Labor Day Monday, I was pulling out of my driveway and ran over a branch. About 1" in diameter, a few feet long. There was a loud bump. The car died. Had electrical and dash ("Low Oil Pressure" in big red alarm), but very little brake power, no steering. I was only going about 20 mph, so I rolled into the curb softly.
Gas was puddling under the right rear wheel. The engine wouldn't start, it would turn over for a while and then stop.
I put it in neutral and pushed it back up my driveway, waited for a tow.
After a lot of gas had come out on the street, very little came out on the driveway. Gas was all over the undercarriage, most parts were wet with gas.
The fuel line had come off the fuel tank. Reaching up to the top of the tank, this was easy enough to feel. All the fuel from the line leaked all over the TOP of the tank and onto the road, but the tank itself wasn't leaking.
Obviously, this was a dangerous situation. Had the car been hotter, and the exhaust hotter than about 60 sec of operating time, I could have had a very bad day. Had I hit something going fast that would have been a very, very bad day for me and others potentially.
The dealership quickly fixed the problem by servicing the recall, first thing on Tuesday. The Explorer is fine now, free of charge, been driving it for 2 days. I cancelled my insurance claim for what I thought might have been an expensive fix of some sort.
I have never heard of a stick taking out an SUV like this, but it happened.
The 3.5 liter is the easiest oil change EVER. The filter is front and center!
I have done the majority of my own oil changes in my 45 years of car ownership (and over 40 cars) and no mechanic has done an oil change in my garage queen 1991 BMW for well over 15 years. That said, when a dealer charges $30-35 for an oil change that would cost me $25 in oil and filter, and especially while my vehicles are under warranty, I use the dealer. I have changed the oil in my wife's long-gone '98 Duratec Sable and it was not a bad job--assume the 3.5 is very similar.
Face time with the service personnel and service managers, over the years, have gotten me some VERY large repairs under warranty because they knew me. This includes a cyl head replacement on my '02 4.6 liter E150 van (had a ticking coming from the rear of the PI heads)...that would have cost over $4000 on my dime and the svc manager could have easily refused to do the job based on the smallness of the problem. There was a TSB re the bad cooling passage design of the early PI heads on the Romeo 4.6's.
And just 2 days ago, I picked up my Subaru from the dealer; it had a head gasket replacement under warranty a couple months ago and mysteriously started using oil afterward. My warranty was over, but the svc manager and general manager of the dealer, who know me, got Subaru to pay for new piston rings with me paying a $250 deductible on what would have been a $3000 job.
So the "cost" or "ease" of oil changes is pretty minimal compared to the benefits of using a dealer and getting to know their people and their getting to know you and being willing to advocate for you. Penny wise...
In addition, I am 62 and now have 8 screws and 3 rods in my spine (L2-L5 fusion) so although I still like to work on cars, tend to avoid it these days except on my BMW.
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