Monday, February 29, 2016


For the last 10 years I have driven a 2001 Ford Focus.  I inherited it from my Grandmother when she passed away.  This is it:

I know a lot of people will say, "Why drive a Ford?  Don't you know it means, "Fix or repair daily?"  Well, I have to say that this Ford Focus has needed 10 times less repairs than my Saturn SL2 did.  And that Saturn was supposed to be a higher end vehicle that was 100% made in the USA.  So my Ford is now 15 years old, and I have been really lucky, in that, it just hasn't needed much work on it during it's lifetime.

I think where a lot of people mess up with Fords or vehicles in general is that, they don't do the maintenance on them that they should.  This past weekend I went a bit crazy with the upkeep.  But, I truly believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It started with my driver's side headlight.  I noticed that it was dim, and the bulbs probably needed replaced.  I had replaced them three years ago because I believed they where still the original light bulbs, and they were severely dim. 

It was when I took it apart I noticed a problem.  The bulb had all sorts of gunk on it, and the actual plastic headlight unit was melted on the inside.  This is probably due to the insane mechanism that is used to hold in the light bulb.  I think it came apart when I changed the bulb three years ago, and it didn't hold the light in place.  Therefore, the light bulb melted the inside of the headlight unit.

So it was time to get a replacement headlight unit.  I took Dad down to LKQ (You Pull It) auto parts.  They have almost 2000 vehicles on the lot.  Dad and I walked over to the Ford section, and I saw it immediately.  Another Ford Focus.  I got closer, and saw it was also a 2001.  I walked up to it, and saw the whole front end was missing, except the driver's side headlight.  I thought, "Jackpot!" 

It had taken five minutes to walk out to the field, and three minutes to take the headlight off the Focus.  And the good news is that it only cost $30.00 for the part.

So we went to the auto parts store to pick up all the things I needed to do some basic maintenance.  I needed the new headlight bulbs, oil, filter, windshield wipers, windshield washer fluid, air filter, and a cabin air filter.

To make a long story short, we got the headlamp and new bulbs working.  Although, the old bulb cover did not fit on the newly acquired part.  So I ordered one from my local Ford dealer.  But so far the replacement headlight is working.

I was able to get the windshield wipers on, and the wiper fluid added pretty quickly.  I then changed the air filter after pulling four long screws.  The funny thing was the air cabin filter.  I never knew I had one until I checked the FRAM filter website.  So I found where it was supposed to go, took apart everything, and found !!!!!  nothing.  There was never one put there.  Which is kind of a relief since I would have felt stupid having never changed one for 15 years. 

The next day I changed the oil and filter.  I gave my car a good scrubbing, and I used some decent foam glass cleaner to clean all the glass.  So my car is in good shape.  I had already checked my fluids and tire pressure a few weeks before.  So everything is as it should be. 

The only thing left is to stop by Elder Ford and pick up the light bulb cover.  In a weird tale, it seems that Ford made a production headlight, and a replacement headlight.  They took different headlight cap covers.  The headlight that I took off the Ford Focus in the field must have been a replacement headlight since it took a different cap.  That's why my cap didn't fit the replacement headlight.

So my cost for this adventure?  It was $30 for the headlight, $4 entry fee for two of us, $96 for all the parts at the auto shop, $5 to buy new car wash soap after the old bottle ran out, $8 for the new cap.  So figure $143.  It's a bit for the average person, but still better than a car payment.

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