Periscope Depth

turn on the bright lights

How to Change the Brake Lights on Your Sedan:

  1. Google “how to change brake lights [make] [model]“.
  2. Read a few contradictory articles on eHow.
  3. Head out to your car with an adjustable wrench, screwdriver and a pair of brake light bulbs.
  4. Pop the trunk.
  5. Unfold the interior panel on the side with the expired bulb.
  6. Get to work unbolting the three bolts holding the brake light assembly into place. These bolts are designed such that they can really only be reached with a socket wrench, so your two-setting Craftsman adjustable really ain’t gonna cut it.
  7. There’s a weird shelf of sorts inside this panel. Go get a flashlight and rest it on there so you can see what you’re doing. It’s clearly not meant to be a shelf, but it works.
  8. And did I mention that the interior of a sedan trunk really isn’t any place for a 6’5″ person to contort into and try to unbolt a brake light assembly?
  9. Correction to #6: four bolts.
  10. And if you thought undoing three of them without a socket wrench was a pain, then oh brother.
  11. Let me just tell you.
  12. Explore every possible configuration of a 6’5″ adult male into 15.9 cubic feet of space that will still orient the male’s head, and at least one hand, toward a recess that’s no more than a few inches in any direction and is already filled with mechanical bits.
  13. Ponder for a moment about whether you can just force the damned thing out, since three of the four bolts are already
  14. Oh, crap, where’s the third one?
  15. God damn it, you really should have set the bolts somewhere more organized than just “inside the trunk you’re squirming in.”
  16. God damn it.
  17. Wait, here they are.
  18. Anyhow, back to the brake lights. Since three of the four bolts are already out, can you just push the thing until
  19. Huh. The fuse box shifted a little when it was pushed. In fact, it feels like it has two tabs along the side. Almost as if
  20. Sigh audibly.
  21. Remove fuse box.
  22. (Which, yes, could have just been popped out any time, and didn’t require unbolting anything)
  23. Unscrew expired light bulb.
  24. Replace with fresh light bulb.
  25. Turn car on and see if “Brake Light” warning comes on.
  26. If not, snap fuse box back into brake light assembly.
  27. Re-attach three bolts, which go in a lot easier than they came out.
  28. Close up interior trunk panel.
  29. Close trunk.
  30. Congratulate yourself on avoiding a trip to the mechanic, with no more than $5 in parts and a few minutes of
  31. Stop.
  32. Think for a moment.
  33. Return to car; open trunk; open interior trunk panel.
  34. Retrieve flashlight from weird interior shelf thing (see step #7).
  35. Close panel; close trunk.
  36. Pour a beer.

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