Author Topic: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?  (Read 32597 times)

Michread

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DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« on: May 29, 2015, 01:00:38 PM »
Is it worth it to buy the equipment to do our own oil change (jack, etc)?  Dh says it's not worth it, and he will not do it. It maybe worth it if our young adult sons do it; they have a lifetime of car ownership ahead of them.  And they could learn on our cars now.


dycker1978

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2015, 01:19:50 PM »
I have done mine for ever.  It costs me about $25-30 for synthetic here, a shop charges about $75-80.  Worth it for me.  I also know that everything has been done correctly and have some control over the other maintenance items at the same time... such as greasing the wheel bearings.

nereo

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2015, 01:24:16 PM »
It's definitely worth it!  It takes about 15-20 minutes (double that the first time) and allows you to see potential problems before they become big problems.  If you run synthetic you'll save $50 per change (probably save $15-20 over conventional oil).  Finally, you know it was done right and aren't pushed on the bogus up-sells that many quickie-lube type places thrive on.

mikesinWV

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 01:27:36 PM »
Definitely worth it and the equipment really isn't that expensive.

Rather than buying a jack, consider buying ramps.  I personally feel safer crawling under the car when it's on ramps.

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2015, 02:52:31 PM »
I buy 2 changes worth of supplies at a time.  Cuts my lookup/purchase time in half.  I do both cars at the same time despite slightly different milages.  Changes take a fraction of the time it would take at a shop and +1 for no upsell.  Old oil gets funneled back into oil jugs and dropped off for recycling when a big enough batch builds up.

Spork

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2015, 03:20:11 PM »
Definitely worth it and the equipment really isn't that expensive.

Rather than buying a jack, consider buying ramps.  I personally feel safer crawling under the car when it's on ramps.

I hear "jacks" and "ramps" a lot.   Unless your car is super low to the ground... you probably need neither.  Your catch pan is just too tall.

ncornilsen

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2015, 04:19:43 PM »
Definitely worth it and the equipment really isn't that expensive.

Rather than buying a jack, consider buying ramps.  I personally feel safer crawling under the car when it's on ramps.

Never, EVER crawl under a car that is only on a jack. ALWAYS use jack stands. Give the car a good jerk first too before going under it.

I have started doing the oil myself. I buy the oil at walmart (by far the cheapest place to get oil) and get the filter from Amazon or add it to a RockAuto order for something else.

dycker1978

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2015, 04:57:36 PM »
I don't need jacks or ramps.  I can fit underneath enough to change the oil.  It is kinds tight, but  I make it work

paddedhat

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2015, 08:34:25 PM »
Definitely worth it and the equipment really isn't that expensive.

Rather than buying a jack, consider buying ramps.  I personally feel safer crawling under the car when it's on ramps.

I hear "jacks" and "ramps" a lot.   Unless your car is super low to the ground... you probably need neither.  Your catch pan is just too tall.

This is correct for most cars out there. We have a CRV and there is barely room to get the job done, but once you do it a few times, it becomes pretty routine. As for it being worth it, hell yea it is. I can do the job in roughly twenty minutes and using Mobil One full synthetic and a decent filter, it's less than $32 bucks.
 It doesn't matter to me if that's cheaper than having it done by a "professional", even if it isn't. The issue is that there are far too many places that can't seem to do this simple job well, and consistently correct. I was on the road last winter, and didn't have tools with me, so I went to a dealer. The cost of a change was less than I pay for parts. Issue #1. They barely had the keys in their grimy little paws and they are giving me a heart to heart talk about how my tires needed to be changed ASAP. Nice try, but pure bullshit.  they in fact lasted another four months, until they were worn out according to the tire manufacturer. I also got far better tires, for less money at an independent shop. Issue #2, they have the vehicle in the shop and are crawling all over it, looking for more work to perform. They now have their grimy little nose pickers in the engine and behind the glove box, hoping to find dirty cabin air and engine filters. I change them once a year for about $30. They want $70 to change filters that are still CLEAN. I tell them to quite jerking around, and do what I came in for. I later had to reassemble the glove box correctly. Finally, as I'm about to pay, there is a bullshit "shop fee" on the bill for $8. I refuse to pay it. I check the car later and it's got 5-3/4 Quarts of oil. The thing should have 4-1/2.  I'm on vacation, but have to dump the excess oil into a Tupperware container I found, to correct the problem. None of this is anything out of the ordinary when you pay to have your car "serviced" these days.

That's why I really prefer to do my own work on all of my stuff.

cshaw

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2015, 10:53:21 PM »
I'm in the DIY camp as well.

I typically purchase my oil and filters on Amazon (prime membership) unless I can find them cheaper locally (not too often unless on sale).

