Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mazda Headlights

Three weeks ago my wife's headlight went out. We went to the auto store, bought a new one, snapped out the old one, and snapped in the new one. It was easier than changing a lightbulb in the house. Good job, Toyota! (Your cars are all still too bland though. Even the last version of the MR2.)

Two weeks ago, one of my lowbeams went out. Technical guy I am, I went to the store and bought another bulb. I confidently walked to the parking lot in the dusk and popped my hood. First I managed to unseat the rubber gasket around the bulb and cable. Then I used every ounce of my huge muscles to unplug the cable from the bulb. Odd, since it was really easy on the Toyota. Then I grabbed the end of the bulb, and tried to unscrew it. And tried and tried and tried. I looked at the new bulb in it's package and verified that it should unscrew. That's why it's designed with those notches and bumps on the rim like that. I tried just pulling. Rotating and pulling. Rotating, pulling, and pushing (all at once). It was not budging.

Later, in daylight, I surveyed the situation. There was a metal wire clip thing holding it down. No big deal, I would figure out how to get that off. It looks like you squeeze it and it will hinge off. Or maybe one leg can slide out enough to free the bulb. Well, I guess I'll just unscrew it. Oh wait, it's on the driver's side! The battery is in the way. I'll try my smallest screwdriver built for tiny computer parts. Too long! How about at an angle? Oops, dropped it. Well, I'll pick it up and try again. But it's sealed inside the bumper and there's no way to reach it. I had to use fireplace tongs as part of the lightbulb replacement process to get my tool out of this weird nook.

In the end it took 4 tries and a stubby 20 year old screwdriver that my parents had to unscrew the "evil paperclip" holding the bulb in place. HEY MAZDA! DON'T MAKE THE EASIEST CAR REPAIR JOB THERE IS IMPOSSIBLE!


That stubby screwdriver is great though. It's about 3 inches long and switches between philips and standard heads. Easy to turn. I still remember it from being a kid and taking stuff apart. It was the best.

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