Perform own oil change pros & cons?

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RobLyons
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Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by RobLyons » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:22 pm

So today I thought I made a good financial decision avoiding the dealership for regularly scheduled maintenance and opting for a much cheaper service at Jiffy Lube. I also changed my own cabin and engine air filters. Prices are below. While I saved a good chunk of money, I feel I could save much more if I do the oil change myself. Side note, every dollar counts as we are not able to max contribute 403b or Roth IRAs, we are a 1 main income household of 4, and have a good chunk of low interest debt.

Dealership $250 (oil change, tire rotation, engine and cabin air filters, multi point visual inspection)
$113 opt out - Jiffy Lube $92.56 (oil change, tire rotation) + $21 engine and cabin filters from amazon


Yes I saved $137 which is great but I had to opt for the blended synthetic oil vs fully synthetic to get that price at Jiffy Lube. The fully synthetic oil was around $100. Now I discover I can get fully synthetic oil from an auto store for around $30 and do it myself, or $20 for blended, saving much more. I could get ramps off amazon for $40 which will last a long time and an oil container to drain the old oil into, with payoff after just 1 oil change. However, I'm concerned with the mess it could make, and the safety of climbing under my car every few months. Of course, I would take precautions (gloves, eye wear, emergency brake on, level ground, a brick behind tire or other device to stop car from rolling).

Cost savings is about $60 each oil change. ($100 Jiffy Lube vs $30 oil + $8.99 good oil filter DIY)

So does anyone still change their own oil changes or do most just bite the bullet and have others do it for them? Thanks all :sharebeer
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smitcat
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by smitcat » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:29 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:22 pm
So today I thought I made a good financial decision avoiding the dealership for regularly scheduled maintenance and opting for a much cheaper service at Jiffy Lube. I also changed my own cabin and engine air filters. Prices are below. While I saved a good chunk of money, I feel I could save much more if I do the oil change myself. Side note, every dollar counts as we are not able to max contribute 403b or Roth IRAs, we are a 1 main income household of 4, and have a good chunk of low interest debt.

Dealership $250 (oil change, tire rotation, engine and cabin air filters, multi point visual inspection)
$113 opt out - Jiffy Lube $92.56 (oil change, tire rotation) + $21 engine and cabin filters from amazon


Yes I saved $137 which is great but I had to opt for the blended synthetic oil vs fully synthetic to get that price at Jiffy Lube. The fully synthetic oil was around $100. Now I discover I can get fully synthetic oil from an auto store for around $30 and do it myself, or $20 for blended, saving much more. I could get ramps off amazon for $40 which will last a long time and an oil container to drain the old oil into, with payoff after just 1 oil change. However, I'm concerned with the mess it could make, and the safety of climbing under my car every few months. Of course, I would take precautions (gloves, eye wear, emergency brake on, level ground, a brick behind tire or other device to stop car from rolling).

Cost savings is about $60 each oil change. ($100 Jiffy Lube vs $30 oil + $8.99 good oil filter DIY)

So does anyone still change their own oil changes or do most just bite the bullet and have others do it for them? Thanks all :sharebeer

Over 40 cars and a host of other vehicles we have never had anyone other than ourselves do thin like change the oil.
Ramps are fine but 2 x 12's cut and stacked are just as useful. A cardboard box laid down prior to positioning a drain pan will alleviate any mess.
Getting to view the underside of the car/truck whatever will also give you clues as to what other work you may or may not need down there.
Perhaps have someone do this with you the first time so you have a good handle on the task at hand.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:35 pm

I change my own oil as in NOT going to Jiffy Lube to have them drain the transmission fluid by mistake and overfill the oil or strip the oil pan, not tell you and put in a plastic drain plug.

Why?

I know the oil and filter are actually changed and I know exactly what oil is put in. I can look around for other things while the oil is draining under the car (I have a 4 post lift) and in the engine compartment.

I use Fumoto valves in some of my cars, so I don't even need any tools to open the drain plug.

I don't even care if it costs more, but I doubt it does. I buy OEM filters at the dealer by the rack (10 at a time) for less than Wal Mart would sell garbage Frams.

