>> February 20, 2017 – truck
Let's talk about tow vehicles. Last week was...expensive.
|I know they're designed to do this, but can we talk for a second about my 1/2 ton truck being totally suspended in midair in this picture? Tow trucks are badasses.|
My engineering brain likes to learn how things work by taking them apart, and I pretty much got my career through a strong desire to solve problems for myself instead of waiting for others. #independentwoman. Usually this ends up well, like the time I saved $420 by changing my own spark plugs and wires on the truck. Sometimes it ends up with my beloved tow vehicle on a flatbed going to my favorite auto repair shop because half of an oil pressure sensor is sheared off and stuck in my engine block.
Expensive life lesson, that. (Although I waited 6 weeks to get it fixed until I had a coupon for 15% off labor over $200, so it's slightly less expensive than it would have been!)
Especially now that I have two vehicles, and two 2005's at that, anything I can do myself is good, but there are some things that aren't worth my time (example: Spark plugs on the 4 cylinder Vibe where the plugs are on the top of the engine: $89 parts and labor total. Literally not even worth my time to DIY it).
|Replacing the stereo is worth it to DIY for sure.|
Then there are some things that really are worth it to learn how to do, like doing the truck's spark plugs (there are 8 of them and they're hard to get to unless you have small hands like me, so my shop wanted $420 in labor. Took my bumbling self two hours and $47.) or replacing the cabin air filter. $49 to replace the air filter at the Chevy dealer, I think my place charges $30, but it's a $6 part on Amazon and took me literally less than five minutes to change the first time I did it. Pull off the glove box and it's like changing a furnace filter.
|And let us just say, living on a farm was not kind to the Vibe's old cabin air filter.|
One thing I don't do myself is oil changes, at least in the truck, because my favorite place not only changes the oil, it also gives me a four page printout of dozens of things they inspected, along with photos of consumable parts and of the screen readouts on the equipment they used to test it. They don't expect you to take their word on it, although I would: they're going to prove it to you.
(My town is the world HQ for Cummins, and the owner of this shop is a former Cummins mechanical engineer, so you can tell why I like the methodical evidence-based way they operate).
The printout also has quotes on how much replacing those things will cost. They try to give me at least a two-oil-change/6 month heads up on upcoming needed maintenance so I can stagger and plan my maintenance costs. They also take into account that I'm going to be spendier with the truck (which I want to last forever + it hauls my horse) than the Vibe (which, at 206,000 miles, is not going to get quite as much money put into it, although it gets all its routine maintenance regardless).
It's worth it to me to have some expert eyes looking that closely over the vehicle that will pull my horse along at highway speeds.
|FYI for new truck owners: replacing brakes is EXPENSIVE on large vehicles.|