5 Things I Learned From Replacing the Turn Signal Bulb on the Mini-Van

Changing a Turn Signal Bulb on a Mini-Van
I am a firm believer that even the simplest things can yield learning experiences—even self revelation. Okay—so, replacing a turn signal bulb isn’t necessarily genius level brain exercise—but, even it can be a learning experience.

“Does the turn signal always sound like that?” My daughter’s question came as I was already giving a groan a week ago yesterday—also noticing the first indication of the rapid signal’s Hey-Lady-The Turn-Signal-Bulb-Crapped-Out “tone”. Great. The last turn signal bulb I personally replaced was 20 years ago. The husband had literally just returned the car home the day before from its oil change, so I had no excuse to just lump in an excessive bulb changing fee onto an already ridiculous oil change fee “since we were already there”….Nope the changing of the turn signal bulb was on us. Let’s rephrase: The changing of the bulb was on me.

So what did I learn from replacing the turn signal bulb on the mini-van?

1. Dreading a task does not make it any better one week later. Aside from the fact that two of the girls had a respiratory virus for most of the week—and the littlest little one had the stomach flu—and it rained for three days straight…I don’t know why I refused to tackle the changing of the bulb. Not changing the bulb did not make me any less aware of its absence. I worried MORE about being rear ended than about not being able to take apart or reassemble the tail light assembly. In essence I spent a week dreading a job that took less than 15 minutes.

2. Apparently some people must read ENTIRE vehicle owner’s manuals. In my non-mechanic, humble opinion, the Chrysler mini-van’s owner’s manual instructions leaves something to be desired. I was able to find the replacement turn signal bulb number/type in a different section of the manual from the actual signal bulb replacement instructions. Sorry, Chrysler—owner’s manuals are not leisure reading material for most of us—and putting that cute little bulb replacement chart IN RELEVENT SECTIONS—or, hey, just inserting the ONE FOUR-DIGIT NUMBER that I needed in the three paragraph section on rear lights, would have made me happy.

3. A large screwdriver means a LARGE screwdriver. In my house—I have an inside toolbox so that I do not have to brave the garage every time I need to replace a toy battery or repair something silly. I had to brave the garage for this one. I really DID need a large screwdriver.

4. Cursing is only cursing if someone overhears…right? Once I had the right sized screwdriver, the assembly anchors popped right out. The burnt out bulb was easy to change. Then, the simple, “Replace bulb and reassemble light assembly housing” was not so simple. The tail light assembly went back in place easy enough—as did the top anchor…the bottom one presented some curse inspiring issues. It seems that I must have had the top positioned just so—and must have given it an accidental twist on reassembly making it snap right back in—because that bottom anchor was NOT going in without a fight. I fought. Yes, I cursed. And as the neighbors gave me curious glances from their windows (which I have seen before mind you)—I won. One twist, in thankfully the right direction, and the assembly snapped back together. I thanked God for having mercy on me, my turn signal and frozen fingers and I apologized for my non-mommy like language—since He was really the only one listening at the time.

5. There is satisfaction in accomplishing even a simple task when it’s somewhat foreign to you. I felt pretty good about changing that stupid turn signal bulb myself—and pretty relieved that I no longer had to worry about it on every right turn. Since my three girls didn’t see my non-mommy, raving lunatic persona for the 3 minutes in the front driveway when I was trying to figure out how to pick everyone up from school with a half-dangling tail light—I can show them instead my repaired turn signal with pride—shhhhh—and make sure that they have the confidence to someday take apart a tail light in the front driveway….and learn a few things of their own.

What project are you dreading? Give it a shot—what do you have to lose? You’re probably already losing sleep over it! Now onto the downstairs stair railing!

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