I do my own air filters. It takes less time than going to someone, having them take the car in immediately and do it and then me paying the bill. I can also inspect for things like acorns or insulation in the air box from rodents (it happens) and vacuum it out and think about changing the antifreeze in the tray under my tool chest.....where mice go in and either die there or drink antifreeze and die in the middle of the garage. Yes, I'm heartless about these wire insulation chewing demons.
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jfn111
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by jfn111 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:36 pm

I used to do all my own oil changes until my hand slipped off the filter removing wrench. A trip to the emergency room and 5 stitches latter...I now go to Rapid oil change. :oops:

Trader Joe
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Trader Joe » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:40 pm

"So does anyone still change their own oil changes or do most just bite the bullet and have others do it for them? Thanks all :sharebeer"

No I never change my own oil. I let others do that.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:41 pm

I know nothing about auto mechanics, nor do I want to learn. Also, I am a total klutz with tools. I pay to have my oil changed.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:42 pm

jfn111 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:36 pm
I used to do all my own oil changes until my hand slipped off the filter removing wrench. A trip to the emergency room and 5 stitches latter...I now go to Rapid oil change. :oops:
Yikes! I use "cap" wrenches on all my cars. The cap goes on top of the filter and then a 3/8" extension in that to a ratchet. Hands are "way up here" away from everything. I have maybe 4 or 5 different sizes.
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sk2101
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by sk2101 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:43 pm

If you prefer to have someone else do the work for you, I suggest never going to Jiffy Lube or similar. They can really mess things up. Dealers often have 39.99 or 49.99 oil change coupons, as they just want to have people in the door to upsell them.

I prefer to DIY, but mainly because it saves me time and I can do it on my own schedule. Also, by DIY I know for sure it was done right.
If you are going to change your own oil and intend to keep the car for a while, I recommend a Fumoto valve. I have that on all my cars and I can change the oil without using a drain pain = zero mess.

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Quercus Palustris
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Quercus Palustris » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:44 pm

I'm a poor shade tree mechanic at best, but I wouldn't trust my safety to ramps - I'd go for jack stands instead. More work and time though.

Some cars can be a pain to access filters / drain plugs, or messy. Had a friend w/ a sunfire, filter was at an angle such that removal unavoidably dumps some oil. My Altima needs some pop rivets removed to get to the filter and I'm always worried about breaking them, plus filter will splash leftover oil onto part of the undercarriage unless taking precautions. OTOH, changing oil on my Prizm was a dream, didn't even need to raise the car as long as I could slide under. Maybe watch a few YouTube videos for your make/model/year.

If it works out for you, I can't recommend enough getting a Fumoto valve for your oil pan. Look up the # and they can be found on Amazon. Faster, less mess - could even change oil w/ zero tools on my old Prizm. Read reviews if you worry about them, but I never had issues with it leaking, short of using it on an off road vehicle they work splendidly.

Edit: lol, of course Fumoto valves would be a boglehead approved solution :beer
Last edited by Quercus Palustris on Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

oldfatguy
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by oldfatguy » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:45 pm

I used to change my own, and it would definitely be cheaper, but it is just one more thing to add to the list of stuff I already don't have time to do. And then add the additional task of disposing of the used oil.

What kind of vehicle do you have? Those prices seem very high for an oil change. My dealer always has coupons available and a full synthetic oil change is under $60.

92irish
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by 92irish » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:45 pm

I use an oil extractor through the dipstick - the best invention ever! No ramps, no crawling under the car, and no messing with drain plug. Pump out and refill plus a new oil filter. My local autoparts store has a free oil disposal center afterwards.

The only problem is my new BMW does not have dipstick (don't get me started) so no dipstick tube. I may be back to ramps for that one car. :x

Normchad
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Normchad » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:48 pm

I change my own oil, and always have.

I can do it faster and cheaper than anybody. But mostly I do it because it saves me a hassle.

The price for 5 quarts of Mobil 1 synthetic is about $25 at Walmart. A good filter is about another $5. So $30 for materials for each change. As the poster above said, putting a piece of cardboard on the ground is a must.

I change the oil twice a year, when it’s convenient for me. Typically around thanksgiving and again in may. This way the weather is warm, I’m comfortable, etc.

For all my cars, I can change the oil without lifting the car. Perhaps this is due to my long arms and might not work for everybody.

I save the used oil in a 5qt jug from a previous oil change. Every few years I drive the the landfill to dispose of my collection of used oil.

Engine air filters, cabin air filters, and spark plugs are also dead simple to replace when needed.

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RobLyons
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by RobLyons » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:49 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:35 pm
I change my own oil as in NOT going to Jiffy Lube to have them drain the transmission fluid by mistake and overfill the oil or strip the oil pan, not tell you and put in a plastic drain plug.

Why?

I know the oil and filter are actually changed and I know exactly what oil is put in. I can look around for other things while the oil is draining under the car (I have a 4 post lift) and in the engine compartment.

I use Fumoto valves in some of my cars, so I don't even need any tools to open the drain plug.

I don't even care if it costs more, but I doubt it does. I buy OEM filters at the dealer by the rack (10 at a time) for less than Wal Mart would sell garbage Frams.

I do my own air filters. It takes less time than going to someone, having them take the car in immediately and do it and then me paying the bill. I can also inspect for things like acorns or insulation in the air box from rodents (it happens) and vacuum it out and think about changing the antifreeze in the tray under my tool chest.....where mice go in and either die there or drink antifreeze and die in the middle of the garage. Yes, I'm heartless about these wire insulation chewing demons.

