It’s time for me to prove all the naysayers wrong again, and get my hands dirty turning wrenches — this time on my very broken Hummer H2. I do this a few times a year when I’m reminded by my friendly viewers that I could save loads of money working on cars myself — but when I start wrenching, I’m also reminded that I hate working on cars.
"Hate" is probably too strong of a word, but my usual weekend of wrenching includes buying the parts and specialty tools needed for the job, followed by an hour of wrenching before I realize I have the wrong part — or the wrong tool. Then I’m back in the trenches the following day with the correct parts and tools — except I lost the other tool that I needed to finish the job, and I have to go back to the parts store again. By the time I’m finished, I could have paid a mechanic in what I spent on tools — and I’m nervous about all the leftover pieces. I also could have used my time more wisely, like most millennials, spending the weekend viewing memes on my phone.
For this wrenching session, I chose my jobs wisely, as there was a long list to choose from with my 195,000-mile Hummer H2. I let my mechanic, the Car Wizard, deal with the rusty exhaust manifold and rusty steering components — and while he was under there, I had him spray paint the underside of my $6,200 Hummer H2 to make it look less rusty. I saved some money by finding a good set of used tires — and I chose a few easier jobs to fix myself. This included installing new intake gaskets, an alternator and a driver’s seat. While the seat was out, I also planned on replacing the fried airbag computer that rested underneath. In total, these jobs would take a competent mechanic about three hours — but I’m far from competent.
It would have taken me three hours just to get the intake off without the Car Wizard’s occasional help and access to his endless arsenal of tools — but with his regular assistance, I managed to get the intake and alternator off in about an hour. Being a Car Wizard, and kind of a showoff, he told me his personal record for doing the exact same job was 15 minutes — and he could have the engine back together in around 30 minutes. Since I was already tired, I decided to let him finish the job, and I moved on to the interior.
Half an hour later, I had the driver’s seat out and the airbag computer replaced, and I had just removed the broken center console lid. Meanwhile, the Car Wizard easily finished the much more complicated job of fitting the new intake and alternator. I imagine it would have taken me over three hours to do it myself — so I was very happy to pay him the extra $50 to avoid more embarrassment.
Of course, enjoying the fruits of your labor can be satisfying, and I’m happy to have saved myself a few hundred dollars. I also greatly value the knowledge of an experienced mechanic — and I feel very lucky to have a Car Wizard in my life. I have zero regrets that my hooptie fleet funds his luxury vacations and an Ivy League education for his children. Find a Hummer H2 for sale