Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Changed oil no spare change

1

Went to the SuperDuperQuick Oil Change shop the other day. My son likes to point at the signs as we drive by after I comment aloud how the car needs an oil change, “Look, it’s only $19.99.”

“Yes, but you can never just get an oil change.”

I finally surrendered to the 3,000 5,000 omigawdhowmanymiles demands of my car and pulled in.

I have no complaints about the “quick” part of the deal. If you can’t find an oil change place with one bay open and no waiting, you’re not really trying. Does it really matter if you switch oil change places every time?

A few of them will encourage you to just sit in the car while they work on it. However, most encourage you to go to the waiting room, like you’re waiting for a beloved friend undergoing heart surgery. Conveniently, they have the same magazine selection as a doctor’s office, too. On the television is some program nobody is really watching, but because there are more than two people in the room so everyone is afraid to change the channel. After all, one of them might be watching the program and they got there first.

If you upgrade your experience to a tire shop, the coffee will be hot. But if you insist on riding steerage in the quick trip oil change, hot coffee is hit and miss. At this particular shop they had a huge coffee brewer used for catering full of cold coffee. Next to it was one that was labeled “hot water” – presumably for tea. I didn’t bother. Next to that was a small coffee maker with coffee that had been obviously sitting there since this morning. Much of the water was evaporated leaving a brown sludge that looked like it came out of my car.

There were two other people in the waiting room. One was a woman about my age. The other was a woman still in her 20s.

While you are in the room, the mechanic/salesman will come in to the room and announce something is wrong with your vehicle.  To the older woman, the mechanic solemnly intoned, “Your air filter looks pretty bad. When was the last time you had it changed?”

Of course, none of us remember when we had the air filter changed. If we did, we would remember we had it changed the last time the oil got changed.

He then showed her the air filter. It’s dark, as if he poured the coffee over it. Is that what an air filter that needs to be changed looks like? Are you sure it’s not supposed to be darker? Couldn’t they just hose it off? I don’t buy a new lint trap everytime I run the clothes dryer. Why are they always pushing the air filter?

After getting her to agree to the air filter change, the mechanic/salesman told her more bad news. “At 60,000 miles the manufacturer suggests you get several belts and hoses changed. Would you like us to check to see if we have the parts to do this today?”

I’m waiting for the oil change guy to come into the waiting room to tell me, “We checked the manufacturer’s recommendations for your car and they recommend we put it out of it’s misery. Would you like to see the bullet before we load the gun?”

She declined the additional service, saying it’ll wait until her husband can look at it. The salesman/mechanic grimaced like she just told him to ignore the rapidly expanding mole on her skin. He left and returned with the clean air filter that is soon to make her car feel young again. It’s as white as a t-shirt in a laundry commercial. Our friendly s/m carefully cradled it before her like a sommelier before taking it back to put it in her car. I’m surprised he didn’t ask her if she wanted to smell the box.

Our friendly s/m returned again to see if the younger woman was interested in upgrading the class of oil being put in her car. It’s used to a fine vinaigrette, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. She declined, as it was her father’s car. She didn’t know anything about it. Dad’s more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, I’m sure.

By this time I had changed the channel and gotten comfortable. I even brought my own magazine.

When our friendly s/m returned for me, he told me, “There are no other manufacturer recommendations for you car.” He seemed genuinely surprised. Given the condition of my car, so was I.

I was free to go. All it cost me was $35. I bought the midrange oil change package with the air filter change instead of the bargain package. I never know when I might be back.

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