Great response. I have heard horror stories about JL but I've never had issues personally. I do wonder if they changed the filter or not... I don't trust they care much about my car.

I wish I had a garage and nice lift. I'll have to settle for ramps if I go ahead with this.

Also good tip about going to the dealer, I'll have to price them out.
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ClevrChico
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by ClevrChico » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:58 pm

I DIY oil changes for convenience. It's a huge pain to be carless for a day, plus drop off and pick up, over a simple oil change.

I use a Mityvac, so everything can be done from the top of the car. No jack or ramps required.

NHRATA01
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by NHRATA01 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:03 pm

There's really no cons to it. You could say the time spent, but to drive to an oil change place and wait is probably going to cost your more time then just doing in your garage. Safety wise, ramps are pretty darn safe, I would say more so than a jack and jackstands which have more potential to be improperly used by a novice (some cars are challenging to find the suitable jacking points - cue various youtube clips of fenders snapping and floorboards getting dented by jacking from the wrong point). I would suggest staying away from the cheap Jiffylube type places as they're not exactly paying for talent nor does talent seek out oil changes, and they're rushing to maximize slim profit margins, plus more apt to pull the ol' bring you over a random filthy air filter and gravely announce it should be changed immediately at .7hrs labor and 2.5x markup. The dealership is probably better though more $, and a known trustworthy independent even better still.

I just did my first on a newly leased vehicle, called for the change at 2900 miles after a lot of winter cold starts. I had one freebie from the dealer, but it is more of a hassle to schedule the appointment, and waste 2 hours on a Saturday or take a weekday off. Instead I did it myself in 20 minutes. I will use it for the next change and get the free tire rotation. Even with air tools I find those more annoying.

The pros of doing it myself:
- Knowing it was done correctly
- Save a few bucks
- Actually do those "inspect xxx and yyy" that the dealer services supposedly include but really never get done. Check hose/belt life, look for leaks, excessive corrosion, fluid levels etc.

simplextableau
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by simplextableau » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:03 pm

I do all my own oil changes. I recently bought a used car that the previous owner had taken to Jiffy Lube. When I went to do my first oil change, I found that they had put the wrong oil filter on the car -- it fit, but was half the size of the correct one as it was for a later generation of the same car. :oops:

FrugalConservative
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by FrugalConservative » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:05 pm

I've been doing my own oil changes since I owned a car.

Firstly its cheaper and quicker then bringing it to the dealer ( for my dealer you drive 15 minutes, drop it off, drive another 15 minutes and pickup, when it's all said and done its an hour proposition), and most importantly I know its done right.

That being said, I can see why others wouldnt want to do it on their own, but for me, I actually dont mind it. Gets me out of the house , and as I sit at a desk all day and stare at monitors, it's nice to see the fruits of ones labor, granted in this case, it's used motor oil ha.

Hogan773
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Hogan773 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:07 pm

I have done it for past 5yrs and it has led to me doing much more "profitable" work DIY too, such as transmission fluid, brake flush, brake rotors and pads, and most recently front suspension control arms and swaybar links.

From a purely financial standpoint it is often hard to justify just the oil change part of it, BUT like others I enjoy doing it on MY TIME (7am on a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee if I choose to), and knowing that they actually changed the oil, the filter is new, the drain plug is torqued correctly and not stripped, etc.

While I started by building my own wood ramps (basically 3 pieces of 2x10s stacked on top of each other, glued and screwed together), I never use them anymore. Spend $80-90 on a good Harbor Freight floor jack or the Arcan one they often have at Costco. Spend $14.99 to get a set of 3 ton jack stands at Harbor Freight. Then you can jack up the front of the car, put it on 2 stands at the front sides, and do a tire rotation easily at the same time you do your oil change. Will save you another $20 or whatever a dealer adds on for a tire rotation and you'll get more even wear from your tires. You will then have the jack and stands for other projects where you take the wheels off like brake pads etc should you choose to go there. That is where you start saving real money. Get your great quality parts from Amazon or RockAuto delivered directly to you and these are pretty easy jobs to DIY. The Internet forums for your specific car plus YouTube can teach a lot

MathWizard
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by MathWizard » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:08 pm

Not anymore.

I am almost exclusively a DIYer, but on the north side of 60, have lately been having things done
like oil changes. Cars are getting lower to the ground, and I am getting higher from the ground when laying down :?

I have rebuilt engines, transmissions, starters, replaced manifolds, water pumps, radiators, fixed body parts ...
Changing the oil is just a nuisance that I'll let someone else do. You also need to capture and dispose of the oil properly.

The pro side would be that you know things are being done right, and you get to pick your own oil and
filters. JiffyLube will install your own filter, but does not decrease the price any if you do this.

