Something to think about when getting your next oil change

So, last Saturday, my father-in-law calls me and asks  if my car is leaking oil.  My response was “Not to my knowledge”.   He goes on to tell me that he found a very small pool of oil on his driveway, where my car was parked.

This concerns me, since I just remembered, that I had to top up my oil a couple of weeks ago.

Sure enough, when I take a look under my car, there’s a couple drops waiting to happen.  Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have the right equipment in order to get under the car for a proper inspection.  Checking the oil level and making sure that there was a safe enough level to get home, I decided that will have to check the next day, during the day light.

So, the next day comes along, and I go into Canadian Tire and pick up a 5 litre jug of Castrol Syntec and  a Fram oil filter for synthetic oil.  I decided that was going to do a complete oil change while I’m under the car anyways, since it was getting close to the mileage that I should be changing it anyways.  I remember the last time, I had gone to Oil Changers and had them do it.  I do normally let them do it, since it’s more convenient and faster.

I went to the service counter and asked the ‘Sevice Advisor’ where I can find the gasket/washer for the oil drain plug.  I might as well pick one up while I’m there, just in case I need one.  I don’t know about this guy, because he suggested that we go into the ‘plumbing’ department and pick one up there.

My friend, pipes up and says “Now why the f**k would an automotive part be doing in the the plumbing department?”, just as the store manager was walking up to use to make sure if we were taken care of.  He promptly showed us to the area with the washers would be for the drain plugs, goes as far as to look up the part number for the drain plug to find the correct size of washer we needed.  We told him what his service advisor had told us and he was astonished to  hear what we repeated to him.  “He’s the service advisor for god sakes!” was his reply.  We’ll let him deal with his employee.

We paid for the stuff and left to do a complete oil change on the car.

I put the car up on the ramps and crawled under.  Yup, I can see a leak coming from the drain plug and the oil filter.  I asked my friend to hand me a 17mm wrench so I can loosen the drain plug.  As I was putting the wrench on, the nut turned by itself.  WTF?!?!?

I use my hand and remove the drain plug, without the wrench.  Is it just me or does something not seem right here?!?  I shouldn’t have been able to remove that plug with just my hand alone!

Once all the oil had drained, I put the plug back in, with the new washer and made surer I tightened it with the wrench.  Next, the oil filter.  Since that was leaking as well, I thought to myself “I wonder if that’s loose too?”  Sure enough, I was able to remove it without any tools and resistance.  What the hell?!?!

It is now obvious that those guys that are working at Oil Changers, didn’t tighten anything!

I did my oil change and made sure everything was tightened properly.  No leaks, no drips.  Just goes to show you, if you want it  done properly, do it yourself.  Unless you don’t know how to do an oil change (which every male should!), don’t have the facilities or tools (again, if you are a guy, you should have tools and at least a friend with a driveway), or if your vehicle warranty doesn’t cover self done oil changes.  There’s a few out there that want a receipt of oil change done at the regular intervals.

In any case, you’ll want to make sure that you take it to a proper mechanic.  It may cost you most, but a trusted mechanic goes a long way.  My own trusted mechanic is Autovation, located in Stittsville, ON.

That’s my rant for this time, til the next.


3 thoughts on “Something to think about when getting your next oil change

  1. There are places that car owners should never take their car.

    Companies that focus on oil changes, and a certain nationally recognized tire (and housewares) big-box store.

    The industry is wrought with examples and stories about loose and stripped oil pan plugs and filters, over-filling and severe under-filling, or no oil at all.

    My wife took her Mazda to Canadian Tire, and they promptly damaged the engine during a routine belt replacement because they failed to replace key parts, and their excuse was that they didn’t know they should have replace pullies as well. It was an admission that they didn’t know how to properly service Mazda engines.

    A good mechanic is easy to find, but good mechanics aren’t necessary thorough mechanics. I highly recommend dealer service for things like oil changes (not a lot more expensive), and take your car to a car clinic hosted by the dealer, and physically get under your car, and inspect the major wear points, such as ball joints, bushings, and the many rubberized bushings around the engine, control and trailing arms (especially the compliance bushings – most likely to tear).

    I do a lot of the work myself these days. I’ve replaced struts, and bushings. These are items even my dealer missed after several visits and several complaints – it was the car clinic which revealed the issues, and it was so easy to see – any moron can determine a rubberized bushing has gone bad.

    • Thanks Tristan, for those of you out there with warranty still left on your vehicles, I would definitely suggest that you go to a dealer to have things done, even if it’s an oil change.

  2. Hey there Martin 🙂
    As far as I’m concerned not just men should know this about their cars. I can change my own oil (and have, as well as other small repairs to gaskets and the like). In fact, my mother would not let me take the car when I first had my license until I showed her that I could change a tire by myself! Don’t forget to include us ladies!! lol

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