Maintenance lessons

My first car was a silver Rover Metro 1.3S made in 1981 with a four speed manual transmission and Pirelli P4 low profile racing tires, the license plate was something like SPV 918 W.  Dad bought it in 1992 and we cleaned it up, repaired it, and I drove it to Northgate Sixth Form a few times a week.  Before I could ever drive it, I had to know how to take care of it.  I took each wheel off, picked the stones out with a screwdriver, and put them back with Dad standing by, watching.  The car drank oil, so we checked the level weekly and topped it up, along with checking the brake fluid level and coolant.  I had to know where to find them all.  He also showed me what it's like to drive a car with a failing clutch plate, how to drive in thick fog on a country lane in the dark with no streetlights, how to take the hairpin turns and steep slopes of Foxhall Hill at 50mph, how to bump start the car with a slight hill after I'd left the headlights on and drained the battery.

My current car is a green Ford Escort SE made in 1998 with a five speed manual transmission.   We bought it from England just before we moved to the US, and picked it up from the Ford garage near our apartment in June 1998. All but the first 13 miles on the clock are ours.  The "check coolant" light came on a couple of weeks ago.  Not all the time, it would come and go.  Saturday while Hubby was finishing his sermon for the old folks home I took his car and picked up the coolant.  I burned my fingers opening the bonnet because my car was stood on the driveway in the sun all morning.  The coolant reservoir was right where I'd left it last time I checked, and well below the fill line.  Dad's trick of using a plastic funnel made sure the coolant got where it needed to go rather than on my feet and all over the engine.  Filled up the screen wash for good measure and took it out for a drive.  No warning lights, car running smoothly.  Thanks Dad.

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