188. The Oil Change (1)

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Darwin was about to give his 1992 Buick Regal to his girlfriend's son, Gilroy. But before doing that, Darwin had to make sure the car was safe. If anything was wrong with the car and it caused Gilroy to be injured, Darwin would in turn be injured—by Gilroy's mom!

Darwin made a list of things to do for Moe, his mechanic. Change the oil and oil filter, which Moe recommended every 3,000 miles or six months, whichever came first. Check the front and rear brakes. Adjust the brakes so that the brake pedal didn't feel so mushy. Change the radiator coolant and transmission fluid. Check all the belts. Check the spark plugs and ignition wires. Replace the PCV valve. Repair the slow leak in the left front tire. Finally, the note said, call Darwin if anything else needed fixing.

Darwin would check the air filter himself. That filter was easy to check and to replace. He would also check the windshield washer fluid himself. The DieHard battery didn't need checking—it still had two years left on its warranty.

He called Moe. Moe said to bring the car in at 8 a.m. Wednesday. On Wednesday Darwin woke up at 7:30. He put the note on the dashboard of the car and drove the half-mile to Moe's shop. He worried about the bill he would get that afternoon. He wanted Gilroy to be safe, but he hoped that Gilroy's safety wouldn't cost more than $300.


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