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4xforward by 4xfred: Recovering Autochondriac

Posted in Features on April 29, 2016
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Hypochondriacs are people overly concerned about their health. Every cough, sneeze, bump, burp, pimple, or scratch is taken as a sign that they are dying of cancer, typhoid, bird flu, or malaria. Every ounce of food, drink, or cookie is considered before they eat it. And every soap, sunscreen, bug spray, or hair gel is scrutinized before a drop is applied.

I’m an autochondriac. When I get a new vehicle, finish a new buildup, or buy a new-to-me old vehicle, I am hypersensitive to every squeak, rattle, vibration, and smell. Is that the rear axle bearing starting to seize? Is the rear driveshaft out of phase and causing a vibration? Maybe that rear freeze plug is weeping and a small drip of coolant is dripping onto the red-hot exhaust and causing a small crack that will allow the exhaust to overheat the nearby transmission cooler line and fry that new performance automatic trans . . .

This is the dumb stuff autochondriacs imagine.

On the other end of the spectrum are the people with zero truck worries. They ignore all noises and just drives the darn truck till it falls apart. Grinding metal-on-metal brakes, annoying check engine lights, dead headlights, loose lug nuts, and maddening rattles do not bother these folks at all. They just drive with total abandon, and their ignorance brings them limitless bliss.

I think my goal is to be somewhere in between. I want to be carefree enough that I’m not worried about the drips of fluids from under my old truck, but also on point enough that I don’t let things fall apart around me (and remember to refill whatever is dripping when it stops dripping). I want to feel confident enough in my wrenching abilities that I can finish a project and leave the next day on an epic adventure with very few worries. Or at least feel confident that I could throw a tool bag in the back and deal with whatever breakdowns occur.

Maybe that is the real goal: Notice all the problems with your 4x4, be ready for anything that goes wrong, but don’t worry about any of it. Just deal with the problems as they arise and keep going.

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