Don’t you just love the smell of oil? Not gear oil – that stinks and you can’t get rid of the smell from your hands or clothes for days! I’m talking about engine oil. It smells good when it comes out of an engine, but smells even better when poured in fresh from a can.
I can’t be the only one that gets pleasure from changing engine oil. After all, changing the oil in your motor at given schedules (or before schedule, as we like to recommend here at CM) is the best thing you can do for longevity of any internal combustion engine.
On most vehicles, changing the lube is a Diy-friendly task and costs are pretty low if you’re servicing the vehicle yourself. While engine oil has risen in price over the years, you can get great deals if you shop around. Last year, I found a VW main agent selling five litres of Quantum engine oil for £19.99 – that’s far cheaper than the nearby motor factors.
A problem I have with changing the oil on some modern cars is getting them raised onto axle stands. My trolley jack usually won’t fit under the front splitter, so if I’m working in a single garage I have to precariously lift the offside behind the front wheel, raise it enough to get a house brick under the tyre, then move the jack to the front and try to raise it enough to get another house brick under the nearside front. Then I move the jack to a more central position to lift the vehicle high enough to position the supporting stands. How I wish I had the luxury of a garage pit like our contributor Rob Hawkins!
Working on the driveway might be easier. I’ve just bought a used set of adjustable metal ramps from a CM reader. Although they are old, they work a treat, but you have to be careful driving onto them. A few days ago, I had to lift my neighbour’s Hyundai Amica with skinny 13in tyres and it went onto the ramps with ease, but bigger size tyres might be problematic. I’ll buy some of those modern plastic ramps soon – they seem like the way forward. Do any of our readers use them?
Got a leak?
One annoyance for any motorist is an engine oil leak. Some are easy to spot, some not so. They can be a real pain to track down and I bet some are just left to drip, with the occasional top-up to keep things healthy.
I once had an engine oil leak on my VW Passat petrol. It was dripping onto a hot downpipe once every two minutes – not good when you’re parked on the M25 with a steaming hot exhaust! I thought I’d better get it fixed and concluded that the cam cover gasket must be leaking, so I ordered a £30 replacement. The job didn’t take long and the car was back running – and dripping oil every two minutes.
The next day, with the Passat in my garage, armed with hand-held lamps, it took a while to track the source, which turned out to a tiny split in the corner of the cam cover. Very peculiar. I applied some industrial sealant to the split in the cover and all was good.
My neighbour’s Amica also had an oil leak, only more serious than my Passat. Here too, I suspected the cam cover gasket was leaking in one corner, so ordered a replacement from Blue Print. The job was quite involved because the air filter housing has to come off the top of the engine to fit the gasket, but the job went well and it fitted a treat. Only it was still leaking oil afterwards.
I spent hours looking at it, only to come to the conclusion that the camshaft position sensor was leaking. It was only held on with a 10mm nut, so I tried replacing the oil seal – nope, still leaking. Perhaps the CPS had become porous? I ordered a Blue Print replacement, but when I went to fit it, I found the original CPS was hard-wired into the loom – no plug-and-play here. Not wanting to leave the lady’s Hyundai stuck in my garage if I cut into the wrong wire, I advised her to ask her local garage to check it out. They did a good job, wiring in the new sensor and adding some sealant to keep the wires in place.
Good job I love the smell of oil!