Housedoc
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Housedoc » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:12 pm

I do my own oil changes and plan to until my body can no longer get up and down off the floor. Some of the techs at the dealer or oil change places have no concept about using a torque wrench or being neat. They are in a hurry up environment. Costco now has their own brand of full synthetic oil at a price that works out to less than $2.50 a quart. Have not tried it yet. I am a Mobil 1 full synthetic user as of now. Been that way for years. Even in my lawnmower!

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Kenkat
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Kenkat » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:17 pm

If you can find a local, trusted independent mechanic, you can get the price down to a more reasonable amount. My local guy does a full synthetic with filter in the $55 range; tire rotation is free since I bought the tires from him as well after he said “hey Ken, I can do tires for you in the same ballpark as Tire Rack after you add in shipping and installation”. I had him quote me some prices and he was right - within $10-20.

I used to change my own but at my age it’s not worth it to me to crawl around on the ground for $25.

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:19 pm

Second the recommendation for an oil extractor. I use this one since I already have a compressor in the garage, but there are others that are manually pumped. It's been over 10 years since I last used a jack to change oil on any of our cars, and I don't even bother changing out of my work clothes to change oil anymore. My hands get a little dirty when pulling the filter, but that's it.

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by H-Town » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:30 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:22 pm
So today I thought I made a good financial decision avoiding the dealership for regularly scheduled maintenance and opting for a much cheaper service at Jiffy Lube. I also changed my own cabin and engine air filters. Prices are below. While I saved a good chunk of money, I feel I could save much more if I do the oil change myself. Side note, every dollar counts as we are not able to max contribute 403b or Roth IRAs, we are a 1 main income household of 4, and have a good chunk of low interest debt.

Dealership $250 (oil change, tire rotation, engine and cabin air filters, multi point visual inspection)
$113 opt out - Jiffy Lube $92.56 (oil change, tire rotation) + $21 engine and cabin filters from amazon


Yes I saved $137 which is great but I had to opt for the blended synthetic oil vs fully synthetic to get that price at Jiffy Lube. The fully synthetic oil was around $100. Now I discover I can get fully synthetic oil from an auto store for around $30 and do it myself, or $20 for blended, saving much more. I could get ramps off amazon for $40 which will last a long time and an oil container to drain the old oil into, with payoff after just 1 oil change. However, I'm concerned with the mess it could make, and the safety of climbing under my car every few months. Of course, I would take precautions (gloves, eye wear, emergency brake on, level ground, a brick behind tire or other device to stop car from rolling).

Cost savings is about $60 each oil change. ($100 Jiffy Lube vs $30 oil + $8.99 good oil filter DIY)

So does anyone still change their own oil changes or do most just bite the bullet and have others do it for them? Thanks all :sharebeer
Hmm... which location is it?

Here it's cost $25-$32 for oil change with blended synthetic oil. And I pay just that.

Tire rotation is free at Costco/Discount Tire if you buy tires from them.

Multi point visual inspection: free if you do it yourself.

Engine and cabin filters: $10-$20 depends on brands you buy from amazon.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:32 pm

The only oil I change is in my lawnmower.

I am not willing to crawl underneath my car to change the oil to save a few bucks. However, I would never take my car to Jiffy Lube or some other quick change oil place as I have heard and read far too many horror stories. And in years past I have witnessed the lack of knowledge and technique by some of their employees. I think employee turnover and lack of training are big issues for those places--or seemed to be years ago when I used them for a while.

We used to take our cars to independents for oil changes but have found that the dealerships now usually have competitive rates and their employees are at least familiar with our vehicles. The trick is not to let them do anything else unless it is specifically requested. If for any reason we become disenchanted with their service or prices, we will fall back to independents.

Tire rotations are done by whomever we bought the tires from. We change air filters and cabin air filters ourselves. The CAF on my vehicle is really a challenge, so if I happen to see the dealership running a special on changing that before I get around to it again, I may have them change it.

ETA: One thing I particularly like about my current dealership is that they have a sitting area in the waiting room with a large picture window which just happens to overlook the station where they do the oil changes on my vehicle. It isn't exactly like looking over someone's shoulder, but it is better than nothing.

Woodshark
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Woodshark » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:02 pm

I've changed the oil in all our vehicles since I was 16 years old and had my first car. A couple of years ago I started paying to have it changed. The extra $20 or so above my cost was just not worth it to me anymore.

hmw
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by hmw » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:05 pm

I started doing oil changes myself about 2 years ago. It is quite easy and I found it more convenient than going to a shop for oil change. I started doing it myself primarily to save time. We had an economical boom here and lots of people were moving in. As a result, the wait time at the quick lube place was getting ridiculous at certain times of day.


