The reverse lights in my first car stopped working after several years. When the problem wasn’t fixed by simply swapping the bulbs, I assumed it was more complicated (and expensive) and decided to leave it be.
For years I assumed there was a wiring or electrical issue that would cost more than it was worth to fix. In fact, I’m pretty sure one repair shop quoted me something astronomical, so I gave up on the idea of repairing it and instead found a way to live with it.
I mastered the art of balancing my feet using the clutch, gas, and just enough brake pedal to utilize the brake lights as I was backing up. Dark, rainy nights posed a little bit of a challenge, but for the most part, I got used to not having reverse lights.
After many years of avoiding the issue, I asked another repair shop on a whim what they thought it might be. “Swapping the bulbs didn’t work, and another guy told me I would have to replace the electrical system. What do you think?”
“Let me take a look,” the mechanic said as he popped the hood. He disappeared for a minute then came back to explain what he found.
“Yeah, I’ve seen a few other cars with this problem. It’s a simple fix, though. There’s a little switch on the top of the transmission that goes bad sometimes. It will only cost you $20.”
Years with no reverse lights, fixed in less than five minutes for $20. I was thrilled, embarrassed, frustrated, relieved. Now all these years later, I’m happy it happened that way, because I see something now I didn’t see then.
I learned to live with a problem I didn’t have to live with. I tried to fix something and failed. I got one opinion then gave up. I learned to cope with the issue when the solution was actually pretty simple.
You see what I’m getting at?
We do it all the time. We have an issue. We don’t personally know the solution. We make a halfhearted attempt to seek help but give up too quickly. We go years living with the weight of something we never needed to carry that long.
Have your reverse lights been out for a while? Have you found a way to get a little bit of light to see where you’re going but not what you really need or could have? You’ve figured out how to cope. Go get a second opinion. The solution may not be as distant as you thought.
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