Do you change the engine oil yourself?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
guitarguy
Posts: 1829
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Post by guitarguy »

I do it myself. It usually costs about $18 for whatever special my local auto parts store is running...5 qts of oil (high mileage stuff) and a filter for $16.99.

I have a nice lift in the garage at my office that we are welcome to use, so I'm down to about 12 mins start to finish. And I rotate my own tires too, even though the shop where I bought them would do it free.

It saves so much gas and time waiting around doing it myself. Of course, I'm lucky to be able to use a lift and air tools and not have to crawl around or work out in the elements.
User avatar
zaplunken
Posts: 1034
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:07 am

Post by zaplunken »

Peter Foley wrote:I do not change the filter when I change the oil myself.
This is akin to working outside in 90 degrees sweating all day then taking a shower and putting your sweat soaked underwear and clothes back on.

Not a good thing but hey it's your engine.... :roll:
User avatar
Frugal Al
Posts: 1727
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 10:09 am

Post by Frugal Al »

Zap, there was a time when I would have agreed with you, but most filters really don't hold much oil anymore. I agree with Peter, 3500 mi/6 mth is a bit premature to change a filter (I'd go further and say it's too early to change the oil as well, unless it's severe conditions, and then I suggest going to synthetic and change annually)

Honda (as an example) recommends changing their filter every other oil change, under normal operating conditions. Also tests have shown that a used filter with a "filter bed layer" filters better than a new filter (a test by Mercedes, I believe). So no, changing oil without changing the filter is not the end of the world, particularly with low miles, and it might even be beneficial. Those practicing extended oil changes should still change the filter with every change.
User avatar
zaplunken
Posts: 1034
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:07 am

Post by zaplunken »

Frugal Al wrote:Zap, there was a time when I would have agreed with you, but most filters really don't hold much oil anymore. I agree with Peter, 3500 mi/6 mth is a bit premature to change a filter (I'd go further and say it's too early to change the oil as well, unless it's severe conditions, and then I suggest going to synthetic and change annually)

Honda (as an example) recommends changing their filter every other oil change, under normal operating conditions. Also tests have shown that a used filter with a "filter bed layer" filters better than a new filter (a test by Mercedes, I believe). So no, changing oil without changing the filter is not the end of the world, particularly with low miles, and it might even be beneficial. Those practicing extended oil changes should still change the filter with every change.
Al,

I don't see why the filter not holding much oil matters. Isn't the paper in the filter filled with particles and contaminants from combustion that it filtered? I'd think running clean oil thru that would contaminate the new oil pretty fast even if the filter drains but if the filter is positioned such that it retains oil then the new oil is being mixed with the old contaminated oil. I change my oil every 3,000 miles so to me 3,500 is over due. I have a 1991 Honda and use non synthetic oil.

I'm surprised that Honda recommends a filter change every other oil change, maybe they want to sell you a new engine at 150,000 miles? Mine has 306,000 miles and runs fine, clean under the valve cover too.

Could you explain "Also tests have shown that a used filter with a "filter bed layer" filters better than a new filter"?
User avatar
Frugal Al
Posts: 1727
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 10:09 am

Post by Frugal Al »

Zap, most quality oil filters have enough filter capacity to last at least a couple regular changes. Ford engineers (I mistakenly thought Mercedes) did an SAE report on micronic oil filters a few years back that determined that small particles filling the paper element actually increase the SPFE (small particle filtration efficiency) of the filter, to a point. These particles do not further contaminate the oil passing through them in an otherwise healthy engine. I cannot find the paper but I found reference to it at Bob's Oil Guy site , however. They've cut open used filters open and most have plenty of capacity left and are in good shape.

Please note, we're not talking about using a filter to the brink of failure and keeping it in the car. Peter Foley noted he changed his oil every 3500 miles or so, which is really short for todays filters. While some might find it controversial, going 7000 miles (regular driving) or so on any quality filter should not be a problem.

Old habits die hard, however, and I've got mine as well. With Honda's Maintenance Minder extending oil changes out to 8,500 miles and beyond in some cases, that would be 17k+ miles on a filter going two changes. Too long for me, and apparently too long for some Honda dealerships, as many are changing it with every oil change. I'd have no problem with 5k or 6k, though. We all have to choose the risk level we're comfortable with.
User avatar
Scott S
Posts: 1519
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:28 am
Location: CID

Post by Scott S »

3,000 mile OCI's have been obsolete ever since oil filters were added to cars. It's obvious why the oil-change places try to keep everyone on a 3,000 mile schedule, though... :roll:

- Scott
infecto
Posts: 934
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:50 pm

Post by infecto »

zaplunken wrote:

I'm surprised that Honda recommends a filter change every other oil change, maybe they want to sell you a new engine at 150,000 miles? Mine has 306,000 miles and runs fine, clean under the valve cover too.
This kind of thinking is whats wrong. You do realize they run these engines before releasing them on setups that simulate hundreds of thousands of miles under different variables. In other words they know what they are doing.

