Welcome to my place here in the Hallmark Times. My goal is to provide you with interesting information.  You may agree or disagree on a particular piece of advice, and that’s fine with me. As they use to say–there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Some of my articles will be short and some may take up a good bit of space. There will be things you already know, especially if you’re near my age. I will attempt to spread my thoughts out over a wide range of subjects, and a lot of it will be common sense stuff.

My background is varied. As a teenager I worked at a garage mainly as a gopher and tool washer, believe it or not that taught me two valuable lessons:  1. Don’t let your tools get that dirty, and 2.  Washing parts for several hours in Safety Kleen causes your body to shake like a phone on vibrate. Not good. I poisoned myself.  I also fixed cars.  And I worked for Gary Surdyke building motorcycles straight out of the crates.  I learned a lot.

Next, I joined the U.S. Navy and gave them 10 years of my young life. In return they taught me electronics, and let me tell you the Navy has by far, in my opinion, the best electronic schools in the world. After I was thoroughly emersed to the point of having nightmares about vacuum tubes, transistors, electrons, etc., the Navy shipped me off to a place called Adak, Alaska.  If you don’t know where it is, look for a small dot on the map between Alaska and Russia.  After some time up there and only getting to see the sun 12 times that entire year, I was ready for a change, so off to Guam they sent me. Where is Guam you ask?  You’ve stuck with me this far, so I’ll tell you.  Guam is so far past Hawaii, it’s a day ahead of us here, depending on what time it is.

Guam is a cool place…Well, not really.  Really it’s hot and humid, but it is a fun place.  When not on duty you can play softball for 6 months out of the year, and you can scuba dive during the rainy 6 months.  You’re going to get wet either way, right?  That’s enough about the NAVY career

After 10 years of bouncing around the world, I called it quits.  I mean, I was 28 and knew everything, so my lovely wife and I decided to open our own computer repair shop. As in any new business you have to work extra hours to get it all done. The fact was that I was working 18-20 hours every day. Most days so was my wife.  She told me to go get a regular job.  If I didn’t, this job would surely kill me.

So, I took my hard-earned skills to the corporate world. It was a real eye opener to learn how they did things. After a few years with the third largest computer company in the world, I went to work for the competition. This was a third-party company who had just won the government contract away from aforementioned third largest company.  The move came with a nice pay raise, also.

Then along came a driver not paying attention to her primary responsibility.  She ended my electronics career.  For 3 years as I recovered from the accident, I sat and watched my wife work as many as 5 part time jobs to keep us afloat.  And that’s enough about that three years except to say I wouldn’t trade my wife in for anything.

Lastly, we took up truck driving when I was able to get back to work.  This career has lasted for decades, and I’ve been a company driver as well as an owner operator.

I invent, I create, I experiment, and I build many things I need and many that I’m just curious about.

With all that said you may agree that I have a wide range of experiences to draw from.  And that’s enough of an introduction.

Basic Car Checks

If you have car, then you know it is a valuable investment and you rely on it heavily.  It’s important to do a few things to keep it in reliable condition. If you don’t know how to do these things, consult videos online or a knowledgeable friend or mechanic shop who can teach you.  It’s important that you know what to do and that you do it. 

My first piece of advice is to check your car over visually at least once a week. By that I mean open the hood when the motor is cold and on level ground. Make sure it has enough oil. 

Check coolant: If you can remove the radiator cap and make sure the coolant is near the top, that in my opinion is the best way to tell what’s really there. I know all cars have overflow reservoirs nowadays, but more than once I’ve seen fluid in the reservoir and the radiator was still low or empty.  An empty radiator can result in expensive repairs even to the point of needing a new motor!

Check the power steering fluid.  Check your brake fluid level.  Check windshield washer fluid.  Check the condition of your windshield wipers.

If you own an automatic transmission, check the transmission fluid about once a month. If it looks darker than normal or it smells abnormal like it’s been burnt, or the fluid level is low, and you’re not sure what to do contact a mechanic you trust for good advice.  If you own a standard transmission, make sure someone qualified is checking to make sure everything is okay with it periodically.

Finally, every time you walk to your automobile look at the tires to see if you have a flat or a tire that looks low on air. Also look for fluids beneath the vehicle that could indicate a fluid leak like oil or coolant.

These simple steps can help keep you from being stranded on the side of the road.

Thanks to our readers and do what you can to stay safe out there.

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Tony Siebert

As a teenager I worked in a couple of garages mainly as a gopher and tool washer, but also working on vehicles and building motorcycles new out of their crates. I joined the U.S. Navy, I learned electronics and traveled to exotic places. My family increased by two of the most amazing kids anyone could have. My lovely wife and I decided to open our own computer repair shop. Later I worked for the third largest computer company in the world...and then their competition.

A careless driver in a full-size Bronco rearranged my life when she ploughed into me...no more electronics. After 3 years of recovery, I rejoined the world. I wouldn’t trade my wife for anything. We took up truck driving and this career has lasted for decades. I've been a company driver as well as an owner operator. I now have time to invent, create, and experiment, and you'd be amazed the places a wide range of experiences can take you!