Other than alignments I have always done all my own maintainence. The tool collection has grown quite a bit, with quality pieces now replacing the soft metal pieces that many of us start out with. My collection has probably offset any savings from being my own mechanic but you try not to think about that. Everyone has to have their hobby, and it’s the case that no tool collection is ever complete.

The above photo now represents the basic tools necessary to work on my car. I finally did a job that required me to get a Mercedes multiplexer to access the systems that your generic obd2 code reader cannot. It had a intimidating name and there has been a lot of confusion across the enthusiast forums but I’ve found it to be a very straight forward tool. The learning curve is akin to going from a flip phone to smart phone. Now I have another tool (necessary for some repairs) in my chest and the money saved from going to the dealer for a couple keystrokes has paid for it.

Where tavarish has turned his skills into a profitable enterprise and frequently cycles through many late model cars a year (month?), I tend to buy my cars older and keep them longer. Because of this I had not until now run into a situation where a project is incomplete without a module being reprogrammed. I’m far from being a Luddite but there are aspects of the old Om617 that I miss, but it does make me aware of how behind the times some of my skills are if I’m just now encountering this situation. Still saving for the SL so I can spend an afternoon making it dance for me.

I’ve helped friends do simple jobs on their cars and they’ve always left amazed at how easy it was after being intimidated by their lack of experience and personal tools. After programming my module it donned on me that this may be one of the best advancements for the casual home hobbiest. Any of these car software interfaces can be purchased relatively cheaply and the skills to use them are probably at a much lower level than many use at work. This opens up so many fixes and diagnostics to the casual HOA residing mechanic (I think the shade trees went the way of the brougham). Leave the hard stuff requiring special tools to the pros, they need to eat still.


Here’s my call to action. If the women don’t find you handsome they should find you handy. And since you’re handy it’s your job to pass this on to whomever you can to share with them the satisfaction of self sufficiency. If software is more your game then you’re in luck! You have the skills already to handle some of the most complex procedures your car will need. Find yourself a good interface for your prefers make and start playing with it.


Paying the tax and acknowledging jalopniks top 10 today.