How Has Getting Older Changed Your Wrenching Habits?

Photo: Ric Feld/AP
Photo: Ric Feld/AP

I get messages all the time from readers reminiscing on their glorious wrenching days. As much as I enjoy reading these, they’ve got me deeply worried. Will I someday have to give up the wrench? Will I be too old and infirm to complete even the simplest repair? Or can my current habits continue into infinity?


The comments on pretty much all of my wrenching stories include quotes like this one: “Back when I was your age, I used to wrench 27 hours a day using only a kitchen spatula and a spork.” And my recent trip to Moab in a clapped-out 1948 Willys prompted a number of people to tell me they were living vicariously through me, since they hadn’t wrenched in years.

They’re all lovely messages from some of our most loyal readers, but they’ve sent me tossing and turning in my sleep. I can’t shake the thought that, in 20 years, I may not be wrenching anymore. If that’s the case, what will I do with myself? Will I just stand there, staring out into nothingness, just sort of, existing?


What if I have to find new hobbies? What if my car breaks? Will I have to go to a shop and pay a ridiculous sum for an easy job? How can I live with that? How will I know which shop to trust? I can’t bear to think about this any longer.

So I’ve got to ask our more “seasoned” readers, or even ones just less inclined to mess with self-repair than they were a few years ago: how have your wrenching habits changed as you’ve gotten older?

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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This one is easy, I don’t want to do it as much as I did when I was broke in college. I think it has more to do with the means to get more nicer vehicles and more responsibilities. Haven’t had the time to do crazy things like stuff V6s into Ford Aspires anymore.