Father & Daughter Car Repair – No. 2

What do I do now? When my daughter (HAD) started driving it became apparent that I could continue to be a taxi, let her drive my truck or buy a car that she and her soon to be driving brother could share. Option three was chosen which started the search for a good used car. Being a gearhead it was also going to be a manual transmission (best thief deterrent option) so both kids could learn to drive a stick. I eventually found a one owner, always garaged 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser that was owned by a fellow gearhead with one too many cars (ordered to sell one by his wife). My daughter’s friends and co-workers thought I was a pretty awesome dad to supply such a cool car for her to use. Eventually HAD Right Front Tear Downbought the car from me so she would not have to share a vehicle (that leads to another story with a totaled ending). I taught HAD how to do all of her own maintenance to save money, how to change a flat tire and jump start her car. PT, the car’s nickname, has been very dependable. Then came along a mysterious noise from the right front corner…a worn out ball joint. There was also a motor mount, that had been flagged during the replacement of the timing belt, that was on the list of things to replace. Of course HAD wanted to tackle this repair to save money and to learn more about car repair…with my help. Changing the lower control arms is not for the novice so I knew the learning curve was going to be HAD Under PTsteep. Scheduling a time to do the repair became the biggest hurdle since HAD works two part time jobs and has been training for a half marathon this coming Sunday. The parts also needed to be ordered but they arrived with plenty of time to spare. It was decided we would start Friday evening after she arrived home from work with the hope it would be done before she need to go to work in the morning.

Now a slight detour to when HAD was knee high to a grasshopper. When my kids were little and they asked me for help to put something together (or take apart), I would show them how to do it, then take it back apart and hand it back to them to let them do it for themselves. I would supervise and coach as necessary. So since HAD wanted to learn she suggested we tackle this repair the same way I taught her when she was little. I would show her on one side then she would do the same on the other side.

Based on the repair manual instructions I estimated it would take 3 hours but did not take into account the “novice” factor. We were not very far into the job when HAD said, “I never realized how much brute force was required to work on a car”. The pry bars, dead blow hammers, brass drift and pickle fork were all new tools to her. HAD learned from an earlier repair that a lot of the time the mechanic is Grease and Dirtworking only by feel because you can’t always see what you are doing once the tool and your hands are put into place. As with most repair jobs I busted a couple of knuckles but as HAD was loosing a bolt the wrench slipped and she did a head plant into the fender leaving a red mark on her forehead. Fortunately she did not dent the fender. The old saying any job worth doing is one you bleed for held true. We finally finished just after 11:30 PM. A test drive proved all the work was worth the effort and PT is driving like newish. We had a lot of fun working together and HAD learned a lot. It is definitely easier to work with an extra set of hands on a complex repair. Next up for DeadPT is an oil change which HAD can do on her own (when the guys at our local NAPA parts store see HAD come through the door they say, “it must be time for your 2001 PT Cruiser oil change). We will then change the power steering fluid and bleed the brakes. When all the work is done HAD will be all set for commuting to university for her last semester. HAD can now be my assistant when I change the lower control arms on my PT Cruiser…which is nicknamed GT.

9 thoughts on “Father & Daughter Car Repair – No. 2

  1. All I could see in the blog was a beautiful father -daughter bond . How much I loved it! πŸ™‚ It reminds me of my whole childhood playing a doctor , copying my dad , until I found I love mathematics more than zoology . πŸ™‚ You know , it’s a blessing to have a wonderful dad. Thank you for writing about your proud moment. Take Care:)


    1. He is the always the best friend,philosopher and guide. πŸ™‚ BTW, just like you had this car repair moment with your daughter , my dad and I used to have anti-mom cooking days in our kitchen..:D I will write about them , some day. πŸ™‚ I love your blog ( you know it, right? ) I will wait for more stories from you too.:)


  2. I love this story and completely agree everyone needs to know how to drive a manual transmission. That is how I learned and I am hearing the skill is coming back into favor as parents are trying to discourage kids from texting while driving. Their hands are busier and they have to concentrate on driving more when they have to shift. πŸ™‚


    1. I agree, it is a shame. I remember not noticing when my college car ran out of power steering fluid because it felt “normal” after driving cars without the assist from the beginning. I hope I can find some good alternatives when it is time to teach my son to drive in a few years. πŸ™‚


      1. Thanks for the tip about modern VW Bugs, they might be a good place to start in a few years. I learned to drive in a 1972 VW Bus even though my legs were almost too short to push in the huge clutch and brake pedals. πŸ™‚ My poor dad had a lot of patience… I’ll have to remember if he could do it I can do it!


  3. Oh’ Patrick!! Your daughter is SO blessed to have a father like you to teach her such hands-on-life skills. No mechanic/man will be able to get over on her when it comes to car repairs because of the investment you have made in her! I read this and O’ how I wished you were local — Atlanta, so I could bring you my truck. This morning driving in the message came on that I need to service my brakes (ugh)!! not excited at all and the light for brake repair stayed on all the way to work. How I wish I had what HAD has in you!!

    You’re a good father Patrick! A good father with great dot connecting capabilities πŸ™‚

    May God continue to bless the work of your hands!! Your daughter’s too!



  4. You should know that I actually entertained the idea of flying you in. Seriously! But then as you said, by the time I go to the local guys, that washes the cost of the ticket doesn’t it? I won’t put anything past God–you never know!

    But on a more serious note, your family is blessed beyond measure!

    I know you know this!

    Blessings again,


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