I buy Mobil one full synthetic from Walmart for about $25 per gallon and have it shipped to me for free when I buy 2 gallons at a time. I buy OEM filters on ebay for about $8 a piece.

I use ramps and I also use jack stands as a backup in case the ramps fail.

I highly recommend buying Fumoto's valves. Makes subsequent oil change much cleaner. Just changed my oil last week. No mess. Not a drop of oil on the ground or on my hand. I take the used oil in the old container to local auto parts store on my way to work. Literally takes extra 2 minutes.

blastoff
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by blastoff » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:13 pm

Unless you have some fancy car that takes fancy oil, you can pay less than you paid at jiffy lube at a dealer.

I have a Mazda. It has a Ford engine. I take it to Ford dealerships. Usually $35-$40. Syn blend, reasonable quality filterm. Trust them more than jiffy lube. I could technically buy oil with rebate, filter, do myself, etc but saving so small it's not even really worth it so someone with relatively low income that is frugal.

Mainly change your own to know it's done right.
Last edited by blastoff on Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Atilla
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Atilla » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:22 pm

I have always changed my own oil so I know it's done correctly. Gives you a chance to crawl around and spot any other issues - check brake pads, etc.

Last year I had my transmission fluid and front and rear differential fluids changed by the dealership since the transmission fluid change was a big ordeal I wasn't willing to deal with. Idiots forgot to tighten the rear differential drain plug. I notice a leak and had to get down and tighten it up myself.

Checked wife's oil level on used Lexus she bought CPO last year. Overfilled by at least half a quart.

I'll change my own oil - thank you.

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Teague » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:27 pm

I do my own because its quicker and easier than driving to and from an oil change place. The saved money, including gas, is a bonus.
Semper Augustus

lazydavid
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:44 pm

Teague wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:27 pm
I do my own because its quicker and easier than driving to and from an oil change place. The saved money, including gas, is a bonus.
Truedat. I just changed the oil in my father-in-law's Murano, which is the most difficult of the ones I do regularly, since the filter is accessed through the passenger fender. My total time spent in the garage (including cleanup) was 10 minutes, during which time I also topped off the coolant and washer fluid, and checked a couple of other things. I didn't even bother to put shoes on. :)

Hogan773
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Hogan773 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:00 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:19 pm
Second the recommendation for an oil extractor. I use this one since I already have a compressor in the garage, but there are others that are manually pumped. It's been over 10 years since I last used a jack to change oil on any of our cars, and I don't even bother changing out of my work clothes to change oil anymore. My hands get a little dirty when pulling the filter, but that's it.
I believe this works best for BMWs or other European cars that have an oil filter up in the engine bay that you pull out upwards

For me it isn't worth messing with an oil extractor that may not get all the oil out, and by definition may leave the sludgier oil at the bottom behind, and then you have to clean the oil extractor or it can leak and spray out under pressure, and all of this isn't really worth it when you also have to get under the car and get off an oil filter that is then dribbling Ziploc bag for the oil filter....

Hogan773
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Hogan773 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:02 pm

Basically as I read this thread, those who enjoy wrenching their cars a little can find enough excuses to do the job DIY (money saved, know it's done well, convenience) while those who don't want to wrench a car can also find that those benefits listed aren't really big enough to overcome the hassle for them to do this job when they don't want to

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by RobLyons » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:13 pm

Hogan773 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:02 pm
Basically as I read this thread, those who enjoy wrenching their cars a little can find enough excuses to do the job DIY (money saved, know it's done well, convenience) while those who don't want to wrench a car can also find that those benefits listed aren't really big enough to overcome the hassle for them to do this job when they don't want to

Sums it up pretty well. And I'm on the fence right now!
I'm the type that if I'm unsure how to do something right the first time, I'm apprehensive to do it. Once I'm confident and competent, I can't imagine ever doing it the previous way ever again...

My plan is to keep our cars as long as possible so this decision could save us thousands over the years
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:27 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:13 pm
Hogan773 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:02 pm
Basically as I read this thread, those who enjoy wrenching their cars a little can find enough excuses to do the job DIY (money saved, know it's done well, convenience) while those who don't want to wrench a car can also find that those benefits listed aren't really big enough to overcome the hassle for them to do this job when they don't want to

Sums it up pretty well. And I'm on the fence right now!
I'm the type that if I'm unsure how to do something right the first time, I'm apprehensive to do it. Once I'm confident and competent, I can't imagine ever doing it the previous way ever again...

My plan is to keep our cars as long as possible so this decision could save us thousands over the years
It may or it may not. I haven't changed the oil in my own cars since the '60's. I haven't had a car (except my current one) since the '80s that I didn't put >200,000 miles on. I doubt there is any evidence that changing your own oil makes your cars last longer. If I had traded cars every 3 years, I would have required the same number of total oil changes.

