Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Two Day Bulb Change

Who was the first guy to make an owner's manual that was not just for your model but a bunch of different models? Of course he got to keep his job for another 10 minutes while the bean counters explained to the bigshots how much money 3 cents per model adds up to when one owner's manual can be used for a bunch of different models. Never mind that this screws up the usefulness of them. If that guy is not burning in the hottest bottom ring of Hell I am going to be sorely disappointed.

What happens in the best scenario is for you to check on a certain problem, then discover you have to know your model number to see if the answer you found applies. But another unfortunate way this can be handled is that certain information is just left out altogether because it is too difficult to put all the variant this and that in the booklet. Recently this last caused me problems with my Honda and turned changing a bulb into a comedy of errors.

Changing bulbs in the Honda is a pain anyway. Get a load of this: to change the headlamp, the instructions say to turn the front wheel sharply and remove a panel in the wheel well. No kidding. When I had to change one I couldnt find this panel even using a flashlight. I gave up and took it to the mechanic, figuring he would have an easier time taking the wheel off. Instead one of them has a skinny hand and gets it changed without going through all that. Geez. 

I should have learned my lesson from that, but in this latest fiasco we needed to get a brake light working. Since I don't need to go through the wheel well to do it, I figure, hey I can do this one. So a day off rolls around and I find the manual doesnt show where the brake lights are, but gives general location for all the rear bulbs. The problem with that is just how many bulbs there are back there in the modern car, a real jungle of bulbs and wires! I need Sue to help me locate exactly where this burned out bulb is, and she says we ought to wait till the Sun isnt shining [no garage]. But since the parts stores are only open at certain times, I just want to get it done. Turns out, though, the Sun shining on that glass makes it really hard to tell what bulbs are working. I find one bulb that isnt working and figure it is the brake light, since we eliminate it being the tail-light or the turn signal. At this point I don't even remember why the confusion got worse, but I realized *that* was wrong and changed a different bulb and started going crazy trying to figure out what bulb this is, pulled out into the trunk wires and all now, that won't light up for anything! I have about given up pressing on the brake or turn signal or the headlamp/tail-light switch when Sue finally says "try putting it into reverse." Bingo! The back up light is what it is, indeed. By this time so much confusion reigns that Sue and I agree I fixed the bad brake light. We go out that night and when I park, something tells me to check again now the Sun isnt interfering. Alas the brake light is *not* fixed, and my head hits the steering wheel with a thump.

Another day off comes around and Sue and I this time have located that damn brake light. This time I somehow spend a hunk of time fuming about how hard it is to get the bulb fixture in and out of where it goes, something that gave me no trouble before; meanwhile I have to figure out which one of two bulbs it is and also make sure it is working. By now I have learned you just leave them dangling inside the trunk so you can make sure they work before putting them in. But I take out the key bulb fixture and there is no bulb there! What?! Now I can tell you for sure I could get confused enough to have taken a bulb out and not replaced it, but there is no way in Hell I could have put back the bulb fixture with no bulb in it. There is just no way I would not notice there is no bulb! So I am 100% convinced there was no bulb all along. I had just had the car inspected, so I think what happened is one mechanic told the other a bulb was needed they didnt have, and they intended to tell me to go get one and they would put it in. [I love them for how they will pass your car anyway and get that over with]. This time, though, they forgot to tell me. It's the only thing I can figure!  Finally though the bulb finally got replaced and after putting them back in the wrong slots and having to switch them back around, everything is working back there, I think. I am afraid to look. 

Well, the whole story is actually funny, but if you know "them Williams boys" you know just how much the air turned blue while this nonsense was going on. I have to again ponder just how much easier this job would have been, though, if the owners manual had a schematic showing what bulbs go where! Surely if there is a Just God in Heaven the first guy to start screwing with those manuals is indeed burning in the hottest pit of Hell. I just have to believe so.