Never change the oil in Michael Bay's car

[via Qt3]


  1. “Change the oil in Michael Bay’s car”?  Is that what you kids are calling it these days?

  2. Interesting: when I read this article in my RSS feeds at Google Reader, the video was blanked out with a notice: “This video contains content from UMG. It is restricted from playback on certain sites.”  And it had a “Watch on YouTube” link.

    Rah rah, UMG. Way to treat your potential customers.

  3. That happened to me once with my old ’68 F250.  Of course, with a mechanical fuel pump and a fairly small leak it wasn’t nearly so spectacular.  I actually blew it out like a birthday candle.

  4. I didn’t know eating potato chips and running away at the first sign of danger was part of the safety procedure for an oil change.

    PS: This is totally the mechanic’s fault and I hope the guy sues them. The car was in their care when it caught fire. It’s the same deal if the place burned down with the car inside – the mechanic would be obliged to replace like for like.

    1. I imagine the change was done, and then you start the car to cycle the oil, make sure it’s not leaking, etc.

      So car guys and gals – what caused the light show?

      1. My guess is going to be on a faulty fuel injector perhaps?  System is just dumping excess fuel into the cylinder, go to start it, compression, spark, BOOM.  Almost like a NOS leak.

        I don’t know if it blew the head off, or just the plastic cover on top of the engine, but something goes flying off. 

        -Even if he filled the crankcase with gasoline I’m not sure it would have exploded like that.

    2.  I agree with Mister44.  I assume he was done with the oil change, and started the car to fill the filter, pressurize the system, and check for leaks.

      I typically take my car for a trip around the block when I’m done just to make sure everything is okay.

      1. Why is everyone assuming this was actually an oil change?  Are people also assuming this really Micheal Bay’s car?

        1. Why is everyone assuming this was actually an oil change?

          If you click the link to the original post on QT3, the poster relates a bit more detail: it was his coworker’s car, and they had indeed just completed a routine oil change.

    3.  So I can drive a junker that leaks gas into an oil change place and if something bad happens I can sue them just because it was on their property?  Sweet!

  5. Michael Bay…psht.

    I can see the whole front end of the car, and two workers.  Obviously if this was Mr. Bay’s car we only see the plastic engine cover, followed by a tight spin around shot as fire engulfed the camera with a series of quick cuts ending in a slow motion scene.

    If it had been JJ Abram’s car there would have been gratuitous use of lens flare.

    1. If it had been Michael Bay’s car, wouldn’t it spontaneously have turned into a giant robot when he turned the ignition key, and then smashed its way out through the wall?

      Probably pausing just long enough to snatch the bag of potato chips from the guy’s hand for the comic effect.

    1.  I’m wondering if that’s not part of a night sensor system.  My Toyota will do something similar when it gets dark/dim enough.  Perhaps the haze from the extinguisher caused it to trip?  If not perhaps the fire shooting out of the engine just fried a couple of things…

      1. I don’t think so — if you watch carefully, the headlights come on after the guy gets in to the car, then they go off just before the fire starts, and then come back on once it’s out.

        I don’t have sound where I’m watching this, so I don’t know if the headlights going off coincide with the guy cranking the engine, if that’s the case, then it might just be a concidence — cranking causes an electrical drain, the lights go off, something unrelated but stressed by cranking goes wrong, fire starts, and it’s all at the same time but unrelated.

    2. That was really creepy; I thought it was about to transform. 
      But really, it was the haze from the extinguisher, my car does that. I’m just usually on the other end when it happens and don’t see it. 

  6. If this was Michael Bay, the oil canister would have ruptured, then the engine would have melted when they tried to pour the oil in.  Then the oil would have caught fire, causing the car to catch fire, causing an earthquake.

    Then the car would have been swallowed by a volcanic abyss as the mechanic rides the engine block into the fires of Perdition followed by a series of rapid-fire flashbacks of weddings, exploding planets, Steve Buscemi smirking, balsa-wood aircraft, hot chicks caressing themselves with animal crackers, golden retrievers, seagulls, lemonade pitchers and helicopters flying into the sunset.

