Sunday, November 02, 2008
Ratt 'Reach For The Sky'
I did something last week that I haven’t done in at least a dozen years… I changed the oil in my truck. Seinfeld was cranking out new episodes and Buddy Ebsen was still alive the last time I changed the oil in my vehicle.
Technically… I didn’t do the hard work. But I did get my hands dirty and I dislike soiling hands.
Roxy (my truck) was overdue for an oil change and I thought I would save money by doing it myself. Times are tough, I’m unemployed, and money is a tighter than Neil Peart’s snare drum.
I don’t know why Fords have a tendency of really sucking onto an oil filter. I have never been able to twist off an old filter from a Ford’s engine.
I once had an Escort EXP and those filters sucked on so tight that I once had to drive a long screwdriver through the darn thing to twist it off. It was a messy affair that would make any murder scene look like Felix Unger’s kitchen.
You can hand-tighten a filter on a Ford, but that bastard will cling to the engine like Ted Kennedy holds onto a bottle when it comes time to change it.
I tried twisting that joker off Roxy’s engine and it wasn’t budging. My father decided that a “man” should do it. He crawled under, grunted a lot, shook the entire vehicle trying to twist the filter off, and got a busted knuckle for his efforts.
We couldn’t use the old screwdriver through the filter trick because of the tricky placement designed by the evil geniuses at Ford to keep mechanics in business. I came up with the idea of using a C-clamp, but there was no room to get that mofo in there. So we ended up going to a parts store to purchase some kind of filter-wrench.
I don’t like going to any auto parts store anymore. The last time I went to this particular place to purchase 2 quarts of motor oil; I stood in line for 20 minutes before sitting them on the counter, cutting loose an expletive, and walking out. I later picked up those 2 quarts at a convenience store in 2 minutes and 40 cents cheaper.
We tested the fit with a filter like mine before leaving. It was a perfect match. Purchasing the filter-wrench took only 13 minutes. There were only 2 guys working the counter and 6 customers. Three of us had what we needed and were ready to check out, but we had to wait our turn. Flies go through a full lifecycle when it comes to waiting your turn at an auto parts store.
I miss the old days when Western Auto was in business. There were employees working the floor to help if you needed it and when it was time to checkout… There were checkout lines. I would be in and out of Western Auto with oil and a filter in single digit minutes.
Those wonderful days are long gone and now we’re all prisoners to waiting until someone is freed up from a customer.
I wiggled back under my truck with the filter-wrench and the necessary tools to take care of business. Since I don’t know how most tools actually work, my father once again took over. He knows how sockets and extenders work. I was having problems and getting my hands even dirtier. I just let him take over because I know that deep down inside he feels that I’m just a damsel in distress when it comes to things mechanical.
He’s right and I’m okay with that. I gave it my best shot and felt cool giving in after 3 rounds. I poured in the new oil and replaced the cap so my man card wouldn’t be revoked.
The whole thing ended up costing me $19 and two hours. I ended up saving $8, but I lost an hour and fifteen minutes.
And to top it all off… The filter-wrench fit my old filter fine, fit one at the store just fine, but it doesn’t fit the new one that we put on. It looks as if I’ll be purchasing another filter-wrench in the near future.
So you can see why mechanical things tend to frustrate me to an Empire State Building’s height.