Story Time with Rishone – Fear Prevents You From Moving Forward

Over the past few months I have faced a few car issues. At first I reached out to my good friend, who has been my trusted mechanic for a while, to assess and repair the squeaky noise(belt related noise) and all the lights that popped on my dashboard. For all that dont know I drive a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta. German engineering is one of the best but also a challenge to find compatible parts to do repairs. 
While driving to Wegmans after finishing up our funny video to I like ‘Cabbage’, a funny spin off of Megan Thee Stallion’s Savage, my car started overheating on a moderately¬† cool day after only driving a few miles. Almost all the lights popped up in the dashboard starting with the battery light.¬†

That night I left my car at Wegmans after the video shoot and procrastinated to have it towed because I knew my mechanic was not back in business yet due to Covid-19 and he wasn’t entirely sure when that would be. So rightfully so, Wegmans had my Jetta towed to a lot for violating the overnight parking. Luckily I went back to that very same Wegmans the following day it was towed so the¬†cost did not balloon for sitting on the lot for an extended period of time. To shorten an already long story, I paid the charges but again luckily I learned from the owner of the shop that a portion of the towing was reimbursable by my insurance provider given the circumstances.¬†

Anyways I picked up my car, replaced the battery in the parking lot myself because it was indeed ready for a new battery and drove it home only to recognize the overheating issue was still a problem. So I had to be very careful driving home. However, I got home with the help of Susie safely tailing me to ensure I had no major issues. When I pulled into my parking lot I knew what I needed to do next but I was literally scared to do it because I had never done any engine related work. 

I have always wanted to learn more about repairing the engine of my own car so I started doing some research on what the possible issue could be. I spent almost 2 whole weeks researching and writing down diagrams, looking at my engine from above and under the car. 
Then I recognized that the lower belt tensioner and serpentine belt were completely shredded. Both these parts are important to drive the accessories in the car. Accessories like the air conditioning, alternator(generator), and power steering. Well my engine has 2 of them and I learned what both did independently as well as together. 

Bad parts removed from the side of the engine

So after learning all that I had to convince myself to actually do it. I worked through this mentally so many times in my head. I even had to use some inspiration from my uncle Mark, who is a self-taught mechanic. I went ahead and ordered the parts from Autozone and had my brother James Levy Jr.‚Äč‚Äč pick it up for me the first time.¬†

Similar parts but not the same

Now I knew there were issues in foreign versus domestic cars but this 3 week journey of fixing my own car definitely made it even more evident. I traveled back and forth to Autozone and Napa Auto Parts on a bicycle in the heat to get it done. Yes, once I start something I am extremely determined; plus I secretly enjoyed the cardio workout versus being cooped up and scared to go running the past 3 months. I think within 8 days I rode close to or more than 120 miles. 

Removing the guard from the bottom of the car to gain access to the side of the engine

Unfortunately both auto part stores have generic parts, and though they are the same part numbers they are slightly not compatible with my foreign car. I spent days frustrated taking parts out of my car only to install the new part only to learn they were micro inches off. So I finally decided to bite the bullet with the cost and call Volkswagen to get the right parts associated with my vehicle’s¬†identification number(VIN).¬†

They were a little lost too even though they have my vin number and my car has been repaired at their location a couple times. That made me even more frustrated because they should know more but again foreign cars are just a challenge. Regardless, with installing, uninstalling parts, and checking functionality. I realized I developed a vocabulary that provided clarity and also an understanding when I needed to further validate where the parts department fell short in knowledge. 

I finally received the correct parts and it literally took me 15 minutes to complete the job. I also realized because the car was running hot or over heating the whole time before so the coolant liquid in the tank was below the sensor. I refilled the coolant tank to clear the last light that was blinking and that cleared all the lights on my dashboard. 

Over the past few months I have faced a few car issues. At first I reached out to my good friend, who has been my trusted mechanic for a while, to assess and repair the squeaky noise(belt related noise) and all the lights that popped on my dashboard. For all that dont know I drive a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta. German engineering is one of the best but also a challenge to find compatible parts to do repairs. 
While driving to Wegmans after finishing up our funny video to I like ‘Cabbage’, a funny spin off of Megan Thee Stallion’s Savage, my car started overheating on a moderately¬† cool day after only driving a few miles. Almost all the lights popped up in the dashboard starting with the battery light.¬†