With that said I change my Honda at 10k miles. I do change the filter every change even though Honda states every other. Pretty much always buy oil+filter specials so i change everything.
jmbkb4
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:47 pm

Post by jmbkb4 »

...................no
User avatar
graveday
Posts: 514
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:03 am
Location: Upstate Calif. near Sacramento

Post by graveday »

I'm down to changing the oil only on the beater. Don't want to corrupt the warranty on the others. I used to do a lot more, but that went out with computers, helicoils, MacPherson struts, and timing belts.
User avatar
Info_Hound
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:47 am
Location: Threw a dart in a map and moved

Post by Info_Hound »

My local Chevy dealer has a $1.95 oil change deal. All makes and models. Really!

So I drive whichever vehicle needs an oil and filter change up on a Saturday morning and let them do it for me. In and out in 45 mins max.
retcaveman
Posts: 911
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:12 pm

Post by retcaveman »

I am another one who used to do it myself... years ago before I got involved with my career. The dealers usually have specials that make the cost reasonable. When you add in shopping for the oil/filter, disposing of the old oil/filter, your time and effort and potential mess, much better IMO to pay to have it done. And if you are having other work done, it's kind of a one and done event. And sometimes, while the vehicle is up in the air, the mechanic will see something else that needs attention that I might very well have missed.
"The wants of mortals are containers that can never be filled." (Socrates)
snowbound
Posts: 214
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:33 pm

Post by snowbound »

I have never changed my own oil. I trust the dealership or mechanic far more than I trust myself.
"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure"
Yipee-Ki-O
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun May 24, 2009 12:42 pm

Post by Yipee-Ki-O »

I purchased Mobil 1 today for my semiannual oil change and was pleased to see it now comes in a 5-qt bottle. It was always a pain to buy a gallon plus one quart and sometimes messy to get the used oil back in same.
User avatar
norookie
Posts: 3016
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:55 pm

Post by norookie »

snowbound wrote:I have never changed my own oil. I trust the dealership or mechanic far more than I trust myself.
:D Thats smart! You only venture into your areas of experience. If I had the capabilities and facilities I'd do it myself, after the engine was slightly warm. However if you never venture outside your comfort zone how are you to learn "stuffs".<shrug>
" Wealth usually leads to excess " Cicero 55 b.c
User avatar
Peter Foley
Posts: 5202
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:34 am
Location: Lake Wobegon

Post by Peter Foley »

Zap
I realize my procedure my not be textbook. Part of my motivation is tied to the seasonal changes in Minnesota. Twice a year, spring and fall, works well for Minnesota. I'd rather not change it myself November thru March, and 7000 miles between annual oil changes is a little more than I'm comfortable with.
I could go synthetic and change oil and filter once a year based on the miles I drive and the climate in which I live.

Frugal Al - thanks for your support. :)
Topic Author
newbie_Mo
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:28 pm

Post by newbie_Mo »

Thanks for the replies.

I have decided to give it a try this weekend. Not to save money.. but save the hassle of going to my mechanics. They are very busy. I have been told many times that they were unable to change the oil for me w/i the hour. I changed my headlight, car door handles and fixed the steering wheel leak (with lucas oil), so I think changing the engine oil wouldn't be too much problem for me. I just have to get a jack to life the car. :D
Bobalude
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:43 am

Post by Bobalude »

newbie_Mo wrote:Thanks for the replies.

I have decided to give it a try this weekend. Not to save money.. but save the hassle of going to my mechanics. They are very busy. I have been told many times that they were unable to change the oil for me w/i the hour. I changed my headlight, car door handles and fixed the steering wheel leak (with lucas oil), so I think changing the engine oil wouldn't be too much problem for me. I just have to get a jack to life the car. :D
If you do not plan on performing other car maintenance besides oil changes, I highly recommend getting Rhino Ramps (or equivalent) if you have a driveway/work area that can use them.

Will save you time and effort to change the oil, but still allows you to get under the car to eyeball/check other parts of the car... some are easy to spot broken/bad pieces... like broken boots/grease leaking, or leaking transmission fluid.
User avatar
HardKnocker
Posts: 2063
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:55 am
Location: New Jersey USA

Post by HardKnocker »

I change my own oil but it probably saves me only $10 but I save time by not having to go to the local shop, leave the car, etc.

It does get you to be more aware of your car's condition and what's going on with it. This is good.

Cars are very sophisticated today and there is not much you can still do with them without many specialized tools.
“Gold gets dug out of the ground, then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”--Warren Buffett
Stupendous
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:22 pm

Post by Stupendous »

It saves me ~$60 to do it myself vs going to the dealer. Diesel trucks aren't cheap. I also do my toys myself as well since those require changes every ~7.5 hours of running time. I save time as well by doing myself. It's easy.
IMADreamer
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 12:12 pm
Location: Illinois

Post by IMADreamer »

I have always done all of my own maintenance. I just enjoy it, if it saves me money that's a bonus.
User avatar
Magnetar
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:53 pm

Post by Magnetar »