I just did oil/filter changes on three vehicles for about what I'd pay for one at Jiffy Lube.  Yes, I have to dispose of the oil but I've got a 3 gallon jug I empty at Walmart when it gets full.

I use a hydraulic jack, two stands, a creeper, and a container to capture the used oil.  I have to lift my daughter's and wife's car to get under them.  I can get under my truck just fine.  I typically rotate tires at the same time.



 

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2015, 11:34:11 PM »
Is it worth it to buy the equipment to do our own oil change (jack, etc)?  Dh says it's not worth it, and he will not do it. It maybe worth it if our young adult sons do it; they have a lifetime of car ownership ahead of them.  And they could learn on our cars now.

If your husband doesn't want to do it, then it isn't worth it. It is a dirty job, you have to safely dispose of the used oil, and maybe he has zero mechanical skills.

That said, I change my own and for me it is worth it.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2015, 12:18:17 AM »
I did when I used to change the oil every 5,000km, but if I'm following the normal 10-15,000km service intervals, I take it to a shop (I did with my last car). That way they can notice things on the car that I wouldn't.

A service is about more than just changing the oil. I know it's not Mustachian, but if a couple of hundred bucks once a year means a shop notices something with the brakes or suspension that I don't notice before it lets go, it's worth it to me.

That said, changing the oil oneself is pretty easy, I used to use ramps for it and kept another empty oil bottle for the stuff from the sump.

Spork

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2015, 07:48:01 AM »
I did when I used to change the oil every 5,000km, but if I'm following the normal 10-15,000km service intervals, I take it to a shop (I did with my last car). That way they can notice things on the car that I wouldn't.

A service is about more than just changing the oil. I know it's not Mustachian, but if a couple of hundred bucks once a year means a shop notices something with the brakes or suspension that I don't notice before it lets go, it's worth it to me.

That said, changing the oil oneself is pretty easy, I used to use ramps for it and kept another empty oil bottle for the stuff from the sump.

I think this might be true if you are taking your car to a real mechanic for an oil change -- which is going to cost a little more.

If you're going to a quicky oil change, you're likely to get a high school kid that isn't going to look for anything else -- but will be much cheaper in comparison.

paddedhat

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2015, 07:19:32 PM »
I did when I used to change the oil every 5,000km, but if I'm following the normal 10-15,000km service intervals, I take it to a shop (I did with my last car). That way they can notice things on the car that I wouldn't.

A service is about more than just changing the oil. I know it's not Mustachian, but if a couple of hundred bucks once a year means a shop notices something with the brakes or suspension that I don't notice before it lets go, it's worth it to me.

That said, changing the oil oneself is pretty easy, I used to use ramps for it and kept another empty oil bottle for the stuff from the sump.

In many cases you are suffering from a totally false sense of security here in North America, if you think that the shop you go to is performing a wonderful, "Fifty point check" or some other bullshit. Chances are they have a guy who can barely tie his shoes, slinging new oil into your car, and getting paid a bit over minimum wage to do so. He does a half assed job of actually changing the oil, then blows through the list, and checks all kinds of things off that claims to have diligently inspected, but hasn't even looked at in the last hundred cars.

My kid is an engineer and supervisor in a small, family owned oil services (fracking)company. He just had a year old, $75K  F550 truck end up with a totally shot front end. It had 20K on the ODO, and was in the dealership for lube and oil service four times. Every time it was "serviced" the "tech" checked off having lubing all of the front suspension fittings, and a few dozen other things he never did. The nearly new truck now needs thousands of dollars of repairs, since there hasn't been a grease gun within ten yards of it, since it left the factory. The best part was that my kid got a speech from the service writer about how it was HIS fault for not maintaining his vehicles, since they have to be lubed on a regular basis. The guy was a bit shocked to see a pile of invoices showing that his own pack of idiots not only failed to do the work, but lied about it.

If you talk to any real dealer mechanics, they all have stories of having to do tires, bearings, CV joints, batteries and other work on recently sold "factory certified" used vehicles. These cars are typically sold as thoroughly inspected and come with a fancy checklist, signed off by the clown that inspected everything on the 100+ item list. Problem is that a lot of these underpaid knuckle-draggers just glance at the overall condition of the car, take it for a quick drive, then check off all the boxes. I really pissed of a salesman when looking at a used car for one of my kids. I demanded that it got put on the lift after a test drive. He told me that I was wasting time, since he had the holy checklist in the paperwork, and what could I possibly find that his "expert" would of missed? I knew that there was a tire issue, and once it was on the lift, it was glaringly obvious that one of the $200 low profile tires had hit a curb and had a huge bubble on the inside sidewall. It got a new tire and alignment. Hardly surprising to me, the salesman however, did his best to feign shock.

