Padiddle, No More

I’m no longer a padiddle, whew! My left headlight’s been out for a week. Small town cops don’t let you drive around like that for very long, so today I fixed it. [kazoo fanfare]

I was greatly amused in doing so, because I was thinking of Ballookey’s recent post advocating the use of power tools by young ladies. Yeah, she’s my kinda girl. I’m pretty sure teaching young women some really simple car maintenance would garner her approval as yet another fun way to thoroughly confound our cultural propensity to label tasks as either masculine or feminine. So, if I worried a little about getting grease on my sleeve or chipping my manicure while performing said car maintenance, um… would that be too girly? HA!

In honor of Ballookey’s wish to broadly educate girls everywhere, here’s my version of Change Your Headlight 101.

Step 1: Identify the Problem & Guess At Cause. Easy. When a dozen people say “your headlight’s out” in less than 3 days, you know the problem. Yes, I know, I know! My first guess at a cause: bulb is fried. Second guess: please, don’t let there be a wire-chewing mouse nesting in there somewhere.


Step 2: Get the necessary part.
Remember that little book in your glove box? Fish it out & use the index, then march confidently into AutoZone & name that part.


Step 3: Find Some Detailed Instructions. 
I flipped to the manual’s section on “Changing Headlamp” cuz I’m low tech. But I’ll betcha there’s a YouTube video you can watch from your Smart Phone? I was momentarily stumped as to how to remove the headlamp housing, until I backtracked to a prerequisite section, “Releasing the Hood Latch”. Silly me, good thing no one’s timing me on this…


Step 4: Twist Off the Lamp Housing.
Requires a little muscle, your hands get a little dirty. Very satisfying effort. I see wires now, ooo…


Step 5: Remove Dead Bulb.
Yep, there’s the trouble, bulb’s definitely burnt out. (Thank God, no mice.) This part is even more satisfying because you get to disconnect a circuit wire, unhinge a spring latch & unscrew the bulb. Very cool. You get to feel like you’re really doing something now!

Step 6: Install the New Bulb & Retrace Your Steps to Closure. Once the new bulb’s in place, replace the spring, wire connector, housing cover & bingo, you’re done. I learned that having small hands & fingers is a credible asset to an aspiring car mechanic. There’s a lot of tightly packed stuff under that hood, yet my knuckles remain nickfree :-)

Step 7: Test Headlight to Confirm Brilliance. If it works, you’re brilliant! Congratulations, you just changed a headlight :-)

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6 Responses to “Padiddle, No More”

  1. meghan Ling Says:

    Did you wear a helmet and an striped jumpsuit with your name on it while you preformed said maintenance? I did notice your dark polish, nice move. Hides the grease. I think you deserve MORE than a kazoo serenade, perhaps a marching band parade! I am in awe of your determination, patience and bravery. I think I’d rather clean a chicken coop with my bare hands than work with the parts of a car.

    • henniemavis Says:

      Hey, if you wanna clean a chicken coop, come on over to my house, baby! I’m still impressed by your marathon effort. Yeah, the running part is amazing… but I’m mostly in awe of your ability to tolerate cold, being from CA & all ;-)

  2. mike Says:

    I admire your cool step-by-step, including the fact that you actually referenced the MANUAL. And MULTIPLE times.
    But, looking at the human side of things, while you’ve certainly increased your own vehicular safety, and the safety of others, you know you’ve also drastically decreased the incidence of padiddle-induced nudity, right?

    • henniemavis Says:

      Nude passengers = distracted drivers, so by decreasing the incidence of padiddle-induced nudity, I’m further insuring road safety for all while putting a damper on dangerously wacky fun? Always the wet blanket good citizen, that’s me ;-)

  3. peggy fussell Says:

    I admire you, I truly do.

    • henniemavis Says:

      Oh no, Peg, I decline your admiration… but I’d welcome your affiliation! Your friend in pink workboots, I’ll be she’d approve us both as super cute in matching greasy coveralls :-)

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