Changing our engine oil is a key part of regularly scheduled programming. It is what helps ensure the vitality of your engine but carving out the time for this very important chore can be vexatious.
This is a chore I’ve done myself much more often than paying to have it done. Yes, it can be messy and, yes, taking the old oil off to be recycled can be a hassle (although I know some who have oil-burning furnaces in their shops). Yet doing so does allow one time to commune with their steed, allowing opportunity for finding other emerging issues.
This also allows me opportunity to compare and contrast the layout of various vehicles as well as critique the decisions made by automotive designers and engineers.
For instance, when removing the oil filter from my 4.6 liter powered 1996 Ford Thunderbird, having an additional joint between my wrist and elbow would have been beneficial. At least the oil filter was drained by the time it was removed, its contents having ran down my arm and off my elbow.
The 1993 Buick Century I briefly owned required turning the front wheels to the left to access the oil filter on its 3.3 liter V6.
My 1987 Dodge Ram 250 was tops for oil changes. I could change the oil without raising the front end. Simply crawl underneath and have at it.
While changing the oil on my ’63 Ford Galaxie is the most straightforward of anything I’ve ever owned, I’ve also learned to jack it up and avoid using ramps. I’ll blame this on it having a manual transmission.
When we bought our Volkswagen Passat in 2014, I swore I’d never change the oil in it myself. Well, things change. When I called the dealer earlier today, the only VW dealer between St. Louis and Kansas City, the service manager was profoundly rude and as helpful as influenza. My thought? Piss on you, I’ll do it myself.
It was enough different from all the other cars I’ve owned to make the job rather fun. Those cartridge oil filters are a great idea and the Torx head (a Torx 45 to be specific) oil plug was a nice change of pace.
At 47, crawling around on my back isn’t as drama-free as it used to be. I also know some localities frown upon this basic part of the do-it-yourself approach for various reasons. I also know we all have cycles of what we are willing and unwilling to perform ourselves.
Regardless, here is the question: Have you ever gone through a period of changing your own engine oil? And, do you still do so?