Ford F-150, The Adventure Of The Oil Change (Plus Learning Something Sneaky About A & A All Pro Repair)
Oh where do I begin with this adventure of a lifetime? Or at least of this weekend, testing all kinds of emotional levels I thought I had laid to rest long ago! I own a 2014 Ford F-150, with a 6.2L engine., Which I later find out may not be a very common combination. And this is not a 'how to' piece, but rather, possibly, a 'how not to' piece. But at least because I tried this, I learned a dubious bit of information about a local mechanic and other bits. You'll see my angry red text down the way.
This month my dashboard gauge started reminding me that I needed to change the oil, so this time around, I thought I would quit spending money on oil changes at A & A All Pro Repair in Los Banos, CA. I used to change my own oil all the time when I was younger, so what the heck. Right?
So I charged out to my local auto parts store and grabbed all the necessary supplies, that being seven quarts of oil, a Wix oil filter, a catch pan, and a few other assorted things. I was ready with my supplies so it was time to look things up to make sure I have all the right ideas and directions.
That's when things started to go sideways. Well, they probably started going sideways the moment I got this idea, but I didn't notice it yet.
It seems that despite the myriad of web searches I did, I came up with a bunch of non-Ford independent third-party sites showing me how to change my oil.
But no one was even coming close to showing me the correct location of my oil drain plug. Which had me worried. I didn't want to pull the wrong plug. Common sense told me there is only one drain plug down there, but I'd hate to discover that my expectations are off by a decade or so.
It also seems I bought a special F-150 because no matter how many searches I did for 2014 F-150 6.2L engine, everything kept coming up with F-250 results. Ug. I found one site that showed me a video of a plug that was in the same location as the plug I was eye-balling on my own truck. One site. That's it.
So I dove in under my truck and after some Herculean efforts, got the drain plug loosened and let the oil pour into the cheap catch pan I bought at O'Reilly.
Consumer Warning/After-thought: The cheapest oil catch pan they offered, that I bought from O'Reilly is just that, CHEAP! Neither cap tightened sufficiently on either end to keep the oil from leaking and dripping out of the container. WTF!
Anyway: Once I got the oil drained, and confirmed I had drained the right fluid by checking my oil dipstick, I went after my oil filter. And that is when the real fun began.
According to every instructional video I came across, there was an access panel under the oil filter that I could take off, reach up, and HAND LOOSEN the filter. In fact, the clerk in O'Reilly said I won't need an oil wrench filter, so I did not buy one. Idiot! You can decide who I was calling an idiot... myself or him.
There was no port under the filter. In fact I could only see and get to my oil filter from above the motor. But after tooling around, I found that if I removed my licence plate, the plate holding base, and flip up a vinyl (?) radiator deflector from behind the bumper, then I could see my filter, head on.
So I reached on in, grabbed and turned. Or, tried and turned. But it would not budge. After a few different attempts of trying to loosen the filter "by hand," or other fascinating leverage tricks I was coming up with (don't ask), I went off to Napa Auto Parts, and after looking up parts numbers, I bought the correct oil filter wrench.
But when I got back home, the wrench was way too big. How the hell could that be? What's going on in this weird world of mine? Again? Or still?
After a few desperate attempts at rectifying my issues I started calling around and happened upon Advanced Auto Repair and Service. The man came through in a pinch and suggested I fill up my crank with the new oil, then go somewhere and have them, with the right tools, pull my old filter off and put on the new one. They would then top off however much oil came out during the process.
I asked if they could do that and he said come on by. So I did. (There was much more to that conversation that led me to like this guy, but that was the terse version)
After getting there, we discovered that A & A All Pro Auto Repair had been using an oil filter that was much smaller than what was supposed to go on my engine. WTF people?
My guess is they went with the smaller filter so they could get to it, grab it and remove and replace it much more easily than if the proper filter were on there. I get that, but they never said a word about that while charging me the big bucks. In fact A & A would take my truck and within 30 minutes, have it out and ready. Without a word. They are well rated locally, but this lack of communication always made me somewhat unnerved, but heck, they were well rated. Right? And now to find this out?
So despite charging me a solid rate for my oil change, A & A All Pro was using a cheap, no-name (white), undersized oil filter on my 6.2L truck engine. Lesson learned... never go there again, because as far as I know, what other parts would they swap out with sub-standard to save themselves time and money?
Plus I have to wonder what, if any kind of short or long term damage was done using an undersized oil filter on my engine?
Any way, Advanced Auto Repair was so communicative and generous, that he took some time out of his day to help me out, pull and swap the oil filter, and even topped off my windshield wiper washer fluid for a very minimal charge. Because of his friendliness, they have swayed me to become a customer of theirs from now on and I have no issue dropping A & A.
Despite all tutorials saying it would only take 30 minutes to change my oil, I finally got done roughly four hours after I had started this task that tested my patience and emotional well being!
Yea, that was my adventure changing my oil. I can't wait to do this again!
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