Local Toyota dealer often has “buy one, get one free” specials on oil and filter changes, so that’s where I’ve been taking my car for years.
I don’t drive much, about 3K miles per year, with three quarters of that in the city, so I get the oil changed only about once a year. (Please lower your guns. I know about not using miles to determine when to change the oil on cars that don’t get driven much.) Whenever I take it (2011 Venza, V6, FWD, 90K miles) in for the oil change, I’ll first check the dipstick and find the oil looks clean, not at all dark, and at the full mark. (Thanks, Toyota, for a great engine.)
When I get my car back, I check the oil the next morning, with a cold engine, just like the day before. It looks like the oil hasn’t been changed. Looks clean, not at all dark, and at the full mark.
It got to where I was wondering if the kid doing the oil changes was actually out back smoking weed for a half hour while my car was on the lift, and pencil whipping the work order. The oil change area doesn’t have customer seating to let us see what’s going on.
But how to prove it? If my car used a disposable oil filter, I’d scratch or mark it some way, and then check back at home if the same filter was still on. But 1) at my age (73) jacking up the car and crawling underneath is not as much fun as it used to be, and 2) my car’s oil filter uses a permanent housing, and only the inside changes. So marking the housing wouldn’t tell me anything.
Here’s what I’m planning to do my next oil change: in the morning, car in the garage, not yet started, I pull the dipstick, then let a drop or two of oil fall onto a white paper towel.
The next morning, the oil changed the day before, I again pull the dipstick, again let a drop or two of oil fall on the same white paper towel, a few inches from the drop already on it.
The third morning, after the second drop has had a day to dry, the paper towel should, I’m thinking, show a difference between the two drops. The first drip (3000 miles of oil use) should be darker than the second drip (3 miles of oil use).
- Will this work?
- Is there an easier way to confirm the oil was changed?
- Am I in need of medication or another hobby?
Merry Christmas, everyone.