Changing my oil with a fluid extractor pump
I never let anyone do my oil changes. In fact, if I can figure out how to do something on my own, I’ll take the time to read up on it, get some advice, and then do it myself. The reason? It’s hard to find someone you can trust to work on your car. And friends, I’ve proven myself right.
So in all my recent commotion I came across a coupon for a free oil change at Meineke and figured, why not? They’re a good-sized chain, and I should be able to trust them with something as minor as an oil change, right? Wrong. Come time to do my next oil change, I can’t get the drain plug out because the last guy to put it back in overtorqued it. And I mean, he overtorqued it good - that thing isn’t budging, and if I got it out, it probably wouldn’t go back in again. Eventually, I’ll probably end up trying to fix it, whether that means putting in a bigger plug or replacing the oil pan altogether, but for now I don’t have the tools or the time.
As a result, this past weekend I bought a hand pump to get the oil out of my dipstick hole. I didn’t want to splurge, so I went to Autozone and got a cheap one for $14.99. It looks like this one below.
I assembled the thing and put the intake hose into my dipstick hole, and the output hose in an oil draining pan. Then started pumping. First mistake: I actually set the hose on top of the draining pan, so when the first bit of oil came from out of my engine, it spurted all over the place. I ended up lightly stepping on the end of the hose to keep it in place.
Almost immediately, I ran into a problem: the bigger intake hose kept collapsing, not allowing anything to enter the pump. This kept me pumping for over half an hour trying to get the oil out of my engine. This was enough to drive anyone insane. Luckily, the pump came with another hose for pumping air that is much thicker and doesn’t collapse. When I pulled off the cheap orange hose and put that stronger hose on the intake, the oil came out a lot easier, though it still took a bit more time. Needless to say, when it comes time to do my oil change again, you can bet all the money you’ve got that I’m not using that cheap old pump again to get the job done.
This is the alternative I’m looking at for next time, though it’s over $50 before shipping costs. According to this guy, the hose on this one doesn’t collapse like mine did, which is an absolute must if it’s going to work out. Although I probably could get it done with that other hose on my cheap pump, I’d prefer having a semi-transparent tank so I can see how much oil I’ve taken out much easier.
Moral of the story? One, don’t be lazy and do your own oil changes. Two, you definitely get what you pay for, so get the better tool if you don’t want to end up doing extra work (or spending the money in the end, anyway).