I spent a lot of this last weekend in the garage. It has been a continuation of last month where one of my wife’s b-day presents was for me to clean the garage. Well, I have been continuing that momentum and taking it even further. The whole garage isn’t clean, but 2/3 of it is and we can park her truck and my car in there. Additionally, I have been able to quickly locate any of the various tools used for the myriad of home/garage projects. And my discipline in returning them has stuck and the garage is as clean and usable today as it was when I began the project a month ago. For me, that is a record.

So yesterday, I took a break from continued work on the last section of garage, and instead focused on changing the oil in my wife’s truck and my car. Also, seizing the opportunity, I brought D out so he could help me wrench on the vehicles and learn to exercise some of his Y chromosome.

I went into the finer points of the engine. I explained the role of oil in the engine. We even did a little experiment where he rubbed his hands together quickly. This created friction which created heat he could feel. I then had him do the same thing after I poured some vegetable oil on his palms. He rubbed even quicker but could not produce friction enough to generate any heat. I then explained how metal rubbing against metal is not good and produces lots of friction and heat and that the oil we were putting into the engine prevents that and lubricates the many moving parts.

I then let him jack up my car (which we didn’t need to do with my wife’s truck). I explained how we had to safely find the jack points and then lift the car with the floor jack. I also asked him how such a little boy could lift up the heavy car all by himself. He pointed to the jack and I explained that the jack worked by using physics. We did a couple of experiments with the jack so he could see the difference in leverage, where he put his hands on the jack lever, and distance and frequency of the pumps.

With the car finally up, I told him that this was the most important part of the day — positioning the jack stands to that we could work under the vehicle safely. I told him that even though the car was up on the jack, that we had to use jack stands if we ever went underneath the car. It was ok to just use the jack alone if we were just changing a tire, but if we put any part of our body underneath the car, we had to use jack stands. That made sense to him and we should never have to find out the hard way.

I then showed him my vehicle maintenance log and pointed out all the past maintenance activities. I also highlighted how I had written down common, frequently used tool sizes. For example, my car that we were working on required a 9/16 socket for the oil drain bolt. We went over to the tool box and I had him select the correct socket and wrench. We proceeded back over to the car and got underneath while he positioned the oil pan and I loosened the drain bolt. He watched the oil come out and slowly decrease to a drip. He updated me on the progress as I retrieved the oil filter and positioned paper towels accordingly. With the last drip, drip, drip, I tightened the oil drain bolt, screwed off the filter, and put on the new one. I then gave him a quick lesson on the weights of oil – 5W-30, 15W-40, 30W, 20W-50 – all of which I had in stock. I told him that my car was special and required a special type of oil – synthetic Mobil 1 5W-30. He grabbed the funnel and we poured the golden juice into the motor. He commented that he could tell it was new oil because of the gold color and that used oil was jet black.

The job done, we celebrated with a pair of throw back Dr Peppers with real sugar that we poured in glass bottles to enjoy.

The heat got to him though (along with the donuts from church) and he retreated inside while I began work on my wife’s truck. However, soon enough he was back out with me and underneath her truck as we changed her oil.

It was a nice time with my son doing guy stuff and I am glad I could impart some garage knowledge down to him. Even though it was hot and humid, it was what makes a good garage memory.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net