I’m not a mechanic. I’m not exactly a “vehicle” kind of person either. Sometimes I wish I was.
I always mutter under my breath a little at the cost of car maintenance. Oil changes, inspections, all that stuff…. I asked Dad if I could change the oil myself. He said quite firmly that I couldn’t.
But then there was the thing of the check engine light. Dad never worries about check engine lights. I do. They make me nervous and mine goes on and off randomly. I mentioned this during one of those vehicle type conversations that I try to stay out of. We were making donuts one Saturday and business was slow. I guess we had exhausted all meaningful conversation because we started to talk about cars. And in the course of the conversation, probably just because I wanted something to say, I mentioned my check engine light.
And he said “it’s probably the spark plugs. They need to be changed about every hundred thousand miles.” My car had just hit a hundred thousand miles. That seemed logical to me.
I asked Bert about it. He said yeah I might as well try it. I asked him where to take it to and he was like “They’re easy to change. Just buy some and Paul can put them in for you.”
You would think out of 6 brothers one of them would have turned out mechanical minded. Not so. Paul is more than the rest but I really wasn’t very sure about this at all.
So last night I was on the way to town so I asked Bert again. “can i just walk onto the auto parts store and ask for spark plugs or what?”
“yeah” he said “I think so”
He thinks so?
I looked at my registration to make sure I ask for the right thing. Pontiac G6 2010. I can do this.
I walked into auto zone and said confidently “I need to get some spark plugs for my car”
“what kind of car do you have?”
“2010 Pontiac G6”
“Is it a 4 cylinder or 6 cylinder”
My confidence vanished. I haven’t the slightest idea what that even means much less which one my car is.
“I don’t know” I said.
He was a big burly guy and he just kinda grinned as though he had expected I wouldn’t know and he’s like “that’s fine I’ll just check your vin number”
So we went out into the rain and he read the number on my car and informed me that my car is a 4 cylinder. I tucked the information into my brain. Next time I’ll keep my confidence.
We went back inside and he looked up the spark plugs and explained to me how spark plugs have different levels or something like that and how you have to use a level that’s as high or higher than the original ones.
I didn’t say anything.
He scrolled through the list. These, he said, were the cheapest ones. yes, I said those would be fine.
“Do you want plug wires too?”
what?! wires come separately? I made faces at bert in my head for not warning me about this. How was I supposed to know if I wanted wires?
“yes” I said.
I gulped. I hoped I for sure had enough money on my card.
“yes” I said again.
He gathered the stuff while I waited impatiently. It took him a long time.
He came back and started to total my bill. He looked up and started to say something and then stopped. He looked back at his computer and then back at me. He started to say something again and then stopped.
“Are you doing this yourself?” he asked.
I grinned. I don’t think he had any confidence in me. “no”, I said “my brother is”.
He looked relieved. “you might not need these,” he said, Indicating the box of wires.
“Can I bring them back if I don’t?”
to be continued