austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

The ``sparker'' is awfully strong

I incidentally had a bit of car trouble. It wasn't anything serious, but on the first really cold morning of the season the left turn blinker started blinking way too fast. The right turn blinker was normal, though, so I made the quite reasonable supposition that maybe it was just one of the many little quirks of the car and if I leave it alone it'll fix itself. This may seem casual, but the problem where the power windows would fail to roll up fixed themselves too, for the most part. At least that doesn't happen anymore in this season of not rolling windows down. But rather deviously the excessively rapid blinker failed to fix itself.

bunny_hugger offered the suggestion that perhaps one of the lights had burned out, which would never have occurred to me because the front one was just fine and I might go years without seeing the rear turn light. But on inspection, yes, that was the problem, and I figured I could just leave the car at a bit of an angle when I was getting ready to make a left turn so there'd be some hint of light, at least until I could get to the car thingies store. I had a vague idea that tail lights would be, you know, the whole red plastic-encased shell, but it turns out they just wanted to sell the light bulbs that go inside. The sales clerk asked if I wanted anything else, and I suggested, well, if they could install it that'd be great, but either she figured I was joking or they don't. Well, they install windshield wipers, which is good considering the botch I made of it last time I tried.

My car's manual explains pretty well how to change the lights in front, but gives not a word about the back. I found on the web an explanation, though, and it seemed straightforward enough. Things started off well with the instruction to disconnect the battery: the battery terminals had awful enough gunk on it that I couldn't get any traction on it. So I went ahead anyway since, hey, what if I end up shorting out the car's whole electrical system? That'd be easier than finding the right tool for the battery cable.

Ultimately the process was one of unscrewing the tail light from the trunk side, pulling the frame out, and then popping out the old and putting in the new bulb, fast as Canadians replacing a prime minister. My lone complaint is that I couldn't test the blinker until I'd put the whole frame back in; it maybe shows something of how I work that I'd like to see proof the light works before putting the car back together. But it does work, now, and the timing is just great, and I suppose sometime soon I'll throw out the burned-out light bulb.

Trivia: Marco Polo returned from China when a marriage contract between Kublai Khan and the ruler of Persia called for a bride to be sent west, in a convoy of fourteen ships; the Polos were in the bride's protective party. Source: Ideas: A History From Fire To Freud, Peter Watson.

Currently Reading: Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Niño And The Fate Of Civilizations, Brian Fagan.


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