Saturday, May 04, 2024

2012 Nissan Sentra: the Magical Mystery Starter (published 5-4-2024; article #469)

5/4/2024 “Magical Mystery Starter” photograph by M. Fearghail.


Humor, gleaned from an unexpected event, and the Beatles' song “Magical Mystery Tour” (11/27/1967 release) inspired the title of this article. I listened to and watched “Magical Mystery Tour (Remastered 2009),” The Beatles (YouTube), 6/17/2018. Welcome to the 113th entry, under the humor section. Fittingly, this is also the 104th article, under the life (such as it is) topic.

This Appalachian Irishman often finds humor in unexpected events. It's how I cope with the realities of life. Aggravation turned inward is depression. Turned upward, it is prayer. Turned sideways, aggravation becomes humor! This story is a recent example. Let me preach on!

The Magical Mystery Starter!

On May Day, Wednesday, 5/1/2024, the “long-suffering” Mrs. Appalachian Irishman jaw-kissed me goodbye, while I was preparing my morning coffee. I wondered why it was taking her so long to crank our 2012 Nissan Sentra. She came back inside and said that the car would not start. I stepped out to the garage and tried. The headlights worked. The dashboard lights worked. The battery was fine. The clicking noise indicated that the starter could be bad. My wife drove our 2006 Frontier to and from work.

Unlike the 6/3/2023 article, about the starter replacement on our 2006 Frontier, I could easily get to the starter on our car. The nearby Advance Auto Parts had a starter in stock that would fit the car. First, I had to remove the original starter.

I found and watched “2012 Nissan Sentra Starter Replacement!” Andy's Auto (YouTube), 3/11/2024. It's a six-minute and 13-second video. With the right tools and a new starter, even this shade tree mechanic could get to and replace the starter. It's secured by four bolts, which face the right side of the car.

I easily unscrewed the smaller top bolt, which is farther back. I didn't have the right-sized offset wrench that could fit the smaller and farther-back second bolt. Even with WD-40, I couldn't break free the two larger bolts, which are on the front. I had the correct hand tool. I forced all my strength into my shoulders and arms. In park, the car rocked backward, as all my power tried to loosen the large bolts. I tried. I gave up. I need to buy an offset wrench that can reach one smaller bolt and a power tool for the larger bolts.

What did this aggravated shade tree mechanic do? Well, I resecured the bolt that I had removed, gave up, and started making phone calls. I arranged for Hot Rods Towing (865-689-1029) to tow the car and me to Knox Horizon Complete Auto Care (865-419-7407). (The articles of 11/13/2023 and 4/3/2024 highly recommended them.) I also highly recommend Hot Rods Towing!

What do you know? Once the tow truck arrived, I cranked the car, just to put the gear in neutral. The car cranked! It cranked two more times! Graciously, Hot Rods Towing didn't charge for the time. Knox Horizon Complete Auto Care enjoyed my thanks but no thanks call.

Our car must have an original “magical mystery starter!” Could this have been a good type of Irish luck? Who knows?

Quickly, the Beatles' “Magical Mystery Tour” came to my fertile imagination. I sang to myself, “The magical mystery starter is waiting to take you away. Waiting to take you away. Take you today!”

Inflationary Humor

I drove our car to the nearby Advance Auto Parts. Instead of buying a new starter, I bought a two-pack of license plate bulbs for our car. (The two original bulbs had been out for a few weeks.) Two fingernail-sized license plate bulbs cost $8.49 plus tax! The two bulbs should have cost no more than $2.00.

In the parking lot, a vendor was selling hot dogs, drinks, and chips. I bought a hot dog, to eat at home. The hot dog was delicious! It should have cost no more than $1.50. I paid $5.00.

Don't get me started on inflation and “govrmint” spending! A dollar or even ten ain't worth much nowadays. Don't worry! We have a money tree, growing in our back yard!


At least on May Day, our car took a day off from hauling my wife to and from work, and she (our female car) got new license plate bulbs!

Don't even ask me about the hand gymnastics that I had to perform, to replace those bulbs! That was after I popped out a few pins, to remove the cover that is inside the trunk lid. The bulb sockets are behind grated metal. I used my “go-go gadget, rubber-flex-arm” powers, to replace the bulbs.

Banging a starter that is going bad, with a hammer or sledgehammer, can force it back to life for a while. My attempt to remove the original starter could have forced it to work. Who knows? Will our 2012 Sentra still need a new starter soon? We will see.

Do I hear you singing the “Magical Mystery Starter” song? If so, give credit to the Beatles and to my aggravation turned sideways!

As a closing afterthought, since today is May 4th, please don't make those “may the fourth be with you” jokes! May 4th, 2016, was when I was discharged home from the second hospital. Previous articles about May 4th are on 5/8/2022 and 5/5/2023.

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