Sunday, October 09, 2005

So I'm trying to do something most ladies don't ever attempt...

I'm trying to diagnose and fix my own car.

I've claimed flibbertigibbet in the past when faced with automotive distress, waiting for the guy to come save me when I'm tied up to the railroad tracks...

More often than not, though, I'm then treated like a dumb blonde who needs help getting the key off of her keychain so she won't break a nail. (Someone actually told me that!)

I'm tired of it. The claiming ignorant when it comes to all-matters-car is over. If I wasn't already in school I'd be signing up for a program at Nashville's own NADC. I've been scouring the internet incessantly since monday, trying to educate myself on the problem my car has. Not only do I now know what that problem means literally, I've learned what sorts of things can cause the dreaded 'service engine soon' light to come on as it does in my case. I've started posting my problem on several 'Ask a Mechanic' websites, and as of late, I've registered on a couple of different message boards for Nissan Sentras. I've even found a lot of information tonight about things I shouldn't do (which happens to be exactly what the shop I took it to wanted me to pay for) and some things I could possibly do to fix it. I even found a board where two different people had my exact car *and* problem, asking for any solutions they could find. I told them my story and what I've found so far so they won't buy unnecessary parts, namely pricey sensors. We'll see if anyone else responds to my posts so I can figure out what to TELL someone to do instead of ASKING them what should be done. I'm trying to educate myself to the point where I can determine that this was most likely the result of some recall on my car (there have been 4 - count 'em, 4!) so they'll pay for it to be fixed... but I think that last hope's in my dream world, where things are actually fair, so I'm not really expecting, just hoping. Here's what I've been submitting:

"My 2000 Sentra is showing a PO171 "System too lean - bank 1" code and the shop I took it to is telling me to replace the Mass Air Flow sensor but I don't think that's the problem. I've had to replace an oxygen sensor before (2 years ago) and had recalls completed on my car for a faulty crank position sensor (about two years ago as well.) My SES light started to come on for a few days and go off for a few days, with a tiny bit of sputtering while accelerating up a hill (around 2000 RPM) before I took it to the mechanic, but now it's having more trouble than before. When I start the car for the first time in the morning, the car starts fine then won't accelerate and sounds like it's going to stall then doesn't. It goes a few feet, then has the problem accelerating again (press the pedal, nothing happens). If I stop and wait a minute for the engine to warm up, it accelerates just fine and doesn't give me the problem for the rest of the day. How do I know if it's an oxygen sensor, the fuel filter, fuel pump, or MAF sensor? Should I change my spark plugs/ have a tune up early? (They're platinum tipped and according to the owner's manual last 105,000 miles.) Do I need to start replacing less expensive parts and work my way up, or is there a test I can do to find out exactly the problem? Thanks!"

This also reminds me that I'm a misplaced engineer. I love tinkering with things to find out why they work, how to fix them, and how to make them better. I'm a ninja with my hands in that respect. I somehow became a jock, thought math was bad, and stopped paying attention to careers-that-suit-me like engineering. I'd make a killing, since I communicate best with engineers of various types. Probably doesn't hurt that they see me as their dream girl, though, when I'm trying to get their attention... ;)

Ed, honey, after I get my Master's in biology, can I start taking prereqs to get a Master of Engineering??? ;)

I also wanted to share something funny that happened with Ed and I last night - he was watching Ultimate Fighter and I told him I couldn't be in the room while that was on. That show bothers me on many levels - to the point to where just hearing it rattles my nerves and riles me up to the point of frustration because of the people involved. I was around people like that all the time as a jock and they fundamentally perturb the bejeezus out of me. Ed was understanding about it, though, and understood why I'd feel that way... He said it would be like how he'd have to excuse himself from the vicinity if I was watching a 'Bad Math-a-thon' or 'Programming for dummies' on TV. I found that humorous...

Someone told me the other day that Ed and I sound (and look) like we go together like peas & carrots. I think that's the best way to describe the nature of our relationship I've heard yet. :)


Blogger Steve King said...

Try using using You'll be glad that you did.


09 October, 2005 20:14  

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