Sunday, November 30, 2014

Saving $25

I'm not really a car guy. I remember noting with some embarrassment how long it took me to open up my car's hood to look at the engine. But when I got an oil change and the guy said he could replace the burned out license plate bulb for only $25, I had to decline.

I mean, it's a bulb. That burned out. This isn't exactly an epic battle, but I'd hold my manhood cheaply if I could not do that.

After all, I've replaced a headlight bulb and a turn signal bulb. What's the big deal?

Sure, the mechanic warned me that the pieces that hold the bulb in place are fragile, but I figured with that warning it was a piece of cake.

And I actually had a replacement bulb at home (that was probably manufactured 20 years or more ago). I salute you, standardization.

So I went home after the oil change on the last day before temperatures dropped dramatically around here, and set to work.

The plastic piece that held the bulb housing in place immediately snapped in two places as I loosened the first screw. So now I had a bulb housing fragment that could not be screwed back into place.

Well. That sucks.

On the bright side, the bulb I had fit and worked.

Now I had to get the bulb housing fragment to stay in place.

Gluing the plastic failed.

Duct taping the piece together failed.

Duct taping the bulb piece to the trunk body failed.

Then I had a flash of inspiration. I went back inside and retrieved two plastic-wrapped lengths of wire.

You know those annoying wires that hold toys to the packaging? Yeah. Those. Never throw them out.

I used a longer one to fix a toilet tower when the metal rod that flushes rusted and snapped. It was so thin that it was obviously engineered to fail soon after contact with water.

But I was able to wrap this plastic-covered rod into place and the toilet flushes just fine, thank you.

Anyway, I wrapped a wire around the bulb housing fragment and then through the left screw hole. Voila!

Sadly, I could not loosen the right screw out. But I was able to wrap another wire around the bulb housing fragment, insert the other end between that stuck screw piece and the trunk body, and turn the screw to pull the wire around that piece enough to anchor the right side and have enough pulled through to wrap it around the beginning of the wire!

And the whole thing is solidly in place!

So I saved $25 and get to pretend that I have some basic car smarts. Not too shabby, I say.