Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Oil Change

I've never taken my vehicle for an oil change.

It's just that, oil is so icky.
And it just doesn't sound like fun.
But, apparently, it has to be done.
This I have learned the hard way.

When my engine seized up a couple of years ago with a final shudder and spasm, I brought it into the shop, thinking it was a simple fix, maybe the clutch or something, which was probably a long shot, seeing as my vehicle is an automatic.
The following day, I got the news that it was the engine.
The engine!
I couldn't believe it.
"Well, it's old, I guess," I told the guy with a shrug.
"Well, still. It only has 60,000 kilometers on it. Usually these types of vehicles can last, easily, over 200K," he scratched his chin. "When was the last time it had an oil change?"
"Now there's a good question!" I said.
He just looked at me, his mouth agape.
"Well, it's hard to say for sure. I know once the guy at the service station dumped a bunch oil in there, said it was getting dangerously low, or something like that. Can't really remember. I think that was a long time ago, though," I said, trying to recall.

So anyways.
We won't dwell on that.
Fact is, vehicles are, apparently, supposed to have oil changes like every few months or something.
So today I dutifully brought my vehicle to the oil change shop, for the first time in ten or so years of car ownership.
Easy peasy, I thought as I rolled my car up to the bay.
I wondered for a moment what, exactly, the sign meant when it said "Open Pit. Please stay in your vehicle."
"That's very odd," I pondered out loud to the kids.
And then with a whoosh the door opened, and I could see what was behind Door Number One- which was- oddly- an actual pit.
Like, literally, a massive whole in the floor.
And there was the guy, waving me forward, as if I was supposed to drive on in.

I clammed up.
I would have even turned around and retreated, but for the line up of cars behind me.
Immediately, I envisioned myself getting snared up in the pit, having to get the jaws of life to pry me out, being caught in the meantime in some giant pit of oil and tar and engine grease shit.
Tentatively, I pulled forward.
Both of my side mirrors are smashed, you should know, from pulling in and out of the garage.
The garage is simply too narrow, in my mind.
But even still, I felt very aware of that fact.

Anyways, I made it through and did not get snared up in the pit.
My anxiety was briefly assuaged.
But, then the guy pulled out the dipstick with a frown.  I knew it was a bad sign when he ambled over and showed it to the other guy in the bay, this guy with huge, tattood forearms.
I wasn't sure, but I think they might have been prison tats.
He walked over, looked.
"How long since your last oil change?" he asked me.
Why does everyone ask me that?
"I think it was... about... a year ago? Or so?"
They shook their heads. "We're ginnahafta flush the engine out, ma'am," they said, chewing on something, gum, maybe, snuff. Dunno. Either way, I was kind of scared of them.

"Oh, yeah, well, sure, if that's, like, what it needs."
They dumped a bunch of stuff in it and then told me to start the car up and leave it running for seven minutes.
I looked around.
Here I was in a self sealing garage. The doors had closed automatically after I pulled in.
It's not that I don't want my engine flushed, whatever the fuck that is, I just kind of don't really want to die.
Although, from what I know of it, carbon monoxide poisoning isn't a bad way to go.

But I survived!
I feel like such a responsible person now.
Everyone will know me as "the girl who maintains her vehicle really awesomely."
Except for the Dora snacks that are sort of liquified and then like bonded to the dash, and all that stuff.
I mean, at least, engine wise.

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