Tuesday, March 11

Bad design

Have you ever tried to change the oil filter on a 2003 Toyota Highlander V-6 (arrow at left points to its evil blackness)? No? I thought so, or you too would be tossing stink bombs into the service bay at your Toyota dealer’s. I was looking to save some money and do this routine maintenance task I had done to cars since I was a pup. Apparently the last ape that did an oil and filter change forgot the part about putting the filter on hand tight. But still I wonder what kind of tool he/she/it used. I tried from underneath the car and found that a standard used-by-every-mechanic-in-the-world filter removal wrench won’t fit onto the filter in a way that gives you any room for your hand to reach past all the obstructions. The same problem approaching from the top of the engine where you get about 1/2 degree of movement once the tool is on. It would be a snap if I removed a motor mount and the front exhaust manifold and disconnected the exhaust pipe. Or I could go in even easier if I removed the grille and radiator.

I think I know how to recognize the mechanic that does the filter removal: He/she/it has a hand the size of a squirrel’s attached to an arm the size of a gorilla’s. Tomorrow it’s off to town to find out what special tool is needed for this task. I knew a mechanical engineer who told me that the number of special tools needed for any machine is directly proportional to the amount of bad design that was used in creating that machine.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Col says to tell you he always uses a screwdriver and a hammer to loosen it off. The you can use your fingertips to get it completely off.