I used to change my own oil. Now, I stop by a shop on my way to work, surf the internet on their wifi and spend about an additional $15 twice a year.
"Without discipline, no matter how good you are, you are nothing! One day, you're going to meet a tough guy who takes your best shot. Don't get discouraged. That's when the discipline comes in."
Yipee-Ki-O
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun May 24, 2009 12:42 pm

Post by Yipee-Ki-O »

I second the ramp idea versus working under a car propped up by jacks. I have a friend who was fortunate to survive an aortic tear when his car fell off jacks and landed on his chest. And another friend who did not survive when a truck he was working on slipped off jacks.
Bobalude
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:43 am

Post by Bobalude »

Yipee-Ki-O wrote:I second the ramp idea versus working under a car propped up by jacks. I have a friend who was fortunate to survive an aortic tear when his car fell off jacks and landed on his chest. And another friend who did not survive when a truck he was working on slipped off jacks.
I'm sorry to hear that. Do your friends use jack stands? I only use floor jacks to raise the car and I always set the car on jack stands before beginning work under or on the side of a car.
Yipee-Ki-O
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun May 24, 2009 12:42 pm

Post by Yipee-Ki-O »

Bobalude wrote:
Yipee-Ki-O wrote:I second the ramp idea versus working under a car propped up by jacks. I have a friend who was fortunate to survive an aortic tear when his car fell off jacks and landed on his chest. And another friend who did not survive when a truck he was working on slipped off jacks.
I'm sorry to hear that. Do your friends use jack stands? I only use floor jacks to raise the car and I always set the car on jack stands before beginning work under or on the side of a car.
Thank you. I'm not sure whether either was using jack stands, but knowing them both I suspect not. The first incident was 35+ years ago and the second one happend in a faraway state while I was busy attending to sick parents so I didn't get all the gory details. My friend who died was quite a character who had dodged many opportunities over the years for an early demise, alas his luck finally ran out. I agree a floor jack is safer and used with jack stands safer yet. Fortunately my 4-Runner sits up high enough and I'm still thin enough I can wiggle underneath without having to lift it.
BertB
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:30 pm

Post by BertB »

I don't do any of my own auto maintenance/repair work. Well, maybe a little tweak here and there, but no more knuckle busting for me. (I have a distant memory of lying on my back under an old Ford van and changing the clutch plate by unbolting the transmission and lowering/raising the tranny on and with my chest....a bruising experience!)

Luckily, I have a couple of mechanics I trust. Their shop has been operating for 25+ years and I have getting my 2 autos maintained there for 8 years. My previous pattern with repair shops was that I liked them at first, but lost confidence in them over time.

Due to increasing age and affluence, I have progressively given up: fixing autos, moving my residence with UHaul trucks, mowing the lawn, plowing the driveway and shoveling the sidewalk.

As the saying goes, my favorite power tool these days is my cell phone.
tvp99
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:12 am

Post by tvp99 »

SPG8 wrote:Time Out.

I've seen oil changes for $100 and $150 posted. We take a Honda Accord to the local garage for $39.

What's a Boglehead, anyway? Is it a low-cost index investor or do you have to be cheap, too?

If it's the latter, were there some savings left on the table by buying a vehicle that requires a $100 or $150 oil change?
Our cars require expensive oil changes (MB E-class and CLS) - It's my LUXURY-allocation, balanced with a Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index Fund. :wink:

I consider myself a gear-head and enjoy working on cars - but those German sedans can be a pain in the rear. I hardly ever look under the hood anymore.
User avatar
Padlin
Posts: 682
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: MA

Post by Padlin »

I do my own oil, the truck cost me $17, the car $13. Originally it was about the $, now it's mostly habit but also to save time. Takes about 15 minutes to do both vehicles. My bosses father in law burns the old oil to heat his garage. My wife takes her car in.
Regards | Bob
bmelikia
Posts: 637
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:23 pm

Post by bmelikia »

Well, I definitely am pampered with my company farm truck. . .

Free gas (for both business and personal use)
Insurance paid by company
No car payment or money in a depreciating asset
The farm has an auto department that calls me on my radio when its time to take my truck into the shop to get serviced
If anything breaks it is the companies expense, not mine. . .
"I would rather die with money, than live without it...." - Bogleheads member Ron | | "The greatest enemy of a good plan, is the dream of a perfect plan." | -Bogle
User avatar
Padlin
Posts: 682
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: MA

Post by Padlin »

Good timing for this thread. Was thinking about this today while I was changing the oil on my 2 vehicles.

The filter would not come off the car, had to fight it for 10 minutes. After removing one of the brush guards I got it but ended up with drips of oils here and there on the drive way as well as breaking 3 of the 5 bolts holding the pan. When refilling (terrible car to put oils in) I ended up pouring some on the engine, another few minutes cleaning that up.

The truck was better but I still ended up with a few drops on the pavement. While I was under it I found I have a tranny fluid leak somewhere so I gave myself more work to do tomorrow.

Ended up taking an hour and a bit of swearing to get the 2 done which is about what it'd take me to drive the 2 miles to the Valvoline shop. Today was the last time I'll do it myself, I through away the oil pan. I've got better things to get aggravated at then this, I could have been golfing.
Regards | Bob
Post Reply