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The art of good mechanics December 4, 2006

Posted by doobya in cars, cool.
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This video is most amazing:

Download a better quality copy here (courtesy of this retrolink).

Replacing the headlight bulb on a 2005 Polo August 13, 2005

Posted by doobya in cars, fuck this, money.


The car’s owner’s manual recommends paying a visit to your favorite dealer to get the light bulb replaced.

In Holland, if the cops pull you over and one of your headlights is out, you must be able to replace it on the spot, otherwise you’re up for a fine. This is why my 2005 lease VW Polo came with a VW-labeled box of spare light bulbs.

Earlier this month I was driving from Rotterdam to Paris, a 5-hourish drive. At one of the pit stops, I noticed one of the headlights on the Polo was out. Since I would be driving at dusk, I though I’d quickly replace it before hitting the road again. I pulled out a new headlight bulb from the box of spares that came with the car and opened up the hood. I found it wasn’t obvious to localize, and even less reach, the back of the headlight.

Flipping through the owner’s manual for this car, I eventually found a section called “Replacing light bulbs”. The subsequent instructions consisted of two paragraphs of text telling me to please ask my car dealer to replace the light bulb for me, as it required disassembling several pieces from the engine compartment.

So, replacing a dead light bulb from a 2005 VW Polo’s headlights requires to (1) find my dealer’s phone number, (2) schedule an appointment with him, (3) drive to and from the dealer, probably waiting at least a half-hour for the mechanics to do their work in the meantime, (4) probably have to pay for the whole thing.

Replacing a dead light bulb from my 1987 [t]rusty old Badax took about two minutes, including ample time to wipe both my hands clean.

What was bound to happen, did. I thought, “screw that noise,” and decided to fix the light bulb myself, on the side of the highway, without tools, right then. Ten minutes later, I was back on the road with a brand-new headlight shooting up towards the stars, annoyed about the blinker’s light bulb that decided to fall into the water-tight plastic headlight block during the process. (I do use my blinkers, and having to drive without one, sucked).

Anyway, long story short, it cost me the better part of the following morning to fix both lights, disassembling in the process such minor, insignificant parts as the entire front fucking bumper.

What can we learn from this experience, asks the inquisitive wise-ass in me? For one, that your local VW dealer wants your money. And two, that VW gives not a shit about your time, as long as you give money to your local VW dealer.

The Polo is an otherwise good car. I certainly don’t mind having to drive it, all expenses paid by my generous employer. And I really could have asked my dealer to fix the light without having to pay for anything. Nevertheless, spending several hours with a car dealer to get a dead light fixed still sounds like a suboptimal way to waste my free time.