Monday, January 18, 2010

Fixing Car

The Dust Bowl week continues here at OPOD with this picture. It was taken in 1935 in a migrant worker camp in California. The men look to be rebuilding the engine in their car.

Have you noticed that it has gotten to where people pretty much can not work on cars these days? Due to the complexity, electronics, and specialized equipment required, pretty much all repairs require a trip to the shop. I was never very mechanically inclined, but when I was in High School most of my friends could rebuild an engine, transmission, or carburetor. They learned this by working on cars with their Dad. It is too bad that this tradition has been lost today.


  1. I was one of those people that could fix almost anything, but now I wouldn't even dream about trying to fix anything on my car.
    Other than oil changes, air filter changes, and topping off the fluids I have gotten to the point where I take it into the dealership.
    And it is getting to the point where I have the oil changed at the dealership now.
    One thing I have noticed when I go into the dealership, they are always saying my air filter needs changing. Even though I just changed it a few thousand miles ago.
    I had one dealership that told me that I was past due on changing the transmission fluid and filter. So I told him go ahead, but when I got home I check it out and I still had about 15,000 miles to go before I needed to change.
    He may have gotten me for a few hundred dollars, but I no longer buy my cars from him. So he really lost out in the end.

  2. So, I guess that is where the statement "Shade tree mechanic" comes from.

  3. My husband and his 4 brothers learned to work on cars from their father and now our 3 sons(adults) all work on their own cars. My husband has saved us so much money because he knows how to fix them and keep them in good running order. He is a retired postal worker who now works at an Advance Auto store. The business is thriving! So there are many people still saving money by fixing the one they have instead of buying a new auto. I am so proud of all my men!

  4. My dad never called a repairman for anything. He had a 1930s-era red tractor that he spent as much time working on as using. When they put an addition on the house, he did everything but the concrete and the roof. Installed the windows, tiled the floors, ran electricity, HVAC and plumbing. No wonder when I moved out on my own, I was frustrated at how few things I knew how to fix on my own!

  5. I remember back in the 40's, when we visited relatives, the men folks spent the time tinkering with each others cars and the ladies sat in the shade and gossiped. Some fun, HA.

  6. Yes, most folks presently just take their vehicles to a mechanic or dealership although most "scans' of automobile engine's vital parts can be taken with equipment purchased from local auto supplier... things have changed, but still available for "do it yourselfers!"

  7. I come from a line of DIYs. Grampa farmed his whole life and fixed tractors, threshers, wagons so on. Dad left the farm when WWII called and worked on trucks. I dove into mechanical stuff when I rebuilt an auto transmission via Chilton manual in my late teens.

    Grampa's was still fixing stuff in his mid 80's - when on one occasion he was changing the exhaust on his sedan. He was having a difficult time, so he called Dad and I to help.

    Well, dear old Grampa's eyes weren't what they once were, it seems. He was halfway through sawing the driveshaft in two when he got tired and called for our help. :-)

  8. I don't think my brother has ever taken a vehicle or piece of machinery to a shop. He fixes everything himself. In fact,I don't think he's ever paid more than $500 for a truck. He gets one free or buys a "parts" truck and then gets it running. He also sticks to 1970's trucks which are easy to fix and exempt from smogging. He fixes tractors and equipment for other people. All his tractors and heavy equipment were aquired like the trucks; someone couldn't get it running and gave it away or sold it for parts.

  9. I fix things that are wooden, or stone, or maybe precious metal. I also work on things that are growing. I used to work on cars, but after the 70's, I gave it up because it was cheaper to have a professional mechanic fix things than it was to have the same fella fix what I had broken. Basically, I don't do electricity, and the newer cars are all about wiring.

    Speaking of which, I need to go level the toilet in the guest bedroom and try to figure out how to keep the "lock" for the passive part of the back screen from snapping off when the active part of the double doors slams shut.

    I think my favorite picture in my "archives" are the family picnics in the mountains above Bozeman. Today's picture would fit in seamlessly. Thanks.

  10. An old boyfriend had a brother who was rebuilding some old car in the garage. He had all the pieces laid out on drop cloths. Well he was also kind of a jerk and it turns out the four other brothers would take a small part and throw it over the fence if he was a jerk to them lol. After a while it was impossible to finish that engine!

  11. I can fix my own. Ancient Volvos are very forgiving.

  12. Most things today can still be repaired by the owner. It just takes more time to figure out how. Alot more research rather than trial and error. Time v. money, which is more valuable.


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