The Adventure – Becoming a Mechanic for a Day
Being a chick, I tend to shy away from anything vehicle – after all, isn’t that what boys are for?
My daddy might have taught me how to change a tire and oil up my vehicle, but nowadays, cars are WAAAAY more high-tech than the old clunkers I used to drive way back when in the olden days.
Because of the increased sophistication, the last thing I want is for any Tom, Dick or Harry to get under my hood and tinker about, playing at being a grease monkey.
The owners of Knight Bridge Service, Norm and Mike Frey, showed me a thing or two about how a car functions the second you put in the key into your ignition. It’s sort of like that whole ‘the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone’ thing…but with some heavy metal action.
Being a mechanic for a day, I discovered that I wasn’t necessarily any good at it. In fact, I got whacked in the head so many times…I might have seen a few stars here and there. I even got my fingers all dirty. Oi!!
On the flip side, I did understand the concepts and the science behind combustion – not to mention chemical reactions and whatnot. (Something about being ‘book smart’ comes to mind right about now.) However, my terminology was somewhat lacking – they especially found it amusing when I kept accidentally calling the ‘hood’ a ‘lid’.
Now granted, I might not have the physical strength to do what needs to be done to fix a car, but no matter. What Norm and Mike taught me that day was how exactly a car works from the second you turn the key in the ignition. I loved learning the basics. If anything, it helped me to become more comfortable behind the wheel of my clunker car.
Interesting Factoids I learned:
- Most cars only have one tire pushing or pulling them…typically the back rear.
- There are four different types of car shops: tire, transmission, brakes, and automotive
- Taking your car to see a mechanic is like going to see your family doctor. If you go to a transmission shop, it’s like going to see a heart specialist.
- The main parts of a car include 12 things: the motor, transmission, brakes, tires, body, differential, exhaust, gas tank, gear shift selector, battery, frame, and driver.
- Vehicles used to use kerosene lamps as headlights until 1919-20 when they started using incandescent bulbs.
- If you have a front wheel car, the front wheels pull the car forward. Rear wheel drive means the rear wheel pushes.
- The grooves in the tire tread is used to channel away the water for better grip on the road.
- There is a ‘recipe book’ when it comes to basic car care and dealing with automotive mechanics and ‘how’ they charge. There is an actual book that contains information about the make and model of your vehicle, how long the work should take to repair a certain part on that vehicle. For instance, if it says that the time will take 0.7, then they charge $75 for labour. If 0.8, then $85/hr. If it takes longer to do, then there’s a serious problem – with either the mechanic or there is another is another issue with the car.
- If all of a sudden your car begins to accelerate out of your control, there are two things you need to do: 1) Turn off the engine. Yes, it will turn off. Your breaks and steering wheel will work, but you’ll lose control of the ‘power’ aspect…power steering and power breaks. It just means you need to apply extra force. 2) Put the vehicle in neutral…NOT park or you’ll need a new transmission.
- It takes 4 years to become a mechanic. One term per year. Each term is 4-6 weeks in length. However, you also need to be sponsored by an automotive mechanic shop. ~$2000 for schooling and 4000-5000 hours of automotive work before becoming a journeyman.
- The dangers of becoming a mechanic include: maimed fingers, lung cancer from exhaust fumes, frostbite from working outside, skin cancer from solvents on hands.
Now, there was A LOT of stuff I learned…A LOT. And I am so thankful to Norm and Mike Frey from Knight Bridge Service for giving me this wonderful opportunity!! AND…I think you are the best mechanics EVER!!! There is a reason why they’ve been in business for almost 40 years.
Well, I don’t see the sense in getting my fingers dirty any time soon, so I’ll see you both at my next oil change.
© Monthly Adventure, Patricia Taylor, February 2011