There is nothing like your first wheels. Getting a car is both one of the first true tastes of independence – how glorious to no longer have to rely on parents and friends to get you want to be – and one of the first true burdens of responsibility – both that of maintenance and that of not killing other road users.
First you have to remove the wheel. Make sure the emergency brake is engaged and position the jack under the spot indicated in the owner’s manual to avoid damaging the vehicle. Loosen the lug nuts slightly. Then lift up the vehicle until it is high enough from the ground to remove the wheel entirely.
I’ve decided that the car’s tyre is number three in the trio of bad luck that have apparently invaded my life.
Friday morning I went to a fitment centre and they advised me to rather replace the damaged tyre. You can’t fit a new tyre on only one side of the car, so I asked them to place the tyre from the spare wheel on the other side, but it turned out to be a different size from the tyres on the mag wheels, so I had to fit new tyres both sides. Price: R1700 ($170 at the current exchange rate, but if that doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s about 15% of my salary I earned as a teacher).
I sighed in resignation and told them to go ahead – tyres and suspension are two areas of a car where you never skimp on maintenance. If you value your life and those of your passengers, that is.
I hate mechanics. Okay, that’s not fair. I don’t hate all mechanics, just like I don’t hate all lawyers and all journalists (though I’m pretty sure I still hate all politicians). But I absolutely despise those mechanics who install sub-standard parts and who tell you they’d checked something when, in fact, they hadn’t. (Of course there are also the ones who charge you for unnecessary work, by I haven’t had the pleasure of a run-in with one of those yet.)
I take good care of our vehicles. I never skip a service and if something major breaks I replace it immediately, even if it means that month’s budget has to be adjusted. I replace tyres before they reach the point where I’d get a warning if pulled over and make sure the shocks are in good condition. I regularly check oil, water, brake fluid and tyre pressure and after our last episode I place the bakkie‘s battery on a charger once a week if I’m not driving it much. Continue reading “Car Troubles – Chapter 2”→
Sorry for being so quiet this week. After returning from vacation I just didn’t really feel like writing and just chilled at home with the wife for the last week of the school holidays. Tomorrow she’s on the job again, so I’ll also be back to my regular writing and studying schedule (once I figure out exactly what that is).
In the meantime, check out our new wheels.
Legally she’s the wife’s and technically she’s not new – we bought her second-hand from my sister with 90 000km on the clock but she’s still in excellent condition. On Wednesday we packed our survival kit and headed to the vehicle registration office and after a fairly painless two hours in line (except for the guy in front of us who never stopped talking, even when he started repeating himself) she is now registered to the wife (we still have to pay my sister, though). With power steering, ABS, aircon, airbags and mag wheels she’s a far cry better than the one she’s replacing. Continue reading “Our new wheels”→