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Why I avoid oil changes

After I dropped off the last $300 Kent State will ever squeeze from me at the Bursar’s Office this morning, I decided I’d stop at Starbucks and then grab lunch before going back to the newsroom. As I was leaving Starbucks, I happened to notice the oil change sign, and it reminded me that I needed to get the oil changed in my car. Needed is actually an understatement. I absolutely had to.

My father actually yelled at me — my parents have never yelled at me — last weekend when he took my car for a few hours to get new tags for my license plates and get it e-checked. He noticed the sticker I’ve been avoiding eye contact with all semester. The sticker that reminded me I should have taken my car in about 2,200 miles ago.

It’s not that I’m a horrible car owner. Well I’m not the most responsible one, as anyone who knows about the window that wouldn’t roll up can attest. I kind of let it chill for a month before I had time to take it in for repair only to have the shop tell my mother, who told my dad, who called and laughed at me, that it wasn’t working because the window lock was on. (I still contend that when they fixed the issue with my gear shift they bumped something that fixed the window. There is no way it was the window lock. I tried that and everything else just about every day I got in my car.) I just don’t have time to worry about things that don’t actually prevent me from getting from point A to point B. So, I try to ignore them as long as possible, which is why I took my car to get an oil change today.

I pulled into the oil change place and popped my hood. About five minutes later, I noticed the one guy step back and say, “What the heck is that?” Now, you know it’s a bad sign when the man working on your car deems it necessary to call “hey look at this” to two other people. I gulped.

Apparently, as I learned today, your coolant is supposed to be neon green. He held up a container with some of mine and said, “Your coolant is brown, and it smells bad.” I just looked at him and asked how much.

Add an extra $80 to the oil change and factor in the Starbucks and the Bursar’s office, and I easily spent between $400 and $500 dollars today. Gulp. Considering that’s half a month of the editor’s salary at the Stater, I’m pretty much screwed.

Still, I guess it’s better than the last time I got my oil changed. That was the day they told me my back struts were broken. I still don’t know exactly what struts are or how they break, but I do know that they cost about $500 to replace, even when your grandpa hooks you up with one of his friends. In fact, I’ve only recently finished paying my grandparents back for that one.

Sometimes not knowing is better. It’s easier to ignore, which is exactly why I avoid getting my oil changed.

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