Sunday, June 30, 2013

Car Care

I was feeling all proud of myself (the male ego is such a fragile thing) the other day because I took matters into my own hands, only to screw things up and have to consult with the Amazing PR Man, but more on this later.

We were past due for an oil change, for which I try my best to keep a decent record of for warranty purposes. It’s complicated because with Honda Fits, they use synthetic oil, and the changes are much farther apart. I’m used to every 3000 miles, but now they’re saying you can go 7000 miles. Our mechanic says 5000 miles, and I’ve been told by people in the know that you can go as much as 10,000 miles with synthetic. I’ll stick with every 3000-5000.

Now with all the craziness in our lives, I sort of lost track of the due date, and next thing I know, we’re a little overdue for an oil change. I arranged for an oil change, tire rotation, and tire repair (slow leak), but our mechanic couldn’t see us for another week. I was bummed, and wanted to get the oil changed ASAP, so I called another mechanic and they could see me in a couple of days. Then I felt guilty because I really like our mechanic, even though the other guys are fairly trustworthy. I came up with a compromise by being a real man and taking matters into my own hands. I decided to change the oil myself, thus allowing me to do it ASAP, and then have our mechanic do the tire work. Everyone wins, right?

I will say this, changing the oil on the Fit is easy, much more so than the Mazda. I’ve changed the oil several times in the past, I just prefer for our mechanic to do it because he keeps an official record. They designed the Fit for easy access to the drain plug and filter. When I did the Mazda, I had to jack up one end, drain the oil, then jack up the other end to get to the filter, which was hard to access. With the Fit, I can just jack up one end, and get under there and to go work. Plus, the drain plug is situated to drain properly when one side is lifted. Beautiful.

Anyway, I was feeling all good about myself, and several days passed when A commented on smelling gas. I could smell it, too. It wasn’t gas, but smelled like burning oil. I opened the hood and saw that I had forgotten to put the darn cap back on the engine, allowing for some oil to splatter out and burn. It has been incredibly rainy, as well, and suddenly I had this huge anxiety that water had gotten into the engine and ruined our car. I was so bummed, and my anxiety kicked into overdrive. My first impulse was to drain the oil, replace the filter, and put fresh oil in immediately.

Of course, not before consulting with a person who knows everything there is to know about anything and everything, the Amazing PR Man. He set my mind at ease by telling me it would be fine, I didn’t need to change the oil and that I was not the first person to forget to put the cap back on. Any water that gets in will burn off when the engine gets hot, so I should just take it out for a spin. He also mentioned water forms all the time as a result of heating and cooling of the block.

Any normal person would have listened to the expert (and believe me, when it comes to engines (airplanes, cars, space shuttles), nobody can touch the Amazing PR Man), but being the neurotic anal retentive person that I am, of course I wasn’t going to listen. It’s better to regret what you have done than what you haven’t done, right? I went right out and changed the oil (sorry Amazing PR Man). I figure $25 of neurotic effort was worth the peace of mind when it involves your car’s engine.

Besides, as I mentioned, changing the oil on the Fit is a breeze, especially when it’s the second time in a week. This time around, I remembered to put the cap back on, and I feel this enormous weight lifted off my shoulders. You just can’t put a price on that. 

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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