Saturday, January 31, 2015

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Written By Bobbie

Many moons ago, hubby and I bought a nice little *cough* used 2003 Dodge Durango Hemi.  Combined, the two of us had done hours of research, so we knew going in that routine maintenance was not going to be on the cheap side.  The first tune-up came up several years ago and hubby did some price shopping and we choked down a bill that was a little over $300.  Flash forward another 30K miles and 4 years later, it's time for another tune-up.  Hubby once again did some price shopping, and this time he choked.  The lowest estimate he could come up with was a little over $400!  He even called up the national chain that did the tune-up the first time around, and they could not figure out how or why he got it done so cheap the first time around.  Not being ready to choke down a $400 car maintenance bill so soon after the holidays, once again he started doing some research.

Mailman hubby has a go-to forum for every vehicle we have.  They have been a great way for him to ask questions and get real answers.  You Tube how-to videos are also incredibly helpful when it comes to seeing tips and tricks, and how exactly things should be done.  In doing his research, he found all sorts of information on how to change the spark plugs in the Durango, which we call The Beast.  He did some more hunting around and found some spark plugs for The a whopping $35, for all 16 of them, and then set aside a day off to go about doing the work.  He has never changed spark plugs on a vehicle with a computer in it, so this was a whole new adventure for him.

My older daughter was home and was eager to go out and help him.  I have to say, that hubby is pretty darn handy when it comes to car repairs and just household repairs in general.  He has rebuilt the engine in his 1960 VW Bug, and was the auto shop supervisor for a department store, so he does have some knowledge, and has a pretty good variety of tools on hand.  My daughter has zero mechanical skills, so this endeavor was nothing but a long sting of teachable moments for her.  It took them about 3.5 hours to get the job done.  I laughed at one point when I walked out and saw my daughter crouched up on top of the engine, and hubby crammed up in the wheel well (tire removed) getting to one of the more stubborn spark plugs.  My daughter proudly came over and showed me her first ever busted knuckle from a car repair, and threatened to touch me with her greasy hands.

After all the work was done, The Beast runs great, my daughter got a busted knuckle, and all sorts of mechanical experience and questions answered, and hubby ended up saving around $400.  Have you ever tackled a seemingly impossible project on your own in an effort to save money?