02 December 2006

DIY day

Last Saturday I finally got to perform some long overdue service on my car. I had been putting off an oil change until I had all of the equipment to do it myself. I picked up everything I needed from the new Advance Auto Parts store near my house, but I quickly found out that the bottle jack I purchased was too tall to fit underneath my car. Of course I could have used the car's jack, but it is a pain to use and looks flimsy as hell. So when Sears put a floor jack on sale, I bought it and returned the other one back to Advance.

There were two things I wanted to do to my car. One was to change the oil, the other was to replace the fuel filter. Both were supposed to be pretty easy do-it-yourself tasks. A couple of years ago I found a VW forum which I've used from time to time to troubleshoot and fix my Jetta. Plenty of other VW owners have posted instructions on how to perform all sorts of repairs and modifications to the cars.

The most difficult part about changing the oil ended up being the removal of the oil pan drain plug. I was hoping to loosen it with a crescent wrench, but it was in such a tight spot that my wrench wouldn't fit. I had to go buy a combination wrench to work it loose, but even then it was really difficult to apply enough torque to unseat the drain plug. The rest of the oil change went like clockwork.

Next I jacked up the right side of the car so I could access the fuel filter (just in front of the right rear tire). The most difficult part of this task was finding and pressing the little button on each fuel line clip so that they would pull off of the filter. Just like earlier, once I had removed the old part, finishing up was pretty simple and went quickly.

Now that I have all of the tools for changing oil at the house, I wonder if my friends are going to want me to work on their cars too. I'm sure that it won't take much to bribe me because I enjoy doing these sorts of things.

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