Saturday, August 04, 2007

Eat your Heart Out, Nissan of Reno.

I have always left auto maintenance to the professionals. It is not that I am incapable of learning these skills; it is just that I have put my brain to other uses. Just before my March trailer trip my truck encountered a post, taking out the driver's side mirror and putting dents and scrapes along the door. With no time to wait for repairs before the trip, I over-nighted a trailer mirror that clamped to the fender. So what if it required strapping tape to keep it pointing in the right direction? Until the trailer is painted it just adds a little more to our scruffy low-rent appearance.

Several months later I set out to have this fixed. Only the dealership has the right part (why doesn't everyone carry parts for a 1994 Nissan pickup?). I received a quote of $230-some for just the mirror; over $400 when you include the labor. Highway robbery! Meanwhile I am planning to trade the truck in for a stronger tow vehicle in the next few months and I have been assured by all local dealers that it is not worth more than $500 in trade, probably less with a missing mirror. Sigh.

Time to bravely enter the world of auto maintenance. I went online and ordered an offbrand replacement for $15 (plus $15 shipping). At that price I wouldn't be out much if it didn't work. Then I went out on the internet looking for instructions on how to remove the inside door panel. The range of advice was magnificent. I even found a You-Tube video of someone removing the door panel of a 1994 Nissan Sentra set to music. Anticipating trouble, I set aside Saturday for this task. Imagine my pleasant surprise when the entire operation took about 40 minutes and that included 10 minutes looking for a dropped cotter pin!

OK, replacing a mirror is not like replacing the transmission or anything else complicated, but I still feel triumphant. For $30 and a coat hanger I have accomplished what costs over $400 at Nissan of Reno.

I think I'll go treat my truck to a wash.


Sharon said...

I keep saying that nothing you do surprises me anymore, then you surprise me. That is a spectacular accomplishment!

magnusmog said...

Well done! Maybe there should be a group for women against car maintenance exploitation! It's so satisfying to do something that seems way out of your league and then to find out it wasn't that tricky after all :)

Hannah said...

Hey - you might be a little nicer to Nissan of Reno - I work there (here) after all! But, nice job - I'll tell the tachs to eat their hearts out!! :-)

Hannah said...

Oops - that was supposed to be techs.

Anonymous said...

Kuddos to you. Is it just amazing what you can accomplish when you put our mind it it.

Beryl said...

You may have missed your calling. Auto repair is pretty lucrative:-)

Birdsong said...

Nothing can hold back an empowered woman! Good job, and great savings which can be put to use on more fiber:)