After all, I’m a man, and men fix things and do car stuff and so on. Common knowledge. Changing the light bulbs on a car, that’s man stuff, right?
Except that I haven’t got a great track record on changing car light bulbs. The last time I tried it was on an Astra, and it involved fitting my hand through a ridiculous little hole inside the front wheel arch, which took me most of an afternoon and a great deal of frustration. And I’ve never done it on the Citroen C3 we have now, so I was a bit apprehensive.
Plus which, I wasn’t quite sure exactly what sort of bulbs I needed. I could just go and ask for bulbs for a C3, and it should work, but I’ve been caught out before! Different model, different year, and so on. Better to get the defective bulbs out and take them into the shop for replacements.
But before I can do that I need to take out the light cluster and remove the bulbs, which brought me back to problem number one.
However, in this day and age you don’t have to actually know stuff. We have the internet, which knows everything, and I soon learned that the rear off side light cluster on a C3 was a doddle to get at. You only needed to undo two nuts and the whole thing came out. Easy job, like I said.
Except… to undo the nuts you need a 10 mm socket, and I don’t actually have a socket set. It’s a terrible thing for a man to admit in our society, but I don’t have a huge stock of tools. In particular, I don’t have a socket set.
No problem. I’d go down to the nearest DIY place and get the cheapest socket set available. I’d take out the light cluster in the car park, remove the bulbs, go and get the replacements, put them in, fix it all back together. Easy job.
Plenty of socket sets available. Found one with the required 10 mm socket, no problem. So back to the car to open up my new socket set, remove the nuts, take out the light cluster, remove the bulbs, go and get replacements, put them in, put back the light cluster – easy job.
Except… the socket set was sealed in thick, vacuum packed plastic, which would not yield to either brute force (what little I have), nor concentrated mind power, nor even profanity. A knife or a pair of scissors would have done the job, but I hadn’t thought to bring those with me.
So, I needed a tool to open the pack to get the tool I needed to remove the nuts to take off the light cluster to take out the bulb to take to the shop to get the replacements and fit it all back together.
Ok, so not such an easy job.
But I’m a man, and where a man’s forethought and planning fail, there’s always improvisation. And pig-headed stubbornness.
I sawed the vacuum pack open with a key, and got out the socket set, removed the nuts, took out the light cluster, pulled out the bulbs, got the replacements, put them in, replaced the light cluster, put back the nuts, and drove home with brake and indicator lights working and my manhood affirmed by socially recognised standards.
(Well, the light cluster maybe doesn’t fit quit as tightly as it did, owing to a little problem with a nut getting cross threaded and stripping the bolt, but lets not get picky about it.)