Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Turning the Screws

The pungent scent of Deet-filled bug spray, rivulets of salty sweat blinding my vision, an 1/8th-inch wrench in hand, oppressive heat that makes your legs sweat - I could've been in by father's garage on Hickory St. 22 years ago, working on my skateboard, but it was Monday and I was swapping out a tail light kit on my wife's suddenly beater Hyundai. Who would've guessed a cracked lens along with Virginia's stringent safety inspection requirements would create such a headache? An auto parts franchise quoted $300 for a new tail light kit. The Hyundai dealership mechanic was nervous he wouldn't be able to reinstall the new light due to the crushed rear quarter panel. The body shop said they'd have to replace the back fender, quarter panel and tail light, estimating over $1500 worth of work. The Internet said $156.00 would replace the entire tail light kit.

UPS delivered the part and I replaced the defective light in about 10 minutes. Four screws held the light in place. Four. The hardest part was pulling by hand the plastic rivets that fastened the trunk lining to the frame. Four screws. $156 compared to $1500+.

Sure the car still looks like a candidate for demolition derby, but at least the light will pass the inspection. When you know you'll never resell a vehicle, cosmetics become a secondary concern.

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