Tangible work for a change – whew!
I’m not a mechanic, I’m an IT guy – and a wannabe Personal Finance writer. That said, I do enjoy working with my hands and beholding a tangible job well done, especially since IT work and writing are thought jobs w/fewer material results.
Let’s consider the following example:
- At work today I helped fix customer IT problems remotely for 8 hours. I accomplished my work, reduced my ticket load, and gained satisfaction from helping my customers. However, I was never able to behold or physically feel the benefit of my labor.
- After work I set out to repair a faulty windshield washer pump and headlight dimming issue on my wife’s 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix. I completed the repairs successfully and was able to see and feel both the work… and the results. An awesome change of pace.
It’s not that I dislike my day job… rather I love the several benefits of labor diversity.
We save money
A good mechanic is hard to come by; if you find one, hold onto that relationship as long as possible. My mechanic’s name is Sam Postema. Sam and I began as simple networking contacts but quickly became friends. Sam runs the bestand I trust him with all automotive work I choose not to perform myself.
Here is a rough estimate of the cost for Sam to perform the repairs and earn a respectable profit:
- Replace windshield washer pump = $110 (part – $40, labor – $63, fluid disposal & refill – $7)
- Headlight dimming issue = $40 (labor & parts)
- Total = $150
This is a pretty good price but doing it yourself always saves money. You should follow this route whenever feasible. I shopped for the part at my local CarQuest Parts Store.
- Total = $22
A total savings of $128. Not too shabby.
I learn more about auto repair
I have replaced many parts on many automobiles but had never replaced a windshield washer pump. It was fun. In case you are wondering… here are the instructions.
How to replace a windshield washer pump on a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix:
- Pump resides under the washer fluid reservoir on the side closest the fender.
- Jack front of car up and place on jack stands (optional, but makes job easier.)
- Turn steering wheel all the way to the right.
- Remove front wheel well liner on the passenger side… it’s under the battery.
- Get a bucket and place it under your work.
- Unplug the electrical connection to the pump.
- Unplug bottom of pump from reservoir and drain into bucket (draining via pump hose takes too long.)
- Unplug hose from pump, remove, then clean and dry the area housing the old pump.
- Install bottom of new pump into reservoir, connect pump to pump hose, and connect electrical line.
- Refill reservoir, test, and enjoy!
I also tested, cleaned, and lubricated the electrical connectors (and the ground) for the headlights. That did the trick. They are shining bright and functioning optimally once again.
My wife digs it
She pulled in the drive way, saw me wrenching, and thought she had a grease monkey under her car – turns out it was her husband. She was surprised and thought it was cool – which is always a bonus. 😉
All in all it was a great learning and money saving experience.