It is 11:43 pm on a cold Kira night. A steady pitter-patter of relentless drizzle provides a soothing background sound to the darkness outside. I lay in my bed, wide awake, staring at the ceiling and thinking about the emptiness of life.
As my mind wanders around aimlessly, I hear the sound of someone downstairs in the parking lot trying to start their car. They try to start it the first time with no success. Then they try it a second and third time, still no success. Finally, after about six tries, the engine kicks to life and cuts through the drizzle with a low humming sound of a begrudging car engine.
People in this neighbourhood are very strange; almost unhinged. For all I know, someone could be planning to visit their local watering hole at this very strange hour. Or they could just be going for a late-night drive – for whatever reason. Or they might be driving out to dispose of a dead body. I don’t really know.
I listen attentively for the sound of the car leaving but it doesn’t quite happen. The car engine is now running but somehow, the person is not driving off. Something must be wrong. The car engine itself does not sound too excited to be running at such an hour. Everything feels off.
At this point, a thousand and one thoughts run through my head, joining the already persistent thoughts about the emptiness of life. So I sit up in my bed and try to make sense of what is happening.
Out of curiosity, I draw the curtain a little, peep out of my bedroom window and I can immediately see Julia, one of the new neighbours in the driver’s seat of her car just staring ahead. She does this for about thirty seconds then slants a little towards the steering wheel, and pulls a lever. She steps out and pops the bonnet of her car open. As she bends and lowers herself to tend to her car engine, I begin wondering what sort of car trouble someone could possibly have just before midnight. And if there is any trouble, can’t it wait till morning?
I continue peeping out the window to see what exactly Julia is doing and she seems to sense that someone is watching her. She immediately veers her head and stares in the direction of my bedroom window.
I surreptitiously let go of the bedroom curtain, hoping Julia did not notice me watching her. Nothing can quite throw you off like a nosey – almost creepy – neighbour watching you from their bedroom window. About a minute passes and I slowly raise my head to resume my peeping. I can see the car bonnet is still open but Julia is nowhere to be seen. Just as I am struggling to get a better look, I hear a knock at my door.
Dang it! She saw me!
I get up from my bed, wrap a gown around my lanky frame and saunter to the living room. I stand at the door, wait for another knock, then turn on the light and reach for the curtain. Through the door glass, I can see Julia drenched and almost shaking in her boots. She’s got a huge black raincoat with a hoodie over her and long leather boots that seem weather-beaten. I can tell she’s been in the rain for a while.
“Hi neighbour,” Julia says, with a sad smile on her face. “My name is Julia and I’m from one of the apartments downstairs,”
Of course, I know your name Julia, and I know where you live. Everyone in this neighbourhood knows your name. You’re the neighbour who is always having car trouble at strange hours. And what the hell are you doing at my door at midnight?
“Hello Julia,” I politely respond, careful not to give away my wretched thoughts. “Is everything okay?”
“Actually no. I need some help with my car,” she replies.
Look, I am not a very friendly neighbourhood person and I usually keep to myself. As a matter of fact, I barely know anyone in this neighbourhood. I rarely leave my house, and when I do, I go out of the gate to run my errands. I don’t bother anyone and I don’t let anyone bother me. I have no time to hang around and fraternise with neighbours while exchanging endless pleasantries. I barely say anything in the neighbourhood WhatsApp group and the only person I ever speak to is the apartment caretaker. Everyone else means nothing to me.
“What seems to be the matter?” I ask, half hoping I won’t be required to leave the warmth of my house.
“I just need to show you,” Julia responds. “Please come and help.”
Crap! Now I have to get out of my house on this cold and wet night. Why can’t this woman just wait till morning to fix her car issues? It is raining for Chrissake! This is exactly why I don’t like being disturbed.
I suppress my selfish thoughts, step out of the house and follow Julia down the stairs. We get to the car and I can see why Julia popped the bonnet open; there is a whiff of burnt engine oil coming from underneath the bonnet. The engine seems noisier than it should be and it almost feels like metal parts are hitting against each other. The car is struggling to stay alive.
My immediate deduction is that this beautiful car is thirsty for an oil change; either it is very low on oil or it’s the wrong kind of oil that’s been used.
