Monday, June 1, 2009

I am no Mechanic...

The disastrous events of last week serve as a testament to that. The object was simple; change the oil in my pickup. It's the most basic and common of mechanical tasks, performed every three months or 3,000 miles, as nearly every car owner knows. But I still managed to fail miserably.

This is the picture of my oil pan. The red dot on the left is my oil filter, and the red dot on the right marks the oil plug (notice how shiny and new it is...)
I started with a brand new oil filter (oil filter has to be replaced with every oil change) several quarts of oil, and what I thought was enough knowledge to get it done.

I was wrong.

I slid an old plastic sled underneath the pickup to catch the old, dirty oil, and unscrewed the used oil filter. The filter came off and the thick, dirty liquid came streaming out, collecting in the sled. The stream dwindled to a drip and then to a stop, but long before enough oil had collected in the sled to resemble the five quarts I'd put in a little over three months ago.

You'd think I would take pause upon noticing this. But like a kid who, upon discovering a french fry covered in grime and hair, shrugs and pops it into his mouth, I went ahead and screwed the new oil filter on. Little did I know that I had forgotten to pull off the oil plug (it wasn't as shiny and noticeable at the time, but more on that later).

I started pouring the new oil in. It came as a bit of a shock when, after pouring in two quarts, the oil level indicator indicated I was way above full.

I started the engine so the oil could become dispersed and give me a more accurate reading. I don't recall a shiver passing through me, but perhaps somewhere in the county, some seasoned mechanic cringed as the old, dirty oil poured into my brand new filter.

Upon looking underneath again, I spotted the oil drain plug, slapped myself in the forehead, stopped the engine, and unscrewed the oil plug. This time a deluge of the dirty stuff poured forth, nearly filling the sled. And I had to remove the new oil filter and drain that as well.

Problem solved, right? Wrong! When I went to put the oil plug back in, I put it in crooked and stripped the threads, ruining the bolt. That wasn't so frightening as the google search that revealed that I might have to replace the WHOLE OIL PAN!

Fortunately--and I think Ford deserves some praise for this--the threads on the pan remained unharmed. I got a new bolt and my dad screwed it in without a problem.

But the trouble wasn't over yet.

I slid the oil filter back on with surprising ease--too much ease. The rubber seal had fallen off without my permission which resulted in a tight, metal-to-metal grip and, although it would have been extremely resistant to bumps, rattles, and attempts by superman to pull it off, it also would have leaked oil all over the road. It took a special tool to remove the filter, but I did, in fact, finish the job with a working pickup and a shinier bolt to boot.

However, I wasn't prepared for the task of oil disposal. It might be hard to imagine, but a long, narrow sled filled with seven quarts of oil is kind of tricky to lift up high enough to dump into a bucket. It wobbles around a lot and...


I don't think there are any of you left to disagree with the assertion in the title of this post. But I'm very glad that I know someone who is a mechanic, and a great one at that. He doesn't work on cars. In fact cars hadn't yet been invented during his brief time on Earth. But I can attest to the fact that no one gives a better, more complete oil change than He does. Nothing can come close to the feeling of being emptied of every last drop of dirty oil and filled with newness itself--the service that He alone provides.

1 Corinthians 6:11- And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.


Rachel Danielle said...

*stifled giggles*. I'm sorry, but- pardon me- *turns away. laughter* you are-NOT a mechanic. But that's okay. I hardly know which end of a car is which. I love how you ended that post... is there a better oil change than the one that He can give?

Jare and Lib said...


A few years back, my parents were away (for a birthday or something) and us kids stayed at a friend’s house. The morning after we got there, we woke up to "All you kids are gonna learn how to change the oil!"
I was 12 at the time and I was like "Yay"
It was fun; we manly got the oil on the shop floor then in the jellyroll pan (plus some on ourselves).

Man I don't look forward to when I have to learn again how to do it =)

Great story, I love how you told it.


Hannah said...

*laughs* No, you are definitely not a mechanic...forgive me, but thanks for the story! :D


K.M. Weiland said...

This would be utterly hilarious - if it didn't sound exactly like the sort of thing I end up doing on a regular basis.

Gabrielle said...

I would laugh but I better not. I've never tried to do anything with a car and judging by the amount of times my big sisters called my dad for help with their cars, it's not easy. Dad is supposed to teach me how to change a tire, although I don't even have my learner's permit. I did drive once, though. It was fun.

Leah said...

Oh my! I must say that it is pretty funny. It actually sounds like something I would do. :) Thank you for that verse and the reminder at the end of the post! A very good way to describe it. :)

Lilz said...

Wow. For once I'm glad I don't have a car. =)

Adam said...

Man, you not a mechanic! Sorry, not being mean, thanks for the funny story!

Eruanna said...

I changes by blog address to .

J.R. Parker said...

Just from reading your reactions, I hope any potential employer, if I ever choose to become a mechanic, NEVER SEES THIS POST.

Eruanna: Got it. Thanks!

~Prism~ said...

Awesome, funny post. Ya live an' learn, I suppose.

And great analogy at the end. =D

God Bless,