What will definitely save you money over the years is not letting the dealership or other mechanics sell you parts and services that you don't need. Learning to distinguish between what you need and don't need will be time well spent.

Good luck.

BanquetBeer
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by BanquetBeer » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:30 pm

Torque wrench from harbor freight that I use for a number of things. Aluminum jack stands from there also. Floor jack from Costco.

I can’t stomach the margins on synthetic oil changes. Should be $10 more than regular but they try to charge you $50.

I enjoy it because I get to drink a beer while being productive. It’s good to get to know your car - just saw one on the ride home with the plastic wind guard flapping under it on the highway.

Our curbside recycling picks up oil so I just pour the old stuff back into the container I just used. Usually pick up 2 cases of mobile 1 oil at Costco when they have it on sale (~$26 for 6 qt?)

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:37 pm

Hogan773 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:00 pm
lazydavid wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:19 pm
Second the recommendation for an oil extractor. I use this one since I already have a compressor in the garage, but there are others that are manually pumped. It's been over 10 years since I last used a jack to change oil on any of our cars, and I don't even bother changing out of my work clothes to change oil anymore. My hands get a little dirty when pulling the filter, but that's it.
I believe this works best for BMWs or other European cars that have an oil filter up in the engine bay that you pull out upwards
This is true, but look at my post just above yours. I just did a change on a Nissan Murano, where the filter comes out the side. The official way to change the filter is to remove the passenger wheel, and then the inner fender. However, if you turn the steering wheel all the way to the right, and then crack one plastic shield in one place--which, as it turns out, was already helpfully done for me by the dealer--you can just kneel down, reach in, and unscrew.

The rest of your post is utter hogwash FUD. :D But I'll take it point by point.
Hogan773 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:00 pm
For me it isn't worth messing with an oil extractor that may not get all the oil out
In my experience, I get more oil out using the extractor, and have to add just a bit more than the manual calls for to get the oil reading up to the top hash on the dipstick.
Hogan773 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:00 pm
and by definition may leave the sludgier oil at the bottom behind
See above. I'm leaving less in the pan, which means I'm also getting whatever sludge may be there. Also, quality synthetic oil tends not to sludge up.
Hogan773 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:00 pm
and then you have to clean the oil extractor or it can leak and spray out under pressure
Please explain how a vacuum vessel sprays its contents out under pressure. Also, mine is made of welded steel. If it cracks, I have MUCH bigger issues than oil leakage. And why on earth would I clean a device whose only purpose is to collect old oil? I just dump it right out of the spout into whatever empty container, then screw the cap back on and put it away.
Hogan773 wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:00 pm
and all of this isn't really worth it when you also have to get under the car and get off an oil filter that is then dribbling Ziploc bag for the oil filter....
In many cases this still isn't necessary, as identified above. Many Nissans can have the filter removed easily through the passenger wheel well. As it turns out, this is also the case for many Hondas. Even ones you have to get at from the bottom are often still pretty easy. My wife's previous RX350, for example (so generalize this for the Highlander as well, and probably the Rav4), had just enough ground clearance to get under there with a drip pan and a wrench to get the filter out, without using a jack. So I did used to put a grubby shirt on for that one, unlike today when I changed my father-in-law's oil wearing a brand new bright yellow shirt. :)

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by bad1bill » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:39 pm

Add another DIY'er. I can certainly afford (now, late in life) to take it somewhere but I've always done it myself and find it is satisfying, saves money and gives me a chance to actually look under the car(s) which means to top off/check other fluids and look for cracked hoses, missing clamps, etc.

Lots of good suggestions but my $0.02 below:

My cars can all be accessed with a "crawler"; a tray on rollers so no need for ramps or jacks. To save money initially, a piece of cardboard works if you are nimble. Also, get some nitrile gloves at Harbor Freight which keeps your hands clean. AutoZone, O'REilly etc. all accept used oil so please dispose of used oil properly.

As mentioned, YouTube is an incredible resource for most things automotive. Cabin filters, for example, can be tricky and a video really helps. I have also easily upgraded numerous stereos to Bluetooth (which I love) very easily with the YouTube help although I have bought from Crutchfield since their phone support has proven very good (mostly). In general, tools from Harbor Freight are great for the shade-tree mechanic and dirt cheap.

Join a forum for your car(s) and that can help in numerous ways: ideas for quick fixes OR intricate and detailed overhauls, decisions on whether to delay certain maintenance items, average cost of repairs, and on and on.

If you want to save money, changing your own oil is most definitely a no-brainer.

123
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by 123 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:41 pm

I used to love changing my own oil and filter. I knew I was doing it while the oil was hot and I was letting every last old oil drop out. And I was assured of the quality (and quantity) of the replacement oil and filter.

