Someone in our household…. broke the tail light on the car.

On TV I guess I had heard of people who broke their taillights and then they get “Fix It” tickets. It’s just one of those things you never expect to happen to you.

Only the red glass on the outside of the tail light was broken, but my Google research told me that when that happens, you have to replace the whole taillight. Fine. I’ll replace it all. How much can it be right?

It can be a lot.

Which is why I didn’t want to get a new one. If I got a new one, it would be $80 plus I would have to install it or find someone else to install it. I watched a YouTube video on how to replace it, and as soon as the phrase “You will need an 8 mm wrench with extension to replace it.” I knew that there was a good chance I would screw up the installation.

Don’t get me wrong, I can use a wrench. But I have ZERO idea which one the 8mm one is, or what an extension is.

So Plan B.

I called the junk yard I’d been to previously (for someone else) and they said they would install it for me and they had the part, which would cost me $70. Which is cheaper than the new one without installation so I was sold.

The only part that I wasn’t sold on was actually going to the junk yard. I had been there previously, but… it’s just not my favorite place to be.

Anyways before/during my time there I came up with a list of rules to follow when you go to the junk yard, this is especially applicable if you are a young female. If you are not, then it probably still applies. Read on my friend!

Rule #1: Don’t wear a dress

Since it is hot as heck in New Mexico, I immediately put on a dress this morning. Once I realized I was going to the junk yard, I immediately switched out into shorts, t-shirt and a baseball hat. The baseball hat is really bonus if you can pull it off when you go to the junk yard, because it makes you look like more of a tomboy (or so I told myself).

You want to convey as soon as you walk in that you know why you’re here and you know what you’re doing. In my opinion, a dress doesn’t convey that.

Rule #2: Be confident

I can’t take credit for this rule, my dad told me to be confident right before I went. Walk in there like you do this every day. If you’re mousy or act helpless, there’s a good chance that they are going to treat you like you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead, put your shoulders back, walk in there and ask for what you want.

Rule #3: Pretend you know what you’re talking about

Do your research before you go. You don’t want to sound stupid, so go in knowing that you need the tail light replaced on the driver’s. I mean, if they say words or talk about things you don’t understand, then ask them what you’re talking about. I’m just saying be prepared. Which brings us to #4….

Rule #4: Know what kind of vehicle you have

Learn from my mistakes please! I had everything down, except that I didn’t know what edition of the car it is. She asked, I went out and looked, and then she told me to show her the car so that she could decide for herself. Ugh. This did not go with my “Pretend you know what you’re talking about” plan!

Rule #5: Never show fear

In my experience there are some big dudes at the junk yard. And they don’t smile.

You are all there to get a job done. Put your head down and do your job. Don’t be afraid of nobody!

But also as a general rule, it’s a good idea not to get into fights with the big guys.

Rule #6: Bring a snack

It always takes longer than you think it will. Believe me, I’ve been to the junk yard twice!

Last time I went we just needed to get a part pulled. For some reason, that took a very long time, like 2o mins. Looking back, that’s not actually that long, but it felt like forever. To get the tail light replaced took an hour.

Here’s the reality, you’re going to be sitting there for a period of time. If you’re anything like me, if you sit with nothing to do for too long you’re going to get hungry and when you get hungry you get cranky, which makes you impatient, which makes you want to fight the big guys at the junk yard. Kidding! I just get cranky and stew there wondering what could possibly take them so long to replace my tail light when it only took then 5 minutes to do it on the YouTube video I watched.

So bring a snack.

Rule #7: Have something to do

I feel that I have made my point on the length of time that you will be at the junk yard. I also know what you’re thinking, “I have my phone to distract me, what more do I need?”

Well, yes you do but perhaps there are more productive ways to spend an hour rather than scrolling endlessly through Twitter and Facebook? Hmm?

I mean, that’s what I did (even though I brought a book) but there are definitely more productive things to do.

Rule #8: Treat everyone with respect

When you walk confidently up to the counter to tell the big dude what you want done to your car, just be nice. As a general rule, when you treat people with respect, you will get respect in return. Also, you may not know all the car words, and if you’re nice to them they may be willing to explain them to you.

Rule #9: Bring cash

This might not apply to every junk yard, but at least at mine, it’s cash only. Don’t drive all the way out there just to find out that you have to drive all the way back into town to go to an ATM. Thankfully I had my wits about me to remember this rule before I headed out there.

There you have it! If you follow all of these rules, you will be perfectly fine with finding parts and getting that car fixed!


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