Of Quarts Itís Time for an Oil Change


The other day I noticed that my car was due for an oil change, so I took it down to one of those franchise auto shops that are always named something like, Super Fast Greasy Express 2 minute Jiffy Monkey Lube. I used to change the oil myself. My dad taught me, as is tradition. The father takes his son out to the driveway for an afternoon lesson of basic automotive maintenance. There, the father starts up the car, pops open the hood, and proudly shows his boy how an engine operates, while the son - displaying impressive potential as a future mechanical genius - tries to spit on the fan belt.


This is followed by the actual oil-changing lesson, which goes as follows:


- You and your dad crawl underneath the car.

- Dad bangs his head on the oil pan.

- You learn several new dirty words.

- Dad shows you how to unscrew the oil pan cap.

- Some oil gets on the driveway.

- Dad tells you to grab some dirty old rags.

- With greasy hands, you barge into the house, and round up Momís best towels.

- Dad gives you the dipstick to hold as he pours oil into the engine.

- You swat your brother with the dipstick.

- Your brother hits you back, and you get into a big fight.

- Sighing heavily, Dad makes a beeline for the liquor cabinet.


As you can see, this is a lot of work. So now I get my oil changed professionally by real men in greasy uniforms who are always telling me that I should replace my transmission fluid, knowing full well that I have NO CLUE whether or not I actually need to replace my transmission fluid. They also know that as a man, I donít want to admit to having the same level of automotive knowledge as a 3 year-old girl, so when the mechanic offers his suggestion, I stand there and act like I know what he is talking about:ďYep.Ē I say, nodding my head and lying, ďI figured she was about due.Ē


While the macho men changed my transmission fluid, I poured myself a cup of their complimentary coffee- coffee so old that itís age could only be identified o through carbon dating. Looking back on it,Iíd rather have drank the transmission fluid.


After they finished with my car, the mechanic handed me back my keys and testosterone. He then proceeded to spend about 3 hours reciting to me a checklist of everything he and his crew did to my car - a list that I am confident is longer than the list it took to actually build the car.


Maybe Iíll go back to changing my own oil. It does makes you feel good. You save money, you get under the hood and do some honest work, and you get the satisfaction of being a mature man who is responsibly taking care of business.


(Plus itís fun to spit on the fan belt.)