Chaos Attraction

Auto Mechanics Class, Week Eight

2014-05-21, 10:48 a.m.

Previous class here.

This is the last class for me, as I have not been able to get a makeup shift to go to Thursday. Sigh. Oh well. Whatever.

Tonight's class was checking the electrical system: hooking up the battery to voltage meters and then revving the car (and turning on the headlights, radio, and other power-using things) to see if the voltage remained at acceptable levels. I am pleased to report that my car was fine on this score, though someone else's battery needed replacing. We also learned about jumper cables and how to hook them up to cars, which is very useful information. I should probably go buy jumper cables at some point. You know, when I have money. Hah. I also cleaned battery acid off the battery and refilled the water in the battery. The latter was a bit tricky, but hey, nobody got electrocuted and it still works. Or THAT part does, anyway.

We also were to check the fuses. He wanted us to actually remove a few fuses and look at them to see if the wiring was broken or anything like that. However, my car did not make that easy. According to the car manual and the back map on the fuse box, the tweezers designed to remove the fuses were in some hidden secret box under the driver's side wheel....frankly, none of us could freaking find how to get to it and even the teacher was all, "not worth trying to unearth this." So we didn't actually remove any fuses.


A big thing in this class is to put the key in the ignition and "only move the key one click." This sort of makes the car able to move the steering wheel without actually turning it on all the way. If you have the car in neutral and have the key in one click, you can move the cars from the high school class out of the shop and back, which is something that goes on at the start and end of every class. (Note: by the end of this class they finally made me steer the cars to put them back, which I had been avoiding doing up until this. It was scary and the cars had to be pushed back and forth into the bay a few times because steering was difficult. Not my favorite thing to try ever, there.) My car does not like doing this, for whatever reason, and things tend to not work or misbehave if I try it. Nobody will listen to me about how this doesn't go well.

So what happened was that my hood was up and I had to sit in the car "moving the key one click" while Car Buddy and the teacher watched from the other side to see if the fuses made clicking noises (which they should if all is well) if I did things like turn on the radio while the car was on one click.

Doing this, apparently, breaks the radio. Or the car thinks you are trying to steal it or something*, because then the radio started giving error messages and wanting me to put in some sort of code. I stupidly continued to try to monkey with it and managed to fuck the thing up even more and turned the radio settings completely OFF. THEN I finally decided to go read my car manual, which said that I had to put the car code in if this happened and I'd have better saved the card this was on! Now this had NEVER come up as a topic with L, but I went through the rest of the glove compartment and found her old stuff from when she bought the car and found what appeared to be an audio card....with two sets of numbers on it. HMMMM. But the manual also said it'd be disabled for the next two hours, and it was nearing 10 p.m. again by the time this crap happened, so I gave up and figured I'd have to try to fix this on my own tomorrow morning.

* people tried to explain that I had temporarily disabled the battery or something, but frankly, I did not comprehend this and it didn't make much sense at all. It's not like we even touched anything or took anything out!

After that finished up, Car Buddy left early because there wasn't anything to check on his car (kinda sad, wish I'd been able to say goodbye and thanks), but I hung around to help another girl put the air in her tires. Which sounds totally ironic, but I figured I could get some pointers on how to get air in the tires. We could figure out how to measure the air in the tires--first we used the stupid stick tire measure that the teacher likes, which said that one of her tires was at 20 PSI and another was at 25 and the rest were at 30. Then we told him this and he said, "Check with someone else's tire gauge." So we pulled out her car buddy's digital gauge, which said that all of her tires were at either 28 or 28.5. Ahem. I pointed this out to the instructor and he was all, "Well, mine works fine." I think L was right in that the digital is better. Anyway, the teacher booted up the free air gauge thing hanging from the ceiling...and the other girl could still figure out how to get air in it just fine and I could not. I put it over the valve just like she said and it still kept on hissing and wasting air. I just can't get this, apparently. Or will have to pay someone else to, or call Merry every time...I don't know, but grr. Well, she got air in her tires, at least.

After that came the aforementioned moving of the cars back--eeek--and then I said goodbye to everyone left. I asked the teacher when he runs the class usually and he said fall and spring, but this fall he'd gone to Turkey instead. I may take it again even though he does the same things--I still feel like there's more to learn and to get the hang of.

Now, this morning.... I went out to the car at seven a.m. to try to fix the radio. Except the radio stayed off. And the clock on the car appeared to have frozen at 9:50-ish since the whole kerfluffle happened. Uh-oh. So I e-mailed the mechanic asking if this was a quick fix--OF COURSE NOT.

This time I left work right after I got the e-mail and spent an hour going over there, dropping off the car (again) and getting another semi-scary loaner (again). I think I may have learned my lesson on doing late car drop-offs. So who the hell knows if it can be fixed or not or how expensive it's going to be...but I cannot stand a quiet car right now and thinking my own thoughts without distraction in there, so ugh. I have a writing group meeting tonight but I think it's gonna stay up in the air as to whether or not I go if I have no radio and/or a loaner to deal with by 5 p.m.

I am really fried this week for various reasons and it's only Wednesday. And this is the easy day because the rest of the week is going to suck. I'm not looking forward to the three day weekend because I am going to be doing nothing but washing and cleaning, but at least it'll be quiet, away from humans, and I can sleep.

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