Monday, October 22

So Much for Self-Sufficiency

It is that time of year again.  At least for Otto.  He hit the 16000 km milestone (happy birthday, Otto!) about 800 kms ago.  For his birthday Otto always demands new oil and sometimes to change his shoes/wheels.  When physics_dude offered* to show me how to change said oil and said wheels I decided that it was a life skill that I should acquire.  Fast forward to me standing in the automobile oil aisle of Canadian Tire with my Mazda3 manual in hand** perusing the surprising number of types.  Apparently my car is made especially to take the one kind of oil that is the most expensive and one that only two companies offer (and only one in the large-size format).  Add that to the cost of a new filter and the hassle of tracking my own oil changes by keeping receipts for insurance purposes and it wasn't long before I gave in and decided to let the Mazda dealership do it since the cost will be about equal.

Oh well, that still leaves the summer-winter tire swap, right?  Sort of.  After wrangling Otto into a tight spot physics_dude very patiently talked me through the steps of taking out my jack and various tire-related tools, jacking up one corner of the car and removing the nuts.  Thankfully there was some extra power available because whoever screwed those nuts on last time was NOT a femininst.  They were trying to make damn sure I wouldn't be changing my own tires.  And, yes, once tightened appropriately I could wrestle the nuts off myself.  After many instances of success and self-congratulations we went to pull the wheel off area and it would.not.budge.  Even with kicking.  Whatever dastardly forces were sealing the wheel would not let go and we gave up, defeated.  You win this one, car dealerships.  $130 later my oil and wheels have both (all?) been changed.

Seriously, though.  What would have happened if I had been on the side of the road with a flat?  I would have had to pay $150 for someone to come and fix me up because it wasn't do-it-yourself friendly.  When I left the dealership with my keys this morning I also left behind a few instructions including "easy on the torque".  When spring hits I will be changing my own wheels and the dealership will be getting a piece of my mind if not.

Have you successfully managed to change your own wheels?  Did you hit similar roadblocks and what did you do about them?

*I'm remembering it as he offered.

**A manual that, it appears, was subsequently left behind somewhere in Canadian Tire.  How do I DO that?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just a little tip about the oil and wheels.

First the oil: If you open up your hood and look at the oil cap (the little black plastic cap with an oil can on it) It will have a special little number telling you the kind of oil your car takes. The manual works too but I find the the oil cap is just faster.

Also, check with your dealer to make sure that the warranty isn't affected by changing your oil by yourself.

The wheels: Make sure to loosen the nuts while the car is still on the ground. Then when you try to remove the nuts with the jack under the car the should come off more easily. As for removing the nuts and the tire not coming loose... I'm not really sure why that happened. I've never had that trouble.

The Dave
(Yes that's right! You've been deemed awesome enough for me to read your blog!)