20 August 2009

The Right Tool for the Job

"Fred with Tyres" by Herb Ritts

We're off this afternoon to spend a couple of nights at my grandmother's. My dad's two sisters are up visiting for a week and we don't get to see them very often, so it should be fun. Making the trip, though, required a bit of vehicular maintenance. My car's been chugging a bit lately, especially since I've been running the air conditioner to keep Tuck from frying in the heat.

I suspected and confirmed that I was a bit past due to change my spark plugs, so I picked up some fresh ones yesterday and set out to replace the old ones today. The owner's manual makes it look all so easy, doesn't it? "Why just pop those old plugs out by twiddling them around with your thumb, put the new ones in and VIOLA!" Except it's never quite that easy.

In truth, this wasn't too bad, but what the manual doesn't tell you is that the spark plugs are set way down in a hole in the engine block. I mean way down in. The extender in my socket wrench set was not up to the task. Fortunately, I have another socket wrench extender that's long enough to reach and was able to unscrew the old plugs without trouble. The problem then was that the spark plugs didn't come up out of the hole along with the socket wrench. This required another trip back up the hill into the house to find a pair of forceps, with which I was able to pluck the old spark plugs out.

So now my car has brand new spark plugs and, although it'll never sound like a new car again, it's still running much more smoothly than it was and I'm not so worried that it'll crap out on us on the 4.5 hour drive up the coast.

The moral of the story, of course, is that you should always make sure your tool is long enough to get deep down into the hole.


Judith in Ottawa said...


An excellent summation of the problem, indeed.

That Ritts picture is posted at or gym, right where I can see it from the rowing machine. He gives me inspiration of the finest kind.

JelliDonut said...

How come the guys who work on my car NEVER look like this?

Glad the little guy is doing well.

Java said...


Have a great trip.

dharmamama said...


Thanks for the laugh - and yay! on you for fixing your car.

Visiting from Bossy's - hi!

Tallguy said...


I knew you could do it.