Grease Monkey

A few months ago I got the oil changed, and the mechanic noticed that we had a crack in our radiator. It was on the top (as opposed to the bottom or sides), so it meant replacing wasn't urgent, but it was inevitable.  He quoted me what I felt like was a reasonable price to fix it, and I went on my way. I knew it was something we'd have to get done before the summer, because Jesse will be using the car to commute to Detroit for an internship 4 days a week for 10-11 weeks (if you haven't heard about his internship yet, ask him about it! It's going to be awesome!).  

With Jesse being a student and me staying home with the kids, car repairs are something that are really hard to fit into the budget. A few weeks ago, I was mulling over how and when we'd get the radiator replaced, when I had the thought: what if I could replace it myself? We have a lot more time than money, so replacing it myself would greatly reduce the strain on our budget. I immediately texted my dad, wondering if this was something that might be within my abilities. He's always been a big fan of fixing things yourself when possible, so I knew he'd give me an optimistic but practical answer. To my excitement, he told me he thought I could do it!

Anyways, to make a long story short(er), I found the new radiator online, bought a socket wrench set (oh boy, was that exciting!!!), and watched a youtube video of someone replacing a radiator on our make and model of car (after which I carefully typed out everything they had done). 

Finally, yesterday the stars aligned (by which I mean Jesse was finished with finals and could stay home with the kids, and the weather was nice enough to do it outside) and I got to work!

The new radiator:

The hole where the old radiator was:

The old radiator:

The whole process only took about 2 hours from start to finish, and part of that time was spent dealing with a few hangups, namely 1) Getting a bolt stuck in the socket head and having to pry it out and 2) Realizing that the new radiator had 2 extra hose spots, and troubleshooting whether or not I could still use it (side note: it turns out it's a one size fits all sort of radiator, and those extra hoses are for automatic transmissions--but this took probably a good 30 minutes of calling my dad and the store I bought it from to confirm!). 

All in all, it actually wasn't that difficult! It turns out replacing a radiator on our car is fairly simple--mostly it was a matter of jacking the car up, unbolting the whole thing, removing a few hoses, and then reversing the process to put the new radiator in :)  I've been greatly encouraged by my success and I'm hoping to learn how to fix more things on our little car in the future!


ivrcti said…
That's my girl! Your grandpa would be proud!
julis said…
You are such a cool kid! Good for you and your "I can probably do that -- how do I do that?" attitude!
Maren said…
You are seriously amazing!
Maren said…
You are seriously amazing!
You are so impressive =) Hats off to you!

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