If your car requires an oil change, it is ideal to take it into the service center or an oil change shop. If you believe you could do a DIY oil change yourself, you’re confused. It’s not worth your time or energy. You’re not likely to save any money and there’s a chance of harm. On the flip side, there are simpler methods for saving money on oil changes.
When do DIY oil changes become a bad idea?
- When it is something which has to be carried out by an expert.
- When It’s harmful to health, causes security issues, or can damage the environment.
- If it makes no fiscal sense.
- When it’s messy or more trouble than it’s worth.
Truth be told, you do not save a good deal of cash by changing your own oil. And if you include your labor expenses, you’re probably better off with letting an expert do it for you.
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Why DIY car oil changes don’t make sense
- Supplies: To perform an oil change yourself, you want an oil drain pan, filter wrench, a set of car ramps and jack stands, rubber gloves, funnel, and wiping towels. The first expense before you perform your oil change is about $75-$150. Along with the price of materials, you’ve got to pay someone to eliminate the used oil and filter correctly.
- Disposal: Engine oil is poisonous even when it’s new. If a person inadvertently consumes engine oil, or if it splashes into somebody’s eyes or face, prompt medical care is essential. Old, used motor oil is a lot more dangerous and can be a carcinogen. Coming into contact with used oil is bad for your health. Being a poisonous substance, automotive petroleum poses a serious ecological threat and necessitates careful disposal.
- It’s risky: Engine oil gets scalding hot and the probability of being burnt is quite real if you’re a novice. You also need to get under the car to perform the oil change. If the vehicle isn’t correctly jacked, there’s a probability of death or severe harm if it falls upon you.
- It is messy: Even the pros can’t do it without making a mess. A DIY oil change can get out of hand quickly.
- Knowledge: You have to understand what it is you do. If you apply the incorrect oil, then fill too much or too little or do not follow the ideal procedures, you might be looking at some hefty repair bills. It happens.
- It’s too much trouble and does not make fiscal sense: Unlike many DIY projects, the savings on changing your own oil are insignificant. On the flip side, it will likely cost you even more if you take into account the discount deals and offers that many service facilities provide.
The economics of DIY oil changes
Typical oil change costs about $20 to $50. When you consider that you’re likely to do it just once a calendar year, it isn’t a massive amount. Even if you don’t look at the initial investment and only consideration for the cost of materials, your time, and the attempt, you can expect to save less than $5 per oil change. Is a saving of $5 per year worth the issue and the dangers?
Some people are beyond frugal, they are cheap. However, they too will often pay to get it done. Using the discount vouchers you can normally get an oil change for about $25 to $30 and that sometimes even includes a free car wash depending on where you go.
Then let’s not forget to figure the time to go to the auto parts store, then the time to change the oil, add to that the opportunity to clean up after the oil change then add in again the time to take the oil into a disposable/ recycle area and hope the container does not leak along the way. It’s just not worth the trouble.
Read Next: How to Cut Automotive Gas Costs
How do oil change places make money?
Okay, you get it, it’s cheaper to take your car into an express oil change place versus doing it yourself. But you’re most likely wondering how quick-lube outlets are making money from oil changes as the margin is so low. The truth is they are only breaking even, or typically, taking a small loss on oil changes. They do this only to get you into their shop.
Express Oil and lube shops earn their money by upselling customers with other products or services like a change of air filters or cabin filters, wheel balancing, spare parts, repairs, and new accessories. For these add-on providers, they have healthy margins and they compensate for the tiny negative margin for oil changes. In actuality, many stores offer promotions and discounts for oil changes.
Thinking about the above advertising strategy, the economics, dangers, and the trouble, you’re better off opting for a professional oil change in a service center. Just make sure that they don’t saddle unnecessary accessories or repairs on you.
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3 tips to make some real savings on oil changes
- Change oil in line with the recommendation of the manufacturer. Your oil change shop might request that you change the oil every 3,000 miles or so, but this isn’t required for most modem automobiles.
- Take the bait, but leave the hook. Do not spend money on upgrades or repairs that the store recommends unless you’re convinced they are necessary. Even if you choose to go ahead with different add-ons, check the costs from different shops to make certain that you’re not being taken for a ride.
- Before you take your car in, search for deals online. Many oil change stores offer deals and discount vouchers which can lead to good savings.
Read next: How To Improve Gas Mileage in Any Car
DIY Oil Change
Today, I did an oil and filter change on my 1994 Chevy Cheyenne C/1500 with a 4.3L V6 engine. I did it myself. On this truck, it was very easy to change the oil because it was very simple and clear.
There are several benefits of doing things yourself, but giving your car an oil change isn’t one of them. If you wish to go DIY with vehicle maintenance, start looking for things that are simple and safe. Changing the air filter is something you can easily do in under five minutes. Additionally, it will save you some money.