“Do you smell that?” Julia interrupts my thoughts.
‘Yeah, I do,” I respond while staring at the engine. “When did you last change your engine oil?”
“I can’t even remember when but it’s been a long while. The car gives me trouble starting and that smell of oil has been filling the car up lately. I could not sleep before figuring out what the problem is,” Julia mentions.
The truth is, Julia is an extremely busy woman and she barely has time to take her car for servicing so she only fixes problems as and when they show up – something many car owners are guilty of. She’s been driving her car for months now and has only ever changed its oil once.
“What oil do you use for your car?” I ask, trying to see if we can get to the root of the problem.
“Does it matter? Anyway, I don’t really know the types. I just put whatever oil I see,” she innocently replies.
Right there and then, I realise where the problem is. Julia has not treated her car well enough and the car is letting its feelings be known, as do most machines when they are ill-treated. The car has been stuffed with all kinds of engine oils and its engine is now suffering tremendously.
“Have you used Castrol Oil before?” I try to ask.
“Not that I remember,” she answers, folding her hands in defeat.
After a brief conversation about the importance of regular servicing, I go back up to my house, pick up my phone and rejoin Julia in the parking lot.
“You see this here,” I point at a link I saved in my Phone notes, “This link will help you identify what sort of Engine oil you need to use for your car.”
“What do you mean?”
“Every car model and make has got special Engine OIl that it is supposed to use. Cars are like human bodies. For some people, certain foods are extremely delicious and for others, they could almost be poisonous. One person might be a great fan of something and it might be dangerous for another person. You don’t just eat everything you are given, do you?” I try to explain.
I explain to her that Castrol Liquid Engineering looks at the different needs of various car models and types to provide the exact kind of oil needed by a particular engine. The design of engines is becoming more complex yet more powerful and manufacturers are increasingly specifying complex full synthetic oils to cope with higher engine pressures and meet fuel efficiency targets. Because of this, it is important to be aware of which specific oil your engine requires.
Whether you are driving a huge muscle car, a small mini-van, an old saloon car, a modern sports car or whatever other kind of car there is, you can be sure that each car has its own engine oil needs. A very good way to find out what kind of Castol Oil your car needs is by using the Castrol Engine OIl Finder. You can toggle between the quick search, the vehicle search or the engine search.
As I share all this information with Julia, she’s now seated in the passenger seat while I’m in the driver’s seat, preaching the Gospel of the Right Engine Oil for the Right Car.
“Wow! I had no idea I could easily figure out which oil my car needs without having to rely on guesswork,” Julia chimes in, now looking more relaxed than before.
“I know. It’s quite cool because you can actually get all these Castrol Oils at any RUBiS Energy Uganda outlet. All you have to do is identify what oil your car needs, drive to any RUBiS Fuel Station and get that oil, you need to use the Right Oil for the Right Car,” I tell her.
It’s now been about fifteen or so minutes and the cold is beginning to bite hard.
“Where were you going by the way? It’s almost midnight.” I ask.
“I wasn’t going anywhere actually. It’s just that usually before I go to bed, I come out to check on my car just to be sure it can start. I never sleep before I am sure it will start.”
I continue with my Gospel, “Part of the reason your car gives you trouble starting could be the engine oil. You see, with the wrong engine oil that might be too thick, your car could struggle to start especially in the cold weather. Cars are not very friendly with cold weather so in this rainy season, you have to especially look out for the health of your car. It is possible that the wrong engine oil is failing to lubricate every part of your car’s engine and so there is resistance that is affecting the ignition,”
“Are you some kind of mechanic?” Julia now demands to know.
“Actually I’m not. But I have done some promotional work for car-related services and I make it my business to be informed in case a time comes when I need to use that information. A time such as this,” I turn and look at Julia, she looks back at me and we both smile.
“Thank you so much for your help,” Julia says.
As I step out of the car to go upstairs back to my house, I turn and I can see relief written all over Julia’s face. She finally knows what the problem with her car is and as I walk back to my house, I silently hope she treats her car better by making sure she is using the Right Oil for the Right Car.
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