A slippery record attempt

Published 8:37 pm Friday, January 4, 2013

Brothers Glen and Mike Schlickenmeyer, co-owners of Smithfield Fast Lube, will be able to lube a lot of engines with the results of their Guinness record attempt to create the world’s biggest bottle of automotive oil.

An automotive garage in Smithfield is hoping to establish a Guinness World Record with the world’s largest bottle of engine oil.

“We’re going to set the record and go for the biggest bottle,” said Glen Schlickenmeyer, co-owner with his brother, Mike Schlickenmeyer, of Smithfield Fast Lube.

“It’s as a promotion, for one thing, but also to educate the public about the importance of maintaining a vehicle.”

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Glen Schlickenmeyer, who says he handles the business side of things while his brother is more likely to be found leaning beneath a hood, has no shortage of horror stories — for a mechanic, at least — of folks neglecting their rides.

“We had a lady come in a few months ago and she had gone 35,000 miles without an oil change,” he said. “She had ignored the oil light coming on and the engine was clacking and ticking.”

Less than half a quart dribbled out of the 2011 Toyota on removal of the sump plug. “You could take your finger and reach inside, and it was thick with sludge,” Schlickenmeyer said.

“She said it was still under warranty. I felt sorry for her, but there was nothing I could do. We did a flush, but it was still sounding pretty bad when she left.”

But that’s an extreme case, Schlickenmeyer said. People are more likely to stretch oil changes out to something like every 15,000 miles, which can still kill an engine in a brief span of time.

The Schlickenmeyers hope to set the oil bottle record on April 27. Their intention to do so was announced during a community event at the garage Friday, when a specially designed oval “OIL” bumper sticker was also unveiled.

Getting the final go-ahead from Guinness World Records took two years of painstaking planning and hoop-jumping.

“We kept throwing ideas at them, and they kept coming back and saying, ‘You’ve got to think (about) this,’” Glen Schlickenmeyer said.

This particular world record would be entirely new, so a lot of the back-and-forth centered upon standardizing the attempt so others can later attempt to best it.

“Guinness is really particular about making sure, no matter who tries to beat this record in the world, they can follow the same rules,” Schlickenmeyer said.

The oil will be poured into a massive bottle designed by an area manufacturer replicating the shape and design of a regular oil bottle, he said.

“We are playing around with different ideas, (such as) how big to make this thing, following the guidelines Guinness gave us,” he said, adding that the oil used in the record would then be used in oil changes.

How many oil changes the bottle will accommodate, however, is a bit hard to say. The Schlickenmeyers are keeping the ultimate size of their world-record-attempt bottle a secret until the unveiling.