Saturday, November 3, 2012

Musings on a car fixit day

Lørdag! That's the Norwegian word for Saturday and it literally means "cleaning day" in Norwegian. We started the day with a whole-family cleaning session and it felt great. This is a Norwegian tradition I could easily get hooked on.

After cleaning it was time to get to work on the car. On the first day of icy roads last week, our red car had a very long slide and a very slow-speed collision with a signpost. It's amazing the damage from such a light impact. It broke the headlight and dinged the bumper and readjusted the hood, grill and fender 1-2 cm each, enough to put everything out of whack.

Trondheim Bil Demontering
So, the headlight from the dealer would cost 2600 kr., or about $500. If they made it anymore. Our car is 25 years old, so no go. Instead I went online and searched junkyard databases. I am quite impressed with the part inventories available, many with pictures. They had the part at Trondheim Bil Demontering (Trondheim Car Dismantling), which isn't actually in Trondheim but south in Melhus. It lies in an industrial area with a breathtaking sheer cliff backdrop. A really lovely view.

The drive out took me through a construction zone. There are construction zones everywhere. Two years ago Trondheim received a ton of money in what was called an "Environment Pack" to pay highway, tunnel and bicycle routes within and around Trondheim. They've been digging a tunnel under our house, they've been widening the freeway, they've set in bike lanes and bridges, and it's generally looked like an awful mess everywhere. However progress is going very quickly and when it's all done in 2014, it's going to be very nice and very easy to get places. So, there is hope.

Tempe Dekkservice
I got the part for about $85 and they threw in a plastic knob I needed for the back seat. I left feeling happy that I had learned a new process – car part hunting in Norway. On the way back I stopped by the tire dealership, Tempe Dekkservice. Yesterday I dropped off two rims with summer tires so they can swap my studded tires on the rims. It feels good to be getting ready for winter. With the recent warm weather, the snow is melting but it will back soon enough I'm sure. I like the waiting room at Tempe Dekk, they have a coffee machine and two massaging recliners. The prices there are quite reasonable too.

At home I banged away at the car, happy to be working outside on this gorgeous afternoon. I had some trouble getting the old light out and the new light in – the shape of the opening changed in the impact and nothing fits right. But with a hammer and a hacksaw, a little creativity and a lot of perseverance, the light is fixed and the car is legal again... if a little bit wonky.

Headlight removed, new light going in

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