Category Archives: Automotive

Today I Was Manly

Today, I changed the serpentine and power steering belts on my 2006 Scion XB. It started with a trip to AutoZone. Except it was actually Advanced Auto Parts. I didn’t realize until I was leaving and passing AutoZone in the same parking lot, that I wasn’t actually shopping in AutoZone.

I did pick up their belt replacement rental kit for $30 (refundable). Which includes some narrow sockets and a bar to give you leverage. I could see it being really useful in a large engine, but in a small one it wasn’t that great. I frequently didn’t have the space to rotate a quarter turn and the bar they provided could only attach a socket at quarter turns.

The whole thing took me about 8 hours. Which might be a little excessive. But during the process I learned what a breaker bar was – and fashioned my own using a particularly strong ratchet and a piece of corrugated irrigation pipe. I spent many hours trying to figure out what the instructions meant. Even though they were incredibly detailed. Turns out the inside of a tiny car is not good for figuring out how a car works. There were a number of times when I moved the light a different way and suddenly realized that the entire car was working differently than I had spend the last hour assuming.

But more importantly than replacing the belts, I seem to have fixed the tension and my car no longer makes a horrible squealing sound. So both successfully replacing two parts, and having my fix do what I intended makes the day feel sweet indeed.