QOTD: Your Level of Wrenchitude?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd your level of wrenchitude

If you’re expending bandwidth on this site, chances are you’re a bit of a gearhead. In addition to eating, breathing, and talking cars, I’m willing to wager more than a few of us turn a wrench on our own vehicles when the need arises.

Such a need popped up in our house this week.

Our six-year old Dodge Charger, the first car I’ve ever kept long enough to pay off, threw a couple of idiot lights at us on Thursday. Both the traction control and ABS lamps illuminated simultaneously and are now burning as kind of an eternal flame to internal combustion. The cruise control stopped working, as well.

Astute readers will pin this malady on a wheel speed sensor, and they would be correct. The luxury of having a two-car garage is not lost on your author, so into the concrete cave it went to be hoisted aloft on an ancient but sturdy Motomaster floor jack. A bolt or two and electrical harness later, all was well. A new part wasn’t even required; simply a cleaning of the old one and its wiring connection (remember blowing into Nintendo cartridges?) did the trick. And yes, I know, blowing into Nintendo games actually did more harm than good.

I am always willing to accept help, but this task was well within my scope. Big suspension work, though? That’s where I coil up and shock myself into springing for a bit of help. At what point do you run out of talent, if at all?

[Image: Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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5 of 126 comments
  • Road_pizza Road_pizza on Jul 10, 2018

    There's really not much I won't try, currently about to rebuild a Ford C4 trans. With a Motor manual and the ultimate set of tools I'll try just about anything.

  • Azfelix Azfelix on Jul 10, 2018

    Change flat tire, rotate tires, plug holes. Air, cabin, oil & fuel filters, PCV valve. Oil, transmission, coolant fluid changes. Power window regulators, interior door handles, various interior & exterior trim pieces, wiper blades. Reinforced/rebuilt sagging trunk floor piece. Replaced battery, fuses, relays, MAF sensor. Spark plugs, ignition coils, timing cover gaskets. Serpentine belts, accessory belts, tension pulley. Brake pads, rotors, drums, re-greased caliper pistons, brake fluid. Water pump, alternator, fuel pump. AC compressors, hoses, condenser, radiator. Radiator, coolant hoses. Drive shafts, motor mounts. Custom horn, speakers. Headlight assemblies, bulbs. Hung new pine tree air freshener from rear view mirror. Always bought the dealer shop manuals.

  • Amca Amca on Jul 11, 2018

    I just did the 65k mile service on an A8. My lack of wrenchitude cost me $943.

  • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Jul 13, 2018

    For me it's brakes, shocks and other easier suspension components, interior work, spark plugs depending on accessibility. Cars go to the indie for fluid changes - I don't trust quick lube places and I can't be bothered with the disposal. I generally like to avoid things that risk turning the garage into a superfund site, but I am probably going to suck it up and tackle a waterpump/t-stat replacement. I read DIYs and watch youtube videos and estimate the frustration level and make the call based on that. If it's a knuckle-buster that has to be done by braille, it goes to the shop. If it requires potentially dangerous tools (spring compressors), it goes to the shop. Expensive specialty tools - shop. You get the idea. It has to be somewhat fun for me, otherwise it is just a waste of time. I find it interesting how many people in this thread won't touch upholstery. Note to self - no upholstery work.

    • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Jul 17, 2018

      This. If it looks fun and "plug and play", I'll do it. If it involves a great deal of patience, work or tools, no thanks, I'll pay to have it done. I've never had a project car and don't have room for it, so I supposed wrenching could be fun, but wrenching on a daily would, for me, be a headache. Everyone has their own financial situation and aptitude, though. You gotta do what you gotta do.