Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Repair Sense

Last Saturday evening, there was a heavy downpour in our area and the temperature outside was freezing. I turned on our heater and started preparing dinner when my cell phone rang. When I picked it up, my wife was on the other end of the line and she sounded a little shaken. She told me that she was driving on a busy street in the city of Rowland Heights when she came to an intersection whose traffic light just turned red. She stepped on her brakes but nothing happened! She lost her brakes! She frantically kept on pressing the brakes but her van just kept on going! She went through the red light but fortunately, (by the power of God) she did not collide with the other vehicles. What gave me the fright was my young daughter was with my wife during that time. I was thankful to our Lord for being there at that intersection on that rainy evening.

I immediately drove to where my wife and daughter were at. Along the way, I passed a vehicular accident that looked really bad because the highway patrol blocked one side of the freeway. When I got to where my wife was at, I told her to use my car and bring our kids home. I got on her van and when I stepped on the brake pedal, the pedal went all the way down to the floor. One thing I learned about brakes is whenever a car loses the function of its foot brake, the other option to stop the vehicle is to use its hand brake. I slowly drove our van home that rainy evening using its hand brake to stop the vehicle.

When I got home, my wife urgently told me that we need to buy a new car because her van is (in her own words) “falling apart”. I told her, “Dear, don't you think that is kind of ludicrous? How could it be falling apart when the only problem is its brakes?! We cannot afford to replace your car every time something malfunctions in it. Besides, it would be insane to buy a new car during this crumbling economy!" I assured her that I will try to find out what went wrong with her van.

The following day, my son and I checked the brake system of our van and discovered that one of the brake lines (an aluminum tube where the brake fluid travels through to get to the brake) has sprung a leak. My son took off the brake line and replaced it with a generic brand that only costs $7. Toyota parts cost a lot more than generic brands. Since our family’s budget is kind of tight right now, we opted to use a generic brand. After installing the new tube, the brake system started working again.

When you have an old car, here are a couple of things that you might find helpful:
  1. Don’t give up on your vehicle even though it breaks down on you often.

  2. If you think that car dealership is the best place to bring your car for repairs, you might want to think twice on that. They will fix your car and your checkbook. They like replacing parts instead of repairing them. They charge outrageous per hour labor rates to repair your car and their parts are priced many times more than generic ones.

  3. Save yourself unnecessary expenditure by using this simple mechanical common sense: If it ain’t broke, why fix it?! Don’t let mechanics talk you into doing those so called maintenance repairs on your vehicle if your car is running fine.

  4. Do not be intimidated by the seemingly complex design of your car. Most of the time the parts that are hard to fix are often the ones that does not break down easily.

  5. Buy auto repair manuals and attempt to do the repairs yourself. These manuals have easy to understand trouble shooting sections. Next time your car malfunctions, try going through the troubleshooting steps in the manual. You will be surprised to discover that you are capable of fixing your car problem yourself.

  6. If you are about to give up, step away from your car and give yourself time to relax. When your feeling of frustration has left you, go back to your car and continue where you left off. Remember, it takes patience to repair a machine.

  7. Lastly, getting your hands all dirty with grease and oil is a natural part of working with engines. Your fancy nail polish will get ruined! Use latex gloves! (seriously)

    Eighteen years ago, I was an apprentice at my friend’s auto repair shop located then at the city of West Covina, California. The name of his shop is: “Bicol Auto Repair”. He told me something that inspired me to never give up when repairing my vehicle. He said, “If it is man-made, it can be fixed!”

    Though vehicles are machines, they need care and maintenance—like people. You define its value by the quality of care you give it.

    If you have a vehicle that was made back in the 1960’s or earlier, try your best to restore it back to its old glory. Do not say, “Ipatansan mo na yan!!”. If you restore it, you will not only bring back memories from the past. You will also have the sense of satisfaction that you brought a tangible item back to life from a bygone era.

    Sorting through tools and time….

    Joseph Ivan.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:32 AM  

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