Then I moved and the biggest headache of the process was property disposing of the old oil and filter. So I switched to auto service outlets like Sears and Walmart, using the dealer while the new vehicles were still under warranty cause it seemed the right thing to do at the time. If one of the cars goes in for service at the independent garage we use and an oil change is within range we get it done there. I like Sears and Walmart because I don't get the up sell for additional services like at the dealer. However with Sears going away in my area it's quite a trek to the nearest Walmart, so I might get back to doing it myself.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Starfish » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:48 pm

I don't do it myself because is not expensive enough.
The exact same oil the dealer puts in my car at Walmart is 45$ or so, filter probably >10$.
Dealer charges 70$ with coupon. The coupon is almost always available. They also do other things (wash the car, tire rotation, so called "inspection").
On the other hand I considered doing it myself because of the wasted time. I spend 2h waiting at the dealer plus driving out of my optimal commute path. It's not convenient to be driven back and forth.
Also the cost can be lower if I use a different oil. I am pretty sure VW/Castrol play a re-branding thing here and the expensive oil dealer uses is just the same as a cheaper synthetic oil, so you cannot do comparison shopping.
But then again I manage the wasted time pretty well. I always have a haircut during my oil change. There is a 8$ guy right across and he spends 30 minutes with scissors. Sometimes I go to an Indian supermarket nearby and by precooked food. Or I go to a Starbucks nearby. I can write emails for work.
I might try at some point, just to convince myself that it's not worth it.

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by z91 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:08 pm

H-Town wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:30 pm
Tire rotation is free at Costco/Discount Tire if you buy tires from them.
Huge tip here: You don't have to purchase tires from Discount Tire (America's Tire where I'm from) to get free rotation and balancing. I have a set I bought from Wal-Mart (the tires were high quality and stupidly cheap) and got an independent mechanic to install. I always bring it to Discount Tire to rotate and balance and they never charged me. I even got a flat on the highway once and I pulled it and they patched it up for free.

It's one way for them to get new customers, and it works. Save for the one time I got a great deal on Wal-Mart tires, I've bought them all from Discount Tire (5 sets?).

I personally hate Costco tires because they take forever. I have to drop off my car and get a ride for the rest of the day because I'm not going to wait 3 hours for them.

Also, I used to rotate tires myself, but it's just not worth the hassle. Getting your car up to change oil is one thing, but getting them rotated is a completely different beast as you either need to get the front or rear lifted, or the whole car lifted on stands. It's dangerous for folks who rarely do it. Not to mention the real tire shops will actually balance your wheels for you too, so they'll add/remove weights on it if necessary. You just can't do that as a DIYer.

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by rj342 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:12 pm

Fortunately it is not all or nothing.
You can have them do the oil change plus check other items.
Do the engine and cabin air filters yourself - they will not be needed every time anyway. But let them check.
Depending where you got your tires, thw tire shop may do rotation and balance for "free", inconjunction w road hazard if you got that when purchasing the tires.

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Flymore
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Flymore » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:13 pm

I change our oil (wife's car and mine) mostly for convenience.
Don't have to take it anywhere and wait!
Don't use jack or jack stands I use wood. :mrgreen:
Pull the wife's car onto a 2x6 under the passenger front wheel.
This allows enough room to reach under and unscrew the drain plug. It's a Chevy Malibu and the oil filter element is on top of the engine. I let the oil drain overnight, as to get every drop of dirty oil so as not to contaminate the new oil. It's almost too easy!
She keeps thanking me I just roll my eyes and sip a beer while it drains and we eat dinner. :beer The oil filter comes out in the cap, you just pop in a new element. I do use a torque wrench on the filter cap because it's plastic and don't want to break it.

My car needs a little more space so I use a couple of 2x6 boards stacked or a brick and a board to make a small ramp. Simple and I feel safer than a jack or big ramps. Three wheels on the ground and one raised just a little. Parking brake on of course!

Good luck

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by BH_RedRan » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:33 pm

I'm on the DIY side now. I used to take cars in as I thought it saved time and trouble. I changed to DIY for a few reasons:

One bad experience with my dealer. Car took 3X longer than quoted. Wasted a whole morning vs ~1 hour quoted. They shrugged it off like it was to be expected.

One bad experience with a quick change oil place I once trusted. Had only hand-tightened the oil drain plug. I had a pool of oil in my garage the next day. They apologized, said it was a new guy. I say that is a cop out and that lack of proper training / supervision was the real cause. Never went back.

I avoid the up-charge back-and-forth that always happens. Not sure why but that process just annoys the 'heck' out of me.
I start by saying "Just the oil and oil filter please, XYZ oil please". They then ask, Cabin air filter,? NO, upgraded oil?, NO, Windshield wipers?, NO, retrofill the transmission?, NO, Air freshener? NO, Change the air in your tires?, NO, Fix the chip in your windshield?, NO. After the oil change, even more questions. My blood pressure is up just recalling these exchanges. (Yes, I made some of those up.)

