• Charles Pennefather

DIY is a dying art

I like doing small things on my vehicles by myself. I like the process of shampooing and then waxing them. I like making small adjustments or repairs on them. All it has cost me is a few thousand rupees’ worth investment in tools, and a little frustration while I figure where this damn nut came from, I’ve already put everything back together now and don’t want to open it all up again.

However, every once in a while I find something on Amazon that I don’t need to study for a few days before I can figure out, like a headlamp bulb replacement, or knuckle guards. And I’m rapidly discovering that modern vehicles are getting more and more difficult to work on by yourself at home. Yes, I agree that most Indians don’t have the garage space to work on their own vehicles, and I will be the first to admit that no Indian I know reads the owner’s manual, let alone go through something as difficult as a service manual, but isn’t this something that everyone should know, in case their vehicle breaks down? You might not have to repair it yourself (if you did this you’d save yourself time and money) but at the very least it will prevent you from getting ripped off by the person who does repair your vehicle.

I’ve recently purchased a vehicle with a very poor LED headlamp, the Hero MotoCorp Xpulse. On all my previous motorcycles and cars, I’ve had halogen bulbs with reflectors, so it was easy enough to replace the bulbs with something with more light. LEDs don’t give you this option, and LEDs don’t work as headlamps in the Indian context (that’s a post for another day). Unfortunately, finding an upgrade is impossible. So now I’m in the middle of doing research and then I’ll have to find a reliable person to help mount auxiliary lights and fit a switch so that they don’t drain the battery.

Not that replacing bulbs is always easy… my Nissan Micra required all of a finger and a thumb to replace the bulbs. The Tata Nano requires you to unmount the headlamp itself, and then you can replace it. (This is also what you need to do to level and align the beams, which is monumentally stupid.) The VW Polo I owned required me to chant a particular prayer to Beelzebub at the new moon while applying all my strength to the clips that hold the bulb in its socket. And even then I was unsuccessful - I think I said the chant wrong.

I would really love something that would let me do the small repairs myself, rather than having to run for every small thing to the mechanic or the service centre – which I understand is the way to acquire a steady revenue stream from your customer.

But still.

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