I’m not the most educated when it comes to four-wheeled vehicles – mind you, I’m not exactly at the top of the class with my limited knowledge on most other forms of transport either, but I do enjoy driving and can appreciate an attractive-looking car with an abundance of power when you touch the throttle. I’m clocking up the mileage in my truck which is an absolute joy to drive – so much so, that I’m fast approaching the 100k mark. There’s also a niggling dial indicating that the oil needs changing fairly imminently and whilst I’ve been quietly hoping it will rectify itself, the sane part of me has acknowledged that I can only put off a visit to a car mechanic for a certain amount of time. Given that we experience sub-zero temperatures for a substantial part of the year, getting the oil changed regularly is big business here – and a necessity. In the UK, I can’t ever remember doing it other than as part of my car’s recommended service regime.
As with most things in Canada, the concept of ‘drive-thru’ applies to the vast majority of service outlets. Avoiding them when we first arrived 18 months ago and preferring to park up and walk into a store – how times have quickly changed and I’m a frequent visitor who uses the ‘drive-thru’ for the bank, coffee, prescriptions – you name it. So, unable to avoid it any longer, I took my truck for an oil change at the local drive-thru ‘Jiffy Lube’ place.
It is literally a brilliant concept. No appointments, just turn up and drive up to the large doors – one of which opens for you if there’s a space in the bay, and you’re directed to the maintenance bay straight ahead. My usual tack when I’m completely out of my depth, is to sound confident and assured. So with that in mind, I assertively stated that I wanted an oil change and could they check there were no oil leaks. I usually find that in visiting a new outlet, the instant I open my mouth, there’s often a comment about my accent. True to form, the chap remarked on it and how I sounded just like ‘Adele’. He clearly wasn’t referring to my ability to hold a tune – which would be more akin to the sound of a goat in significant distress – and neither my bank balance. Unless of course, my husband is withholding disclosing the many millions he’s squirreled away in a secret bank account from me. Ironically, other than her being a fellow ‘Brit’, that’s where the similarity sadly ends – but I thanked him for the thought …
We’d got off to a good start, I was feeling confident and the chap clearly understood the task in hand. I even requested the specific type of oil required (based on instruction from husband), but made it sound as though I knew what I was talking about. Maybe, just maybe, it would be one of those instances where I manage to get something done on a vehicle without blatantly demonstrating my naivety and living up to the stereotypical female image.
Alas, this wasn’t to be. I was caught out just a mere 30 seconds later when the chap simply requested me to ‘lift the bonnet’. I hadn’t banked on that, and having no idea at all where the lever was located, had to admit my deficiency and the chap came to my rescue with a simple chuckle and ‘it’s just here, madam’. Blast. I’d been doing so well too.
The job didn’t take long and he checked many other things on the truck that I have absolutely no clue what they do – but assured me all was in order. That’s all I needed to know. The best bit about the whole experience, was that I didn’t even need to leave my vehicle and unbuckle my seatbelt. Canada is awesomely brilliant at minimising any effort required – what a superb country. All done in less than 30 minutes, I was good to go and with the roller-shutter doors in front of me opening, I drove off. It’s a concept that would go far in the UK.
Vehicle maintenance? I have absolutely no idea …. but I know a man who can …… 🙂