How NOT to Replace Your Car’s Starter – Part 1

Owning a car sucks. I don’t even have to explain why because if you own a car, you know I’ve just spoken car owning gospel. Amen.

My wife would tell you (if you were her friend and I let you speak with her, which I won’t) that I am somewhat obsessed with cars, stemming from a similar obsession with the show Top Gear.

**CLARIFICATION: NOT THE USA VERSION. Naming the American version of that show by the same name of “Top Gear” is one of life’s most evil bait-and-switches. One could devote an entire blog to the injustice. In fact, I will…. stay tuned***

Top Gear UK is better than Top Gear USA

I digress.

Despite the thrill and love that can be established with this mode of transportation, I have come to “enjoy” it on a new level.

I recently purchased a vehicle, having completed all due diligence and even getting a competing dealership to tell me that they would buy the car. Yay for me.

I made promises to this car. I would learn how to take care of it, committing to do all of the necessary repairs myself in order to keep her running forever and always.

To relay the enormity of this commitment, the most work I’ve attempted on a car is lifting up the hood to stare at the engine. I’ve even gone so far as to touch shiny metal pieces, which lead to this grand discovery: shiny metal will burn you.

Regardless of lacking experience, vows were made and the car was purchased.

Fast forward 5,000 miles and my car will not start.

While I bombed at keeping my tired daughter happy in her car seat, my dad tried to diagnose the problem with actual knowledge. We decided to abandon it after a few fruitless fixes.

The following morning, it started right up. Not trusting it’s attempt at repentance, I drove it straight to the dealership. I’ve had a pretty good relationship with these guys. They’ve been honest and expensive, but this time I only needed to know the problem. I’d take it from there.

My dad guessed that it was some sort of intermittent wiring problem. I agreed. Pretend knowledge guy and real knowledge guy both agreed.

“Hey Peter, so we figured out why your car won’t start. Kama aliamua kutafsiri hii, lazima maoni na kusema mimi hutegemea juu ya kila neno la gibberish yako replace your starter.”

“Okay….replace my starter. How much does that cost?”

$512 to replace the starter

“Oh… Well, how much is the part?”

“Just for the part, you’re looking at $310”

In the waiting room, I had already researched the possible reasons for my car’s issue and every answered pointed to replacing the starter. They also mentioned that it was a simple job.

So with Googled confidence, I proudly declined the work, even declaring my intentions to replace it myself.

Car's problem is the starter, but I declined

I strode to my car, slammed the door defiantly, then proceeded to fail multiple times at starting it.

Since I was now blocking the entrance to the service bay, a mechanic was kind enough to open my hood and tap on my starter with his Wrench of Starting, +3 To Helping Idiots.

If foreshadowing had a leg, it just kicked me in the junk.

Me saying that "I can do it!"

To be continued…

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14 Responses to How NOT to Replace Your Car’s Starter – Part 1

  1. Sones says:

    Have you gotten to the point where the car just shuts off while you are driving? That was my favorite… I gave up on my car I look forward to reading what you will do with yours.

  2. J-Bo says:

    I hate cars. Ever had yours start sliding backwards down a hill?

    • petermonaco says:

      I hope whatever car you were in that did that happened to be on snow or ice. Any car that does that on it’s own accord should be renamed a sled.

      And from the looks of it, you’ve experienced some more recent car trouble as well. Good luck to us.

      • J-Bo says:

        No snow or ice, just a mildly steep hill in the middle of nowhere. (Unfortunately this is the car I’m sill driving, NOT the one that was recently totaled. I should be so lucky).

  3. Looking forward to hearing of your outcome. Good, I hope! I’m a cheerleader for all car owners who cannot afford to purchase a car the same year they live in.
    I owned a GREAT RUNNING ’96 Buick Century… until someone decided to steal it from my driveway one morning. Now, I’m stuck with a ’97 Ford Taurus that is costing me triple – now, quadruple as of yesterday – of what I bought it for. I’m thinking of calling it quits, selling the thing for $800, and catching the bus for a while. 😦
    Good luck to you!

    • petermonaco says:

      It seems like you have experienced much of the car-sucking gospel that I mentioned.

      And your situation is just a nail in the coffin. Why do some cars suck!? Ford can’t look me in the eye and tell me that in the 100 or so years they made cars, they can’t figure out how to make reliable cars the standard rather than the exception.

  4. Julia Swancy says:

    hurting myself laughing, thank goodness I had no coffee in my mouth when I read that last line!!

  5. Karla J. says:

    You have quite a humorous way of writing; it’s very entertaining! 🙂

  6. becca3416 says:

    That last sentence… very nice. I also laughed at “replace starter ASSY” on that photo. Please do not judge me.

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