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Never Again Am I Paying To Have My Oil Done

In a bit of stupidity, last week I took our minivan into a local place to get the oil changed. I usually do the oil myself, but didn't have a ton of time. We had received a coupon in the mail for Wash And Lube Time that included $5 off and they vacuumed the inside of the car as well. I figured that the price was good, we needed an oil change, and our van needed vacuuming anyway. Called, said they could get me in right now, went down there (as they're very close to my house), got the oil changed, everything cleaned up, and the thing looks good.

The problem was that the car, all last week, was running with a lot more noise than usual, and making a lot of clicking noises. After doing a bit of research on DodgeTalk, we come to discover that if the car is running with crappy oil, then the engine will click really bad. So I figured that must be the issue, so I go and buy some good quality synthetic 5W-30 oil (as that's what was recommended for the car), and get down underneath and get to work.

Now, I've changed the car in this a few times (we've only had the car a year) and in other cars about a thousand times. I've always been told that you can crank the drain bolt on really tight, but you're only supposed to hand-tighten the oil-filter, otherwise the gasket won't hold right and you'll lose pressure. Whoever did this did it the exact opposite. I removed the drain bolt with just my hands (no wrench) and I had to literally destroy the oil filter to get it off. I couldn't with my bare hands crank the thing at all, and it certainly didn't help that it was a slick coated (not an easier-to-grip Fram filter), so I wouldn't get a grip on the thing at all. Even wrapping my hands in tape didn't help.

I had to go buy an oil filter wrench to fit this filter. I crawl back down there, cranked on it, and did nothing but crush and twist the oil filter. It got to the point where my oil filter wrench couldn't grip it at all now without somebody holding the clamp in place while somebody else cranked it. So I called my brother in-law, I held, he cranked, and we finally got the stupid thing off there -- and basically turned the oil filter into a cork-screw in the process. The gasket from the filter was still stuck to the mount, so I had to scrape that off as well (bad things happen when you put a filter on with the old gasket still on there -- don't ask me how I know that).

Got the new oil filter back on, got good oil put in there, started 'er up, and, look at that, the click is gone (or at least mostly inaudible).

So consider this my future "note-to-self": Don't ever let somebody else do the oil, especially when they obviously didn't know what they were doing. I could understand that filter being stuck like that if it had been a few months, but not after less than a week. So personally, coupons be damned, I'm avoiding Wash And Lube Time in the future (Sadly, even Wal-Mart's lube center doesn't screw that up).

Posted by Jake on 03/05/06 @ 02:58 PM
Posted in Jake, Local | Permalink

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