#StudiousSeptember: A Little Spark in my Weekend

30 Sep

Why is it that when I try to do something new, it never turns out the way that I planned? I don’t know if that’s how it usually is for everyone. But this was my exact experience when trying to change my spark plugs for the first time.

Once again, my check engine light comes on in my 2001 Chrysler Sebring Limited Convertible. I discuss it with my boyfriend Casey, who is much more handy than I’ll ever be. He states, “you always want to start with the simple things before you take it into the shop for a mechanic to look at”. Being a college student, I have no problem starting small and paying a small fee rather than a large bill from a mechanic. Also, I know that my car always has problems and I need to know how to fix it rather than always taking it to a shop. Anyways, he starts to rattle off a few things that we can do in order to try to get my check engine light to go off and we settle on trying to replace my spark plugs and the air filter. Having a 1987 Chevy Suburban, Casey says it’s easy and won’t take long. We decide to wait until the weekend to start this project and plan to have it done in a few hours. After getting all the essential parts, the weekend finally comes we get started changing the spark plugs and the air filter.

We start by lifting up the hood and looking into my engine. I lean up against the car and look in. I know nothing about cars. I look at Casey and he says, “always start with the hard ones first.” Not knowing what to do or where the difficult spark plugs were, I just let him take the reins and learned while watching the master. He automatically dives in and takes the small socket and ratchet and tries to get his hands to the back spark plugs to take the coil pack off. His hands, socket and ratchet cannot move in the tight space so I take a stab at it. Having little knowledge on what I am doing, I try to reposition the socket and the ratchet but same as Casey, I cannot get it to work. After trying for twenty minutes in the heat, we get frustrated and go back inside.

We realize the only sensible thing to do is go over to his parent’s house, which has a plethora of tools. We make our way to his parent’s house and we start working right when we get there. We take all of the tools out and try each one until we get ones that fit the tight spot. We get the first one off and Casey gets all of the back ones done in about thirty minutes. Then, it was my turn. Casey gives me full control of the tools and takes me through it, step by step, even answering my silly questions with ease. I finally change the spark plugs. I was so excited! We proceed to the air filter and I replace it while he gives me the instructions. I thank him fifty times and feel accomplished because now if I need to, I can change them myself.

After looking at the before and after pictures of my spark plugs and air filter, I know my car really needed it and I was thankful that Casey and I could fix it rather than taking it to a mechanic.

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-Courtney

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