Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Changing my oil

Photo taken by Paul

Watching Earl teach us how to change the oil, I decided that I would give it a try. My try came today. I had the day off.

I decided that instead of paying someone to change the oil, I would do it. Earl had taken me through the whole thing at Cory’s house. I understood how to unscrew the oil screw, drain, oil filter, and done. 15 Minutes at Jiffy Lube, or 15 minutes at home, and more bucks in your pocket. I decided to check off one of the things I had never done before, change the oil.

I had spent the last some odd years having someone else do it for me. The 15-minute oil change.

It looked like this…

1 minute – Drive into the hanger with a guy in a blue jumpsuit waving me in like a Boeing 737. Get out. Give that guy my keys, tell him my phone number.

2 minute-13 minute – Walk over to the room. Drink some cheap coffee from a tiny cup, sit in a metal chair from the 80’s, and read a magazine called Motor Trend from the 90’s. Look up, with my name being called. Agree to all those add ons. Sit back down.

14- Give a guy my credit card. Walk out to my car.

15 – Driving away…

Here is how it looked this time in my garage…

1 minute – Put the jack under my car. Begin to jack.

3 minute – Realize I am jacking up the wrong place, there is a dent forming.

5 Minute – Unjack it. Jack back where the frame is, put the jackstand under it, do it on the other side, while feeling good because I learned my lesson on the other side. Got this one right on the first try.

9 Minute – Get under the hood, realize I wasn’t sure if I had put the parking break on, Check it. Few, I did. Feeling even more like a mechanic.

11 minute – Go under car, laying there in search of the oil screw. I realize I could be a pancake, hoping my jackstands hold. I unscrew the oil screw, the oil starts draining like Niagara in black gold. I rush to put the oil pan under it. My screw is dripping in my hand. I forget my towel, so put the screw in my hand and get dirty. And go find a towel.

13 Minute – Wait for the oil to drain.

19 Minute – Try and unscrew the oil filter. Not going. Call Cory, he says I am doing it right. Go back under. Can’t get the darn thing off. I start whacking the plastic wrench puller, whack it a bit more, cuss, and then realize I need a different tool

29 Minute – Drive down the road to Hardware store. Find a metal one. Wait, there are three sizes on these things. I forgot to bring the size filter, so I just guess it might be the middle wrench, hoping its right.

59 Minute – Get back to my house, check the filter, guessed right. Celebrate a second. Go under the car, start pulling with my new tool. I pull. And pull. And its not moving. I look up, and realize the circle has become a square. I yank harder, and realize my last pull I punctured a hole in the oil filter. Oil is spilling out. Its getting all over. I rush to put the oil catcher pan under. Wipe myself of, and go back from round eight and nine of the pulling. Still wondering if I am screw it off in the right direction.

67 Minute – The round can, which turned into a square can, now looks like a carved out pumpkin, dented. I yank like it’s my birthday, and it finally begins to slide. I yank more. Celebrate more. Start taking it off. Feeling again like a mechanic.

76 Minute – Put on the new oil filter, screw the plug back in. I get out my oil. Unscrew the cap that says 5W-30. I bought 10W-30. I say screw it, it’s going in. I am not going back to the store. Its only 5 numbers off. Oil is oil, right? Sure. I fill it up, test the line. I am almost done. Feeling like Dale Earnhardt mechanics.

82 Minute – Take the jack to the frame, remove both jackstands, drop the hood. Put up my jackstands, left over oil in a corner, and walk in my house so proud.

89 Minute – Realize I never pulled out the pan or tools under the car, go back outside remove them from underneath. Not sure what to do with the oil, so I shove the oil somewhere I can’t see it. Put the tools away. I just changed the oil. And I swear to you, I feel like I just won the lottery or something.


Paul said...



Anonymous said...

This is sooo funny. Not because I could do better, because I could not. Did change my own oil once but it was a very long time ago. This is funny because - well you tell a story well and my husband is an auto mechanic and he would probably be chuckling if he read your description. The 5W 40 was the funniest to me - only 5 numbers off... :)