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Stranger Than Fiction Adventures in Diesel Oil Changes

Today I have to share a story because, well, some things happen that you just can’t make up.

I love my Jeep Liberty CRD. It’s a wolf hiding in sheep’s clothing. It can tow 5000 lbs, has 4-wheel drive, and I can run my homemade biodiesel in it if I want to. But I don’t like changing the oil. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again if I have to, but I’m happy to let someone else deal with the old oil. When I’ve changed the oil at home, no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to avoid getting the old oil on things. It is like black paint. The last time I changed it, it took me several days to get the stain of my hands.

The problem is that it’s hard to find a good shop to work on diesels. One time I took it to an oil change place. They told me sure they do diesels. Then about 500 miles later I started getting low oil pressure warnings. Turns out they had use regular oil even though I told them it had to have synthetic oil. The high-pressure diesel engine broke down the oil in no time. I won’t go back to that place again.

Another time I decided to try Walmart. I know – this couldn’t end well. It wasn’t that bad, after the cashier spent 30 minutes how to charge me. They will let you buy the oil and filter right there in the store, then do the change with the oil you just bought. Needless to say, I watched the whole process to make sure the tech used the oil I supplied. Still it took so long that I decided I needed to find a better place. And there is the fact that I don’t like setting foot inside Walmart.

Thankfully I don’t have to deal with this often, since the Liberty has a standard oil change interval between 6250-12500 miles. That’s another nice feature of diesels. But like it or not it was time to try again, and I didn’t feel like scrubbing my hands for 3 days.

This Really Happened


That brings me to the latest adventure. I found a nearby quick lube place that said they did diesels so I decided I would try it. I would buy their oil if they had it, but I had the oil and filter on hand so I took it with me.

I pulled up and a nice fella came out to greet me and ask what I needed. I asked him if they did diesel oil changes. He hesitated and asked me what type of oil it needed. I explained that I brought it with me in case they didn’t have it. I even had a brief conversation with him about how important the synthetic oil was because of the high-pressure diesel engine. He said sure they can do that. He said it was only $20 when you supply your own. I thought I had hit the jackpot – $20 and I don’t have to dispose of the oil or even come in contact with it for that matter. This was great.

And this was where it got interesting. Another guy came out and said he had to pull it into the maintenance bay. I walked inside to wait. As I was entering the waiting room, I heard him get out of the Jeep and tell one of the other guys, “Make a note the engine is making a lot of noise. It doesn’t sound good.” I thought to myself, “Duh – it’s a diesel.”

I laughed off the comment and went inside to the waiting room. A few minutes later, the first guy walked in with this confused look on his face. Now remember – this is the guy I had the discussion with earlier about the diesel engine. He looked at me and actually said:

“Who told you this was a diesel?”

At first I was stunned. Briefly I thought about mind-bending movies like Inception or The Matrix. Maybe it was all a dream. Maybe I never built a biodiesel processor. No it couldn’t be a dream.

Then I remembered this guy my Dad knew when I was young. He drove up in his big Buick boat, but when he shut it off it kept running. He explained to my Dad that he had accidentally put diesel in his gas car, so it wouldn’t stop running when he turned off the ignition. I remember thinking at the time – “this is bad.”

I’m not sure why I said what came next. It just popped into my head. I looked at him and said, “The guy who sold it to me said it was. I’ve always put diesel fuel in it and it runs great!”

Now the guy really gave me a funny look.

I couldn’t keep a straight face and said “I’m messing with you. Yes, I’m sure it’s a diesel.”

On the bright side, at least this guy wasn’t about to perform brain surgery on me.

And, by the way, don’t put diesel in you as car. It won’t run great.

The Beast – 2005 Jeep Liberty CRD

CRD = Common Rail Diesel

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