Monday, May 21, 2012

RV Oily Mess

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We live in our motorhome full-time and have no home base. My husband likes to change the oil himself and always is very careful to catch it all and not to make a production out of it. Last week a national forest campsite neighbor saw him changing the oil and came over and pitched a fit. He said it was illegal to change oil in the campground and accused us of polluting. My husband was very embarrassed and put things away immediately. I know for a fact it is not illegal. I also know my husband would never think of spilling a drop, and we have to do it somewhere. He has a very efficient system that collects the old oil and we carry it with us until the next town stop and dispose of it responsibly. I think he should have told the nosey neighbor to take a hike, but he doesn't like to rock the boat. He is a little upset that I had a few words with the jerk. We do not run into this type of individual that often, but they are out there waiting to pounce. Should I just turn the other cheek in the future, or bite back?
--The oil sheiks of Wyoming

Dear DIY:
Sometimes people make up laws for what seems out of the ordinary to them. Some people have way too much time on their hands and need to supervise those around them, whether they know them or not. I agree with your husband on a couple counts. I consider oil changes the life-blood of my engine and do not care to hire it out to people I don't know and can't watch. I can see how someone might take offense to having repair or maintenance work being done in a campground while they are there to camp and relax. It is best to pick your time and place where you do not have an audience. If maintenance is necessary, it must be done without spilling fluids on the ground or disposing of parts in campground receptacles. Perhaps in the past this neighbor had seen other, not so responsible RV owners leave a mess. Your husband made the right decision to clean up and shut things down and wait for a better time and place. Your parting shots might have made you feel better, but did nothing but fuel the flames of discontent. It sounds like your bark is worse than your bite, but I would suggest you keep both in the holster.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink



Erik's RV Blog said...

I disagree, some nosey people need to be addressed when they decide to stick their nose into your business.

If somebody sticks their nose into my business I tell them if they have a problem, bring it up to the park host or ranger or whomever is in charge because they sure aren't.

How they address you dictaes how you respond, kindness gets kindness and rudeness gets returned as well.

My 2 bucks worth (inflation ya know)


Anonymous said...

I understand the need to change oil and want to do it yourself. I myself would rather see you changing it in a Walmart parking lot or somewhere elsealong rather than in a National Park. I'm not saying you intend to spill anything I just know that even as well prepared you are, accidents do happen. But I would let the host know and let them the do his/her job if I thought their was a problem.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you DR. also. Of course we do not know how she gave her piece of mind...but let those "nosey" people report the misconduct in their mind to the authorities. That is what they are there for!

Sounds like the fellow does his changes very well.

Anonymous said...

I disagree as well. I've recently encountered this as well. Self-appointed environmental police seem to be proliferating. No need to be overly confrontational, but do politely correct them. When they accuse you of breaking a law though, it's time to call the ranger and let him set the fool in his place - back in his corner with a dunce cap.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong with your input to the man woman who spoke to the person who gave them a "wrong" lecture on changing their oil in a national park.
People who butt in and force others to do what they want need to have their wings clipped. Encouraging that type of behavior is wrong and they need to be told that.

Doug said...

I will bet that the park ranger would have kicked you out of the park if he had found out that you were changing oil in the campground. Therefore you need to consider this possibility if you want to get indignant and make a war with the neighbor. I think your husband did the right thing in stopping his work. Maybe you should do the oil changes in a truck stop parking area or somewhere where you will not be seen.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Erik 100%. If another RVer has a problem with what I am doing on the site I rented, let them take it up with the Camp Host. It definitely is not their right to gripe to me and I will tell them so right now that I answer to the Camp Host and they can go pound sand! There are bossey people that can just not stand anyone doing something they do not like and think if they angrilly object that people will back down from them. Well I can tell you that I, for one, am not going to back down. I could care less if they like it or not. I NEVER do anything to hurt the environment of where I stay and NEVER will. All you nosey body's that want to push your agenda on me better find someone else because I am DEFINITELY not a push over for you so MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!


Anonymous said...

Anyone remember when the "rv-er" decided to dump both their waste water tanks in the parking lot of the old Cody Walmart? Got a black mark for real rv-ers all over.

I praise the person who commented for caring. Turning it into a confrontation was not necessary, but at least she cared.
A conversation on how you were doing it safely and why might have been a better way of handling it.

Jeffrey said...

From the description of events, I'd have smiled at the nosey neighbor and said, "Glad you came over, can you give me a hand?" and then he'd see all the steps your husband had taken to prevent an 'accident'. The important part is taking responsibility for keeping the oil out of the environment.

Anonymous said...

Probably was based on the fact most RV parks do not allow maintenance on RVs or vehicles.

I agree choosing a time when few people are around is the best choice.

Mike said...

Rules & regs very from place to place.
It is illegal to change your oil on BLM LTVA land in Arizona per the rules & regs. So unless they read the rules & regs for the National forest they were in she can;t say she knows for sure it was not illegal.
Here is the BLM rule. You may not
change motor oil, vehicular fluids, or dispose of or possess these used
substances within an LTVA.

Anonymous said...

I think hubby did the best thing mainly because you don't know the mental attitude of your accuser nor do you know if he's got a short temper and may or may not be toting a firearm. There are a lot of strange people playing the camping game in this day and age.

Lee Ensminger said...

While I appreciate that your husband takes great care in the performance of his oil changes, I don't go camping to watch other people turn their campsite into a garage. And where is the line dawn? Is it okay to change oil, but not to jack up your vehicle and remove and rotate the tires? How about using an electric impact wrench to remove/replace those pesky lug nuts? Frankly, I'd be surprised if something like that isn't against the park regulations, but I couldn't find anything online supporting either position. However, the poster who suggested you use the parking lot at Wal-Mart had the right idea. If you don't trust having it done, or are too cheap to have someone do it in a service bay, buy the materials at Wal-Mart and do it in their parking lot. Then you can just carry the used oil over to the shop and pour it in their recycling oil container. Leave the campgrounds for the enjoyment of nature.

Anonymous said...

While I too have a problem with nosey neighbors, I'd also have a problem with my neighbor changing his oil in a campground. It's just bad manners. Go to a truck stop or Walmart. Sorry but while nosey's attitude was bad, so were your campground manners.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think Walmart would be okay with changing oil in their parking lot? Another way to give other RVers a bad name. Not everyone is careful when they do this kind of work.

Anonymous said...

Changing your oil at a Walmart parking lot.

One way to have Walmart stop all overnight parking for RV's.

Don't do it.

Bob said...

To that "Jim" who tells everybody to mind their own business.
That's the problem with people nowadays. If they comment on what you are doing, since it is WRONG to change you oil in a campground, and say what you have said to ME, I would call you out no problem! I would let the wife go to the Camp Host and you and I can dance!!