sub specie aeternitatis

How to Change Your Oil in Only 2 1/2 Tries

July 1, 2007

Skim through your Honda Metropolitan’s user manual. There is no need to gain comprehension from this reading, it is merely to appease your wife and make her think you know what you are about to do. Hell, it should be really easy, shouldn’t it? No filter to change. Just empty the old oil and pour the new stuff in.

Pick up a quart of 10w-30 oil from the store since your scooter only needs .6 quarts of oil. Or was it .7? No need to check the owner’s manual again. We can just pour it in until it seems like we have the right amount.

Prop the scooter up on its kickstand, grab your toolbox, the oil pan, funnel, and quart of oil. Bend down and look under the scooter to see a bolt sticking out from the bottom. Just assume this is the oil plug. Again, no need to check the manual again even though you think you might have seen something about the oil plug being on the side of the engine, not the bottom. You’ve changed the oil in your car before, right? The oil drains from the bottom of the car. What could be different about a tiny 49cc engine?

Pick up a wrench. A 12mm should be fine. Try to loosen the bolt. No good? How about a 13? Can’t find your 13? That’s okay, the 14 is right in front of you. But of course that one won’t fit either, so you’ll have to dig around in your toolbox some more to find the 13. When you find that, you’ll notice that it doesn’t quite fit either, but you should attempt to loosen the bolt anyways because looking around for english instead of metric tools would be too much work at this point. Continue to try until you have damaged the bolt somewhat. Now you can start looking for the english sizes. How about 1/2? You will notice how this won’t quite fit either, but, as with the metric wrench, you should attempt to loosen the bolt anyways because one of those damned wrenches has to work.

At this point you should be ready to give up and go tell your wife that you need to just take the cursed scooter to the Honda dealer to get him to change the oil because you can’t get the stupid oil plug off. Besides, it looks like some sort of special bolt to which you don’t have the tool (and, you assure yourself, can’t be found at Sears or Wal-Mart).

Just when you are about ready to pack everything up, you can now begin listening to that little voice in the back of your head that has been telling you that the owner’s manual said that the oil plug is on the side, not the bottom of the engine. You may feel free to stall for time a little bit longer, but eventually you will have to cave in a open the manual to see where the oil plug is located.

Once you realize you have been tugging away at the wrong plug for the last 15 minutes, you may now proceed to actually changing the oil. Having now located the real oil plug located on the left side of the motor, grab a 17mm socket and remove the bolt. As the kick stand will now be in the way, you will have to angle the funnel to try to catch the oil that will come pouring out of the now vacant oil plug hole. Cursing may be appropriate at this time as used, dirty, black oil will be pouring all over your hands, in the oil pan, and also somewhat outside of the pan. After you drop the oil plug into the funnel and the plug, well, plugs up the funnel so that large quantities of toxic sludge begin to pour onto the concrete, you will first need to curse your bad luck before quickly dumping the plug into the oil pan to get the oil to flow exclusively into the oil pan and not onto the ground.

Since you’ve dropped the oil plug into the oil pan, you’ll need to plunge your hand into the container of black ooze to retrieve it. Once you have retrieved the oil plug, you will finally notice that you forgot to get a rag from the trunk of your car and that you have nothing to wipe your sludge covered hands on. Make sure you stand perfectly still so that your frustration level may increase twofold before grabbing your keys to get the rag out of the trunk of your car. Once you have successfully smeared the dirty oil on your keys and the paint of your car, you can wipe of your hands, your keys, and your car and then get back to servicing your lovely scooter.After you put the oil plug back in place, you can finally fill your scooter back up with clean oil. Since you might not want to make things any worse, you should look in the owner’s manual again and see that you scooter needs 0.6 quarts of oil. Pour it in.

Thinking that you are almost finished, you need to let the engine idle a little bit and then check the oil level. While the engine idles, this is a perfect time to pour the used oil in to an old empty oil bottle. Once you get to the bottom of the oil pan, however, you will now notice a tiny little silver looking washer. Hold the washer in your hand and stand perfectly still for another 2 minutes, 14 seconds.  This will allow your annoyance at the scooter and yourself continue to rise in sharp spikes.  Since this is the washer that you were supposed to put on before you put the oil plug back in, you will no doubt be overjoyed with the prospect of draining part of the oil again in order to put the washer back on.

Grabbing the oil pan, wrench, and funnel once again, kneel down beside the scooter (being careful, of course, not to kneel in the pile of blackened oil you so generously poured over the concrete) . Loosen the bolt and, as quickly and clumsily as you can, attempt to put the washer back on the bolt. Once you have fumbled around with the washer long enough so that at least half of your brand new oil has drained into your filthy oil pan, you may put the plug back into its spot.

Wipe your hands on your now filthy rag, pour the now gunk covered unused oil into the old oil container, and grab your funnel and new oil (again). Since your frustration level will now at this point be growing ever higher, it is crucial that you not bother to measure the amount of oil you are pouring into the engine. This way, when you idle the engine for the second time and check the oil level, you can pump up your frustration level yet another notch once you realize that you have poured way, way too much oil in the crankcase.

Once the vein in your temple has burst, it is time to grab your trusty oil pan, wrench, and funnel yet again to drain yet more new oil from the engine. Since this is the third time you have removed the oil plug, you should be getting the knack of it and, for once, you should be able to accomplish this task fairly quickly.

This time you will need to measure the amount of oil you put in the engine. Seriously, this quick 10 minute job has now taken you almost an hour to finish, so maybe being a little careful at this point wouldn’t hurt. Once you check the oil level and see that it is finally where it should be, you can pack up all your tools, put away the used oil, and go inside to wash your hands. You may have shaved a good 3 1/2 weeks from your life and made a fool of yourself, but at least you did it yourself.