Thing 9: A temporary failure

I tried to change my oil. It didn’t go as planned. I will try again. Later. So I’m calling it a temporary failure.

To start, I know that it doesn’t make a whole lot sense to change your own oil. Mechanics can do it cheaper and faster. But the point of this project wasn’t to save time or money. It was to learn. I didn’t like the feeling of paying some one to do something I had no clue about. I didn’t like feeling stupid when a mechanic tried to up sell me on oil or filters or tell me that my car needed something else done with it. So I just wanted to learn, or at least become less of a moron.

I visited my old friends at The Art of Manliness. I read my owner’s manual. I researched. I watched. I learned. I bought the proper weight oil and a new filter and an oil filter wrench just in case and even splurged the $3 to buy a container for the used oil. The man at O’Reilly’s looked at me like I was crazy. He might be right.


I spent a few minutes looking under my hood and under my car just to get familiar with everything. My husband, father, and father in law all seemed a little nervous when I told them what I wanted to do, but I was completely confident in the job. When my dad told me to make sure the old gasket comes off with the filter, I told him he was right and that I should lube the new gasket with fresh oil so it seals and comes off easier the next time. I knew what to do.

You know I did a lot of outside research when my owner’s manual doesn’t even have an “O” section.

So I grabbed my pink bandana and put the baby down and popped the hood and took the lid off the oil pan and crawled under my car with my 15mm socket wrench and began to loosen the oil pan plug with the container and rag in place.

Like my old friends Tire Lug Nuts, it was stuck.

Unlike my old friends Tire Lug Nuts, it is still stuck.

I worked that wrench for about an hour on three different days. I tried the PVC pipe trick. I tried open ended wrenches. I tried a mallet. I even tried this guy’s psychotic idea of using a jack to knock the nut loose. Knowing I could cause some pretty serious damage, I thought it was best to take a break from this project. Because the solution is either one of two things: either the nut is stripped, in which case I’ll take it to my body shop, play dumb again and make them think they stripped it, or I’m just not strong enough to loosen it.

The face of defeat. There isn’t a success face. Yet.

The second option is most likely and the absolute worst. After working so hard to rotate the tires and proving myself, I hate the idea that I physically cannot do something.

There’s a great Key & Peele sketch where a basketball player is so fired up after winning a game that he tells kids they “can actually fly!” The kids can’t fly and perhaps I can’t loosen a nut.

So moving forward, I’m choosing to look at this temporary failure like this: I learned. I learned what my car looks like under the hood and where most of its parts are. I learned the process for changing oil. I learned I spent $53 on supplies when I pay $28 to have someone else do it and that includes a car wash. I did something scary for the first time, which is technically a success. In the meantime, I’m going to keep hitting the weight room like a total bro, and in a couple of months, I’ll try again. Because that oil is still sitting in my garage and because my son won’t have a mama who gives up.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s