Friday, March 27, 2015
The Miata Diaries: Stubborn screws
I've been warring with a pair of rusted-on rear license plate screws since Tuesday. This is Friday. I tried everything in my arsenal -- every screwdriver that was even close to the right size, WD-40, silicone spray, a screwdriver borrowed from a friend, even a screwdriver borrowed from the local AutoZone. The one from AutoZone was finally a tight fit in the slotted head, but resulted in halfway stripping one of the screws.
It was to the point where I considered getting a friend to drill out the screws. (Or zapping them with my sonic screwdriver.) But I tried one last time.
Another squirt of silicone spray, several taps on each screw and a couple hours' wait. And then, the last straw: A pair of combination pliers with teeth that might either wear down the edges of the screws or sink into them tight enough to provide some leverage.
So into the cold garage I went, at about 8:45 p.m. No more daylight left, but I finally had the energy to give it a go.
Setting the pliers around the right-hand screw, I gripped as hard as the tiny space between the pliers and the surface of the car would allow. And I gently tugged, then harder as I felt the pliers teeth staying put on the screw.
At first, nothing. Then an infinitesimal budge. A few more slow tugs and the rusty stranglehold was broken.
Emboldened with my first success, I seized the second screw and with the same technique managed to get it loose, too.
Thus, I ended up in the checkout line at Wal-Mart at 9:30 on a Friday night with a set of new license plate screws and a glitzy just-for-fun plate frame in my arms. Oh, and a random $2 shirt because it's nigh impossible to bypass the sale rack. (Admit it. You know exactly what I mean.)
Sometimes, you gotta celebrate the small successes.