I avoid unneeded work/cost, which often would take place if my wife took a car in and got convinced to do the extra stuff.

I am not great at coupons. I change the oil when needed and almost never remember a coupon so the cost can be high at a dealer.

It really does save time and like others it gives me a chance to vacuum out nuts/shells the squirrels leave, visual inspect etc. (rural area). I have the quick change screw-plug on our remaining gasoline car.

Less importantly, it costs less while using exact materials I want.

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Rdytoretire » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:56 pm

I have always DIYed. Don't even want to walk into most dealerships and would not trust the quicklube places. Can usually get full synthetic Pennzoil or Mobile 1 at greatly reduced price or even free with rebates.
https://www.pennzoil.com/en_us/promotio ... ZGV4LmNmbQ

Don't really have to climb under most cars so don't need ramps. A jack and jack stand are plenty. Once you do it a couple of times it can go pretty quick.

Tdubs
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by Tdubs » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:57 pm

$113 for an oil change? Where do you live? I can get it for less than $50 without breaking a sweat--$25 at AAA.

If they charge for it, most tire rotations are unnecessary padding of the bill.

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:05 pm

Tdubs wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:57 pm
$113 for an oil change? Where do you live? I can get it for less than $50 without breaking a sweat--$25 at AAA.

If they charge for it, most tire rotations are unnecessary padding of the bill.
$45 for full synthetic pretty much anywhere here. I would never go to JiffyLube after they nearly killed me (broke two lugs on a single wheel while rotating my tires and didn't say a thing, and refused to take any responsibility literally 5min after the fact) and they will try every trick in the book to try to do totally unnecessary "services".

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:17 pm

My car takes 8 quarts (yes, 8 quarts) and I chose to use full synthetic, so that would be a small fortune at most places. My Harley dealer charged $250 ONCE for an oil change. I told him he shouldn't expect to see me again unless Harley was paying. If it's a fluid and it's in my vehicle, I change it. Brake fluid, chaincase fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid, blinker fluid (wakka wakka). It's all pretty easy and kind of therapeutic compared to my real job.

lazydavid
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:24 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:17 pm
If it's a fluid and it's in my vehicle, I change it. Brake fluid, chaincase fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid, blinker fluid (wakka wakka). It's all pretty easy and kind of therapeutic compared to my real job.
I did diff fluid exactly once. The new fluid smelled so unbelievably bad that I had to throw out the pump I used to get it in there. And the stuff that came was simply epic. I will happily pay to never smell that smell again. :)

T4REngineer
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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by T4REngineer » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:47 pm

Not everyone is a car guy/gal and I respect that but I do think most folks could use a bit of grounding/better understanding of the basics - so many folks are afraid of electricity, plumbing, gas lines, cars etc its ridiculous. I understand not everyone has the time, skills or desire to do a kitchen remodel or a tranny rebuild, hell of even an oil change. But you are not doing yourself any favors by being uneducated in these areas. If folks do not feel safe under a car , sure, and if you want to pay a dealer 50$ to change a cabin air filter that is literally a tooless change (not in all cases) thats also your choice - just like if you want a high expense ratio index fund - but I do not see the value in in.

If I was you I would treat it as an educational opportunity for your children/spouse so they have at least a basic understanding of maintenance activities on a car (ya ya by the time they grow up we will all be driving EV's). This goes for basic household maintenance aswell.

I always find it odd the amount of time and effort many go through to manage their own finances but seem to sleep well at night knowing that even some of the most basic things in life mean picking up the phone and relying on someone else for 3-5x the cost, granted not life treating but it can be an inconvenience and adds up drastically over time.

*Full disclosure, I spent the first 25 years of my life using ramps and stands but now have access to a lift - litteraly life changing. I also see cars as engineering marvels and works of art - but I would not give you $200 for the Mona Lisa (assuming I could not resell it or charge folks to see it) - but I respect other people value it!

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Re: Perform own oil change pros & cons?

Post by fire5soon » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:49 pm

I've always done my own maintenance (engine oil, trans fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, fuel filters, air filters, etc.) not always due to cost, but also because I can control the quality of the materials used. You couldn't pay me to use the cheap filters I'm sure jiffy lube uses to keep costs down. Instead I use WIX on all my vehicles for example. I use Mobil 1 oil. I'm not at the whim of what a quickie lube happen to get cheap at bulk that week.

I reluctantly had the dealership change the oil on my wife's new car one time years ago because it was free. They barely finger tightened the drain plug and it leaked everywhere. Never again. That was a lesson that even free can turn very expensive.

Do it yourself, do it right, and do it with quality materials.
A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do. - Bob Dylan

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