup on the battery. These points were to be REALLY washed. We also had to check under the front tires for possible leaks to be washed. Then we sprayed down the entire engine, trying to get every nook and cranny, with the Gunk. I pretty much used up the whole can except for a little bit that I handed off to my buddy. He told me that his friend with the car had taken this class before and recommended it, so I was all, "hey, hopefully he can give tips." Then we plugged quarters into the machine and started hosing down the engine a few times. Using that kind of pressure hose is...interesting....and wet. After that, the first level of cars being done got moved over to dry while the second round of cars got their engines washed.

I found out that drying off the engine pretty much boiled down to "wipe it down with rags." I would have figured something more high tech would have been involved in that, like some kind of vacuum (they had some kind of setup for one in the back). After that, we were to rev up our engines and see how the car was doing. Mine happily didn't seem to need anything else done to it and it ran fine, but the teacher did point out that half of my car lights are burned or burning out. I haven't been doing much driving at night recently except for last week's class in the rain, so I hadn't noticed. He said to pick up some bulbs for next week. My car buddy, on the other hand, had some issues. Water got into his spark plugs and he was trying to dry them out, but that wasn't going well. The teacher recommended using paper towels at some point, but then the paper towels would fall apart down there and the poor guy was trying to get the remnants out with sticks. Eventually the teacher was all, "just drive it back to the class and we'll work on drying it out somehow." I was never quite clear as to what they were going to do about that.

Around 9:45 at night (note that the class supposedly ends around 10 p.m, incidentally), he told us all to drive back to the high school and we'd get our "car key." This is apparently a piece of paper where you write down stuff like your model and VIN number and other things we don't know yet that we're supposed to bring with us while ordering parts. Next week we are supposed to be changing oil in our cars, but it sounds like most people don't quite NEED to do it yet (or in the case of one person, they just got it done before class!). I'm not sure what I am going to do, since I got told to either do it around March or around the car getting 97,000 miles, and mine's at 96-something at the moment and I'm not likely to drive that far right now. He was all, "Maybe do it later in the class?" I don't know. I might just go buy the oil and filter along with the car lights.

Anyway, like I said, this was around the end of the class....but he proceeded to lecture for the next hour on different kinds of oil and additives and what to buy and what the difference between oil and gasoline was. Useful, but....dude, some of us have to work tomorrow and class seriously did not get out until nearly eleven. I get the feeling I will be pulling extreme late nighters every Tuesday here. Oh yeah, and he definitely wants all Thursday make-up classes, to be determined later. Grrr.

Well, at any rate, my engine is clean to work on, I sort of have an idea of how to open it (it's tricky), and I finally know what "neutral" on the car is for. So there's that!


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