That night I left my car at Wegmans after the video shoot and procrastinated to have it towed because I knew my mechanic was not back in business yet due to Covid-19 and he wasn’t entirely sure when that would be. So rightfully so, Wegmans had my Jetta towed to a lot for violating the overnight parking. Luckily I went back to that very same Wegmans the following day it was towed so the¬†cost did not balloon for sitting on the lot for an extended period of time. To shorten an already long story, I paid the charges but again luckily I learned from the owner of the shop that a portion of the towing was reimbursable by my insurance provider given the circumstances.¬†
Anyways I picked up my car, replaced the battery in the parking lot myself because it was indeed ready for a new battery and drove it home only to recognize the overheating issue was still a problem. So I had to be very careful driving home. However, I got home with the help of Susie safely tailing me to ensure I had no major issues. When I pulled into my parking lot I knew what I needed to do next but I was literally scared to do it because I had never done any engine related work. 

I have always wanted to learn more about repairing the engine of my own car so I started doing some research on what the possible issue could be. I spent almost 2 whole weeks researching and writing down diagrams, looking at my engine from above and under the car. 
Then I recognized that the lower belt tensioner and serpentine belt were completely shredded. Both these parts are important to drive the accessories in the car. Accessories like the air conditioning, alternator(generator), and power steering. Well my engine has 2 of them and I learned what both did independently as well as together. 

So after learning all that I had to convince myself to actually do it. I worked through this mentally so many times in my head. I even had to use some inspiration from my uncle Mark, who is a self-taught mechanic. I went ahead and ordered the parts from Autozone and had my brother James Levy Jr.‚Äč‚Äč pick it up for me the first time.¬†

Now I knew there were issues in foreign versus domestic cars but this 3 week journey of fixing my own car definitely made it even more evident. I traveled back and forth to Autozone and Napa Auto Parts on a bicycle in the heat to get it done. Yes, once I start something I am extremely determined; plus I secretly enjoyed the cardio workout versus being cooped up and scared to go running the past 3 months. I think within 8 days I rode close to or more than 120 miles. 

Unfortunately both auto part stores have generic parts, and though they are the same part numbers they are slightly not compatible with my foreign car. I spent days frustrated taking parts out of my car only to install the new part only to learn they were micro inches off. So I finally decided to bite the bullet with the cost and call Volkswagen to get the right parts associated with my vehicle’s¬†identification number(VIN).¬†

They were a little lost too even though they have my vin number and my car has been repaired at their location a couple times. That made me even more frustrated because they should know more but again foreign cars are just a challenge. Regardless, with installing, uninstalling parts, and checking functionality. I realized I developed a vocabulary that provided clarity and also an understanding when I needed to further validate where the parts department fell short in knowledge. 

I finally received the correct parts and it literally took me 15 minutes to complete the job. I also realized because the car was running hot or over heating the whole time before so the coolant liquid in the tank was below the sensor. I refilled the coolant tank to clear the last light that was blinking and that cleared all the lights on my dashboard. 

I realized there are many things that I could have done differently from the moment I experienced there were issues with the car. I could have immediately had it towed to a shop when I realized there was an issue. However, because I didn’t I learned how to change both my serpentine belts, a tensioner and if needed the alternator as well.¬†

Now I understand why repairs take so long sometimes with my foreign made car specifically. Even for mechanics it is a ‘trial and error’ thing and sometimes it’s a quick fix if you can find the right part but if you try to find parts from an Autozone or NAPA or any other well known auto parts store you will be frustrated over and over again.¬†

New part installed, ready to drive

How does this story apply to phasing back into normalcy. Well, we are all facing some level of fear of the unknown as we return back to life we knew before the Covid 19 Quarantine. As this nation is continuously experiencing a rise in Covid- 19 related cases, racial injustice tensions, the uncertainty of returning to work, or working through some personal challenges. What makes this story very similar to what we are all experiencing, is that everything new. We have never encountered a virus that we had to quarantine, racial injustice is not new but the realization that we still have more to do has been renewed. Also some of us may need to find new jobs and new positions because the company that existed before did not make it through the quarantine. And finally this quarantine has made us all confront some areas of our personal lives. However if we want to move forward we need to do sufficient research, educate ourselves, secure the right tools, give ourselves a pep-talk, and take it one day at a time till we repair our lives and this nation. Only taking an educated action towards the unknown will help to remove the fear that keeps us from driving forward with our lives. Recognize that you don’t know everything and be opening to learning something new. Trust yourself on this journey of growth as we all choose to act rather than surrendering to fear.¬†

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