    Then scenes of silhouetted midwestern town populations staring at the sky in front of a black and white mural of something 50s-ish, followed by a single tear from Bruce Willis followed by a fusion explosion that vaporizes everything out to Saturn.

  7. Something definitely went kablooie in that intake system. That implies a pool of gasoline sitting around, waiting to go kablooie.

    Seeing as the automobile in question is a vintage Chevy Impala, I wouldn’t be so quick to blame it on the mechanics.

    1.  “old” and “vintage” aren’t interchangable. That car is, what a 90’s model? does Chevy have any cars from that era worth calling “vintage”?

      1. Hell, if it were a 90’s Impala it actually would be vintage compared to this one.  The ’94-’96 Impala SS was pretty cool for its time.  Rear wheel drive, LT-1 V8 engine, they’ve become collector’s items.

        The car in this video is a front-wheel drive V6 from 2002.  About as cool as the Chevy Lumina it replaced.

  8. I am an ASE master tech. I have seen plenty of cars like that, (but none of them exploding.) Under the plastic cover is a plastic intake manifold. There’s a fuel rail that runs along the outside of that manifold, in a rough U-shape. The spark plug wires, and (working from memory here,) a hard fuel line does cross over top of that manifold, but they do so toward the passenger side.  That explosion was pretty much dead center, and most likely originated within the manifold. I am putting the origin of the explosion inside the manifold because the only thing under the cover at that location is the manifold. Also, that explosion had some force. A gasoline explosion under the cover has too many places to dissipate, (think: Whuff) but a manifold could contain an explosion long enough to build up some more pressure, (think: BOOM). Being that engine oil is very hard to light, the only thing in there that could do that kind of damage is either gasoline or carb cleaner (or starter fluid). Now, maybe those techs didn’t just do an oil change. Maybe they did a throttle body cleaning, and in the process, allowed some vapor from the cleaning solution (think volatile petroleum distillates) to settle in the manifold. Maybe an intake valve doesn’t seal completely, and allows fire from the combustion chamber to flash back into the intake. Maybe there was a static spark. Plastic does not conduct electricity particularly well, and so perhaps a charge built up on the surface of the manifold, and needed someone to crank the engine to finally push it to jump whatever gap to the metal engine block. What is interesting to me is that the explosion happens, and the flame continually jets, tapering off a little just as the tech shows up with a fire extinguisher. That amount of time is about how long it usually takes excess pressure to bleed out of the fuel system. (from my observations of venting off fuel systems in similar cars, SANS fire, thank you very much). So perhaps there was already a leaky injector, or perhaps the explosion damaged the injector tip, allowing pressurized gasoline to squirt into the fire. Hope this helps clear up the mystery. It’s all just molten plastic now. Not to worry. GM has been posting record sales. This is of course the company counting every car that leaves the factory as a “sale,” but the cars have been piling up at dealerships, so there’s plenty of sparkly new POS impalas that the dealers are just itching to get rid of.  Enjoy!

    1. First time I saw a plastic intake manifold, I pretty much saw the scene in this video play out in my head, except from a backfire. Just because you *can* make something out of plastic doesn’t mean you *should*…

      Plus, when that plastic starts to get brittle in 15-20 years, the engine will become worthless from all the vacuum leaks, and there’ll be no way to find replacements for most cars…

    2. Maybe a response? 

      I’m not a mechanic, but I heard one of the reasons fuel needs some of its additives is due to corrosion, i.e. plastic, rubber, gaskets, certain metals too, like an aluminum head married to an  iron block, which expands differently. 

      Question: Is it true that if all engine parts were made of metal/iron, almost any kind a fuel could be burned? I’ve heard there’s even some kits out there.

  9. I thought the car was going to transform into a robot who was then going to be indignant about the procedure being performed on its intimate bits.

