My recent “do it yourself” oil change debacle brought me to a painful crossroads: Do I keep fiddling with this myself, or do I let a professional help me? I know there’s an entire industry out there devoted to changing the oil for me, but I see this act of shade-tree mechanics as a way to stay close to the simple life and ensure the job’s done right. Clearly, I’d failed on that last part, but even though I’d made a literal and figurative mess of things, the decision wasn’t crystal clear. Should I take it to a pro? Or should I keep trying to fix it myself? I’m a man. We’re slow learners in this department.
Here’s the story. The bank and I own a cool white truck. Ironically, the bank has yet to offer to help change the oil, and that’s really unfortunate as I could have used their help getting the stinking oil filter off this last time around. I tried and tried, but the filter was on really tight, and I couldn’t make it budge. And as I was working down there, I somehow punched a little hole in the filter. Eventually, it started leaking oil. And that’s when the advice began.
“You punched a hole in your oil filter? You’re leaking oil? Take it to a pro. You wouldn’t do your own heart surgery, would you?” That one made me think. I don’t know anything about heart surgery right now. So, of course I’d let someone else do the work. And that’s when I decided to call on a car professional. I drove to a repair shop here in town, expecting the owner to laugh at my mistake. But he didn’t. His team removed the leaking filter, changed the oil, and no one picked on me.
Even though the shop did a fantastic job, I’ll change my own oil for a few more years. I still have a carton of oil filters I can’t let go to waste. And I might read up on heart surgery techniques in my spare time. Doctors use special tools and years of training to work on a heart without punching a hole in it. Why, if I had that training and those tools, I bet I could perform heart surgery. Of course, blood stains are harder to wash out of your work clothes than oil stains, but who said it wouldn’t be a risky procedure?
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington. He can be reached at email@example.com.