Auto Mechanics & Me

When I was a baby my family made the move from Nova Scotia to Ontario. At the time, that was about.. a 20 hour drive? Yikes. So since I was a wee little baby I’ve spent quite a lot of time in a car. My parents and I driving back and forth every summer and Christmas – Petawawa to Halifax, Halifax to Petawawa. Driving to Florida. Driving to New York City. Driving to Maine. Driving to Newfoundland. Driving across 6 European countries in 2 weeks. We probably would have driven TO Europe if it was possible. So yeah, I know a bit about being in a car. When I turned 16 my dad said that I either go my license or else. So I did, and then (for some strange reason) I wanted to spend even MORE time in a car.

But being IN a car is completely different from FIXING one.

My wonderful, awesome, smart, talented, super Dad is a mechanic. Well, technically he’s a sergeant now, who works in an office, but his first love was laying under dirty greasy cars fixing all their broken parts. Now I guess he just lays under my dirty greasy car and fixes all its broken parts. Sucks because I don’t pay him either. Being a Dad who is a mechanic is like a doubly-thankless job. Sorry Dad.

I have a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. If you read this blog you can see a picture of it. It’s silver, and strong. Rust in a few spots and clunks occasionally but otherwise holds up pretty well. But only because my Dad fixes it. When he bought it for me he took out the transmission and put in a new one, changed the breaks and oil, and when driving up Regent Street or my University of New Brunswick campus became a problem, he changed my catalytic converter. That made uphill intersections much less scary, I must admit.

Now you might think that being a mechanic’s daughter I might know a thing or two about cars, right? Well last winter when this –


very nice little light lit up my dashboard do you know what I did? I took a picture of it with my phone and texted my Dad. I had no idea what to do. So he texted me and told me I just needed to top up my coolant. Kind of like topping up my windshield washer or my oil? NO. First he said he had some antifreeze in the shed that I could use. Sweet, money-saver right there for me! So I grabbed the jug, opened it up, and guess what? It was frozen. “Can I take it inside and thaw it out, then use it?” I stupidly asked my Dad on the phone… I read in the owner’s manual about what to do. Don’t fill it when the engine is too hot – the cap will come flying off when you try to unscrew it and burn your hands and face (that is what the diagram showed, but it really took me 10 tries, 2 sore hands, and 3 wrenches before I could get that cap off!), but if you fill it when the engine is Canada’s winter cold then it won’t be quite right either. And have you SEEN the coolant aisle in Canadian Tire? HOW DO YOU CHOOSE? Boy oh boy.

So really, what it comes down to is I can fill up my windshield washer fluid, as long as you ignore what I spill all over the engine block. I can check my oil as long as I have half a roll of paper towel – I don’t want any on my hands! And now I know how to fill up my coolant. But break pads and shoes? Nah. Oil change? Nuh uh. Jacking ‘er up and throwing on a new tire? Not going to happen. For some reason, I always thought auto mechanics and I would get along better. I seem to be so much like my Dad we’re practically the same person and yet somehow I lost this fix-it gene.

Anyway there is a new light lit up on my dashboard now, and I know what this one means.

It means I need a mechanic.

Disclaimer: No Dad, this is not a hint. This is just a little post to praise your work and me wishing I could fix my own car. I love you!

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