Caution! Mechanic at Work!

So the ‘engine coolant’ light has been on in my car for about three weeks now. Since this is not the first time it has come on, I’m not as squirrelly about it as I should be. I’m due for an oil change too (or overdue, since I shoulda gone in September), so I just thought that I would get them done at the same time.

Flash forward 3 weeks and I still haven’t gone and that little red light is like my conscience. Quiet, unassuming, but it’s there all the time, weighing heavy on my soul

So I blow the dust off my owner’s manual and read up on Engine Coolant, inconveniently located in four separate sections of my manual, all of which you have to read if you want to know what’s going on.

I go to Wal-Mart and couldn’t find exactly what the manual said I needed. So I called my mum and asked her to ask my dad (Dad’s a little deaf and a lot Greek so asking him technical stuff on a cell phone is generally a bust. Your best bet is to ask mum, who will then shout it several times at Dad and when he mumbles an answer, she will tell you what it was). But Dad and Mum weren’t 100% sure (at least you didn’t sound 100%, Mum!), so I asked the guy who worked there. He was helpful, but unfortunately they didn’t have what I wanted. And I hate asking questions like that because it makes me feel dumb. I’m not dumb, I’m just not an auto-mechanic.

So off to Cambodian (Canadian) Tire, where I purchase my Dex-Cool engine coolant and then it’s back home. Jenge says, “You’ve done this before?”

“Nope!” I reply, “But I read the book.” And here are my instructions if you want to do it too!!

1. After ensuring engine is cool (okay, I ensured it wasn’t hot, I mean I drove home 2 hrs ago so it was warm but not hot), remove the lid of your coolant tank while being careful not to get sprayed in the eyes by liquid burning fire!! The burning the burning!! (this was according to the picture in the book of what could happen if you did it wrong – so not helpful)
2. My coolant (and I think everyone else’s) has to go in a half and half mixture with water. Why they don’t sell it diluted when everything else in the world is a rip-off, I have no idea, so step 2 – Fill pickle jar with water (I used a standard Vlasic pickle jar – Baby Dill with garlic)
3. Empty pickle jar into coolant tank
4. Fill pickle jar with coolant (thus ensuring my 50-50 mixture, plus my coolant tank was empty with a capital E so I knew I’d be adding lots!)
5. If still not full, fill pickle jar half way with water, the rest with coolant.
6. Add to tank.
7. Peer into cavernous dark hole and wonder if it’s working. (This step optional)
8. Screw lid on tightly. Remind self not to wipe hands clean on cream sweater.
9. Close hood.
10. Check nails for breakage. No breaks, we’re good!
11. Start car

And no coolant light!! I’ll have to wait till tomorrow to make sure it doesn’t pop on at some point since it was on 80% of the time, but off for 20%. Wish me luck!

So the running tally of things I can do for myself regarding my car is now:
1. Change windshield wipers
2. Change tire (Shut it Donna, I can so!)
3. Add washer fluid
4. Add Coolant
5. Check oil
6. Add oil (I haven’ t changed it yet, but I have added it after the light came on!)
7. Jump start with cables
8. Check battery
9. Know when the alternator is about to blow and why the alternator is a VERY IMPORTANT part of your car!!

Yea me!


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