    If “Michael Bay’s Car” were actually in the title, the video I just described would appear. Within a week. Tops.

  10. Maybe it’s too early in the morning for me, but what the fuck does this have to do with Michael Bay?  I, like many others, was expecting transformers.  I would be just as likely to click on this with – “oil change/car explosion” as the title.  Now I’m just annoyed.

  11. It happened in our garage. The fire extinguisher was in the kitchen, one of those little dry chemical things on a wall bracket with the metal band and buckle holding it. Mom ripped the mount right out of the wall.

    FWIW I know two families whose houses burned down. Both times it was teenagers trying to deep fry on the stove, probably with an omlette pan. 

  12. Was flipping burgers in high school when a guy comes running back into the kitchen. “CAN I HAVE PITCHER OF WATER?”  Um, sure, why?  “MY CAR IS ON FIRE!!”.  I looked out through the front and sure enough…

  13. This would not have been caused by oil pressure in normal circumstances.  Too violently explosive, and normally the PCV system and other perforations into the crankcase would have released an overpressure before blowing out like this.  Definitely gasoline.  My guess is that either the connection between the fuel rail and an injector failed and leaked, or an injector itself popped.

    Remember, blow-by is very common, when the rings get old and can’t hold pressure. That means hot gases and even flame pass the piston and get into the crankcase, and the oil doesn’t catch fire in those circumstances.

  14. Holy crap, was that the fuel pump?  I had that replaced on my Impala because it started spraying gas all over the engine.

    I’m glad my car did not combust.

    1. Yes indeedy… you were lucky.  The EFI fuel pump operates at over 40 psi in those Impalas whenever the key is on.  When the fire broke out on my old truck, a leaky fuel line was gently spritzing gasoline onto an oil pressure sensor’s wire terminal, and eventually a spark ignited, but the volume of gas was so small and the fuel pressure so low that the fire was fortunately minimal.  

      On this Impala, the fuel pump itself is in the gas tank, and in this instance it looks like it had plenty of pressure.  The fuel pressure regulator, however, is right next to the manifold, and may have been the thing that was giving you trouble.

  15. Hard to tell which is worse, the car fire or the Bon Jovi. 

    That aside, this is a good example of why we all should know where the fire extinguishers are at our work. This could have been much worse if all the mechanics threw their hands in the air in confused helplessness like that one did. Seriously, know where they are, know how they work and don’t be afraid to use them. 

  16. Helpful tips:

    Don’t keep spraying the extinguisher after the fire’s out.  Don’t listen when people tell you that you should.

    And don’t buy the kind of extinguisher you can’t turn off after you pull the trigger.

    Use the carbon dioxide kind if you can get one, but watch out for thermal shock effects.

    That dust stuff takes years to get rid of…

  17. First time I watched this I LOL’d at the mechanic dropping the chip bag he’d previously been enjoying and running off.  I re-watched it and realized he hadn’t dropped the chip bag.  My brain decided it would be funnier that way so that’s what I saw.

  18. Come on, man, don’t do that.  “TL;DR” is just passive-aggressive bullshit.  It’s either saying, “You may have taken some time and effort to explain something that might interest people, but I’m not only disinterested, I’m going to take the time to piss all over your efforts” or, at best, “I’m incredibly lazy and possibly illiterate, and can’t be bothered to read more than ten sentences worth of text.  Would someone else read it for me and translate it into five or fewer simple sentences.”  Neither interpretation is particularly constructive.

  19. Like what? GM used plastic intake manifolds on the 2002-ish Impala (seen in the video) that leaked and warped from heat? Or maybe the previous condition combined with an excess build up of fuel in the cylinders from a faulty injector and then starting the car which makes spark in the cylinder igniting the excess fuel coming out of the manifold?

    Yeah, GM didn’t have a recall in which they were sued or anything.

    Looks like I learned something after all. Good idea.

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