You guys remember my daughter Katie, don’t you?
She’s the reason I started writing. My dream was to become a SAHM for her, despite the fact that I was single.
Katie moved out in December 2020. She lives with her husband (a Marine) in California.
She is doing quite well, and has remembered many of the lessons I taught her a a child.
One of those lessons was to fix things yourself when it was financially feasible.
The other day, when faced with a $600 auto repair bill, Katie did a bit of research and learned how her and her husband could do the repair themselves at a massive savings.
This is her own story, written in her own words.
The worst feeling a car owner can experience when starting their vehicle is when the check engine light comes on. This happened to me, and my heart sank. I immediately began wondering what it was. And I was frustrated because I had just got this car, granted it was used, but still.
Now after seeing that light I immediately went to AutoZone. When my husband and I arrived, we borrowed the engine light reader. Two codes popped up, one being about my battery not producing enough power, aka dying, and the other about my throttle body sensor being messed up. We then had my battery tested; sure enough it was going bad, so we got it replaced. Luckily AutoZone will do free replacements if you buy the battery there. But the check engine light didn’t went out.
Fast forward nearly two months and the light is still as bright as ever. But now we knew what the problem truly was. Having a small scare while driving, I knew it was time to finally fix this issue. So I did what many of us who aren’t fluent in cars do and I called a mechanic. I had found one that had amazing reviews with both price and how well they do. So I told my husband I was going to call for a quote. Well I called and I was absolutely shocked at the quoted price. I was quoted nearly 600 dollars for this fix. 600 hundred dollars I didn’t have at that moment, and it was 600 dollars I did not want to spend on a car I had gotten nearly 2 and a half months ago.
I then was on a mission to learn how to fix this issue myself. Once my husband found out what I was quoted, he said if I had found what items I needed and the process of fixing it, he would help. So now both me and my husband were determined to fix this without going to a mechanic who was overcharging me.
After a bit of researching, I found everything that I had needed, and the price was a lot more reasonable. To replace a throttle body sensor in a Ford Fiesta, you need to replace the whole throttle body. The throttle body piece, including the sensor, was around 103 dollars after tax, and to actually remove the piece itself, I needed a special tool called a T-30, which is essentially a star shaped screwdriver. Now while my husband did have this tool, it was really short and would’ve made removing the throttle body a difficult process. So I found some longer T type tools for around 12 dollars. So all together I paid about 120 dollars, also including a random pack of gloves I got so we wouldn’t get any dirt on the new throttle body.
Now luckily my husband did pretty much all of the work, I was just the one handing him tools, but all together it took us around 30 minutes to replace. Going into this, we had planned for me to replace it, which after watching a few videos and reading some tips about it, I was fully confident in it. But my husband finished his work early that day and offered to do it for me.
Now after a fix, typically you need to clear the error codes. But since I don’t have a reader at home to clear the error, I plan on keeping an eye on it, and running it through about 10 cycles. This means starting the car, letting it warm up and driving it. At some point during these drives the light should turn off. Now I’m not worried about the temporary light due to seeing an amazing improvent in how my car idles. Before it was idling very rough, and would almost die when I would first start my car, but now it idles perfectly fine.
All in all, I saved about 3/4th the price I was quoted, and it only took about 30 minutes to fix. If you are experiencing car trouble or a check engine light being on, go get the codes read, which both AutoZone and O’Reilly’s offer for free. And see if you can fix it yourself. You might end up saving a lot of money in the long run, and even learn a new skill.
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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:
Barnes and Noble