Jan 032020

Here’s another tale from the Nick Happens file, a collection of true stories about my adventures and misadventures over the years.

We all know you can save a lot of money by doing your own vehicle maintenance and simple repairs. I even suggest it in my book The Frugal RVer. The problem is that there is so darned little I am qualified to do! When it comes to mechanical things, I am a complete idiot.

Here is an example: Back during our fulltime RVing days we were hanging out in Lake City, Florida one winter when the battery in our Toyota Tacoma started to fail and I needed to get it replaced. The local Wally World did not have the right size in stock. They install new batteries free if you purchase them there, but I figured “How hard can that be? You take off the hold down clamp, loosen the battery cables, pull the old battery out and replace it with the new one, then clamp it down, and hook up the cables, right?”

Actually, I did not think all of that. Miss Terry explained the process to me. I was all for jump starting the pickup every time I needed to go somewhere until Walmart got a new shipment of batteries in.

So off we went like a herd of turtles to a nearby auto parts store and bought a new battery. I swapped it out with the old one right there in the parking lot of Auto Zone and it seemed easy enough. I took the old battery back into the store to collect the core charge and was ready to hit the road. Back in the truck, I turned the key and nothing happened. The truck would not turn over, no idiot lights came on, it was as dead as dead can be! I got out, checked all of my connections, got back in the truck and turned the key. Still nothing.

Back inside the store I go to tell them they sold me a dead battery. The manager came outside, took one look, and started chuckling, then said “Give me your crescent wrench.” He removed the negative battery cable, pulled off the black plastic cover that comes on the posts to keep anyone from accidentally shorting them out, replaced the cable and it worked fine! Some of us are just too dumb to do things for ourselves, and at this stage in my life, I don’t think I’ll learn anytime soon.

I should have just let Miss Terry do it right in the first place. She’s the talented one in our household, I’m just the eye candy. I tell you, my life as a boy toy isn’t always easy!

In less than 24 hours 60 people have already entered our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series. This copy has the original cover, before I commissioned Elizabeth Mackey to design all of my book covers. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – A car with a roof rack behind me looked like a police car so I slowed down, only to realize I had been tricked into obeying the law for no reason.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  2 Responses to “Do It Yourself Auto Repairs”

  1. OOps wrong place for contest !

    Cheer up Nick , Miss Terry will save you !
    Ya know….You COULD try taking a class on basic auto maintenance.

    Skuh kuh kuh kuh kuh

  2. Nick, many years ago, I did something a little worse. When installing new coach batteries on our moho, I couldn’t understand why the cables were so long, and connected the cables to the most convenient battery post, vice the correct posts. Luckily, I only burned up the refrigerator control board and nothing else. And then I connected the batteries correctly so everything else would work correctly!

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