Saturday, March 04, 2006

Some info that may come in handy

Since I now have a shop I try to use it to my best advantage. For instance, I perform oil changes and other maintenance on our vehicles. Oh sure, when you factor in the cost of buying an oil wrench and a creeper etc I'm not going to see a return on my investment for well, a while. But there is a nice feeling of satisfaction from doing these things yourself.

At least until you see that you have about 6 gallons of used oil sitting in the corner. What to do? There is no way I'm dumping it down the drain, we have an aeration system and leech bed. This would efeectively destroy our septic system. And even if I were hooked into a city sewer system, it's evil. There are some who burn their used oil, but again, it probly not a very healthy thing. Our city recycles paint and oil etc once a year. And every year we learn about the program the day after its over. Great.

So the oil just kind of piles up. Luckily I learned our local mechanic, Zeke, will take it. It's collected by a company that properly disposes of it. But what if you don't have a local guy named Zeke? Well it turns out that Advance Auto Parts will take used oil AND batteries.

Is your check engine light on? My father in law was hit for $60 to turn it off. No repairs. Nothing broken. Advance Auto Parts will actually hook up a basic diagnostic computer and tell you what the code is and what it means for FREE. I don't know if they will turn it off or not, but you'll at least have a clue when you go to your mechanic. And when that $60 'diagnostic fee' shows up you can say "Hey, hold on there sparky, you want to charge me how much to just plug in a computer and push a button? I told you what the code was!" If you're lucky (and didn't go to a dealership) that charge should go away.

Of course, I learned of this service AFTER I bought my own little diagnostic computer. I can't help it. I'm now a tool whore. They range in price but you can get one for between $75 and $100. There are cheap ones that will read an fault code (which you can look up online) but they can't reset the check engine light. I've already used it three times to turn off check engine warnings that weren't serious on our cars.


Anonymous said...

Those service engine soon lights can be a real pain for eCheck. The light has to be no on when you bring the car in, but has to be working so that they can trigger it. I failed eCheck last year because my Service Engine light wasn't on and wouldn't come on. They, of course, refused to test my actual emissions. They failed me because my car's system couldn't do the work for them.

- Patrick

Steve said...

Indeed, the O2 sensor seems to be the main culpret in these cases. It's strange that auto makes can't seem to make an O2 sensor that lasts more that a few years. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Fortunately I have a "Zeke" at the end of my street that will take the oil and dispose of it but also reset my Check Engine light at E-Check time. Doesn't hurt that I've had them fix my car on occasion either.

Oh and Steve. You want further justification for getting out of the cube farms? Read the post at my "blog". And by blog I mean page I created to rant about my job.