Bottom line is that I would never take any checklist from the average dealer, or high volume service center as being anything but a waste of paper. If I ask a trusted, reliable mechanic to inspect my vehicle, and pay him to take the time to do so, it's another matter entirely.

Blueskies123

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2015, 07:50:34 PM »
I could no longer take the high pressure up selling and started changing the oil myself.  The last time I went for an oil change they tried to see me a transmission fluid change.  I told them transmission was sealed and he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

paddedhat

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2015, 08:12:06 PM »
I could no longer take the high pressure up selling and started changing the oil myself.  The last time I went for an oil change they tried to see me a transmission fluid change.  I told them transmission was sealed and he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

Well, you are both right. It's "sealed" since it's part of a scam to get the public to believe that it's another "maintenance free" part of the vehicle. typically it's pretty easy to do service on, since the flush machine is attached to the cooler lines, and flushes and replaces the fluid without having to pull the pan, or "unseal" the unit.

 I know that it doesn't go over too well with some folks here, but my vehicles get oil and lubed every 5k, and most other fluids every 30K, or two years. I'll take a used car following my protocol and having 150K on it, over a similar one with 75K and a more typical regiment of oil changes every 10K, and only fixing what falls off the car. Mine tend to run, look and feel new, years after most run and look like shit. They also tend to be the outliers that are still going well at 250-300k. We have a two year old CRV with 40K on it. It has new trans, rear diff, and brake fluid, within the last few months. It's all overkill, and in the minds of many, a waste of money. Until, like many of mine over the last decades, it's still running great, years after most of it's litter mates are scrap. 

Jack

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2015, 08:17:03 PM »
I could no longer take the high pressure up selling and started changing the oil myself.  The last time I went for an oil change they tried to see me a transmission fluid change.  I told them transmission was sealed and he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

That kind of thing could go either way: sure, maybe he was just after profit, but on the other hand, the "lifetime fluid" that they put in those transmissions is named such because of the "lifetime" of the warranty, not of the car. Changing the fluid might be the difference between getting 200,000 miles out of it and getting 300,000 miles out of it (in either case, long after the manufacturer stopped giving a shit).

Emilyngh

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2015, 08:20:41 PM »
Is it worth it to buy the equipment to do our own oil change (jack, etc)?  Dh says it's not worth it, and he will not do it. It maybe worth it if our young adult sons do it; they have a lifetime of car ownership ahead of them.  And they could learn on our cars now.

DH has always done ours.   He saw an ad for a $20 oil/filter change and decided to try it and do the math to see what we really save by him doing it.   With taxes and fees, the oil change cost $24 for someone else to do and $17 for him.

So, a $7 savings per car about 1-2x a year or so.   So, he'll probably keep doing it to save the $7 per car, but it was nice to see that it wouldn't be the end of the world if we had to take a car in sometime for some reason instead.

Now, doing slightly more complicated repairs on the cars himself does seem to save a ton of money.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 08:22:52 PM by Emilyngh »

alsoknownasDean

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2015, 06:38:38 AM »
I could no longer take the high pressure up selling and started changing the oil myself.  The last time I went for an oil change they tried to see me a transmission fluid change.  I told them transmission was sealed and he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

That kind of thing could go either way: sure, maybe he was just after profit, but on the other hand, the "lifetime fluid" that they put in those transmissions is named such because of the "lifetime" of the warranty, not of the car. Changing the fluid might be the difference between getting 200,000 miles out of it and getting 300,000 miles out of it (in either case, long after the manufacturer stopped giving a shit).

Or that their definition of 'lifetime' is closer to 100,000 miles. Planned obsolescence and all of that.

That said, I avoid the whole automatic transmission fluid thing by buying a car with a manual transmission. My only vehicle with two pedals is a bicycle :)

I did when I used to change the oil every 5,000km, but if I'm following the normal 10-15,000km service intervals, I take it to a shop (I did with my last car). That way they can notice things on the car that I wouldn't.

A service is about more than just changing the oil. I know it's not Mustachian, but if a couple of hundred bucks once a year means a shop notices something with the brakes or suspension that I don't notice before it lets go, it's worth it to me.

That said, changing the oil oneself is pretty easy, I used to use ramps for it and kept another empty oil bottle for the stuff from the sump.

I think this might be true if you are taking your car to a real mechanic for an oil change -- which is going to cost a little more.

If you're going to a quicky oil change, you're likely to get a high school kid that isn't going to look for anything else -- but will be much cheaper in comparison.

Aye, I haven't had that problem, because I haven't taken it to the express oil change mobs. That's probably why I haven't paid less than $300 for a service for the best part of a decade, either (as opposed to the regular $99-149 service coupons I get with my supermarket dockets).

I'm actually in two minds as to what to do with my current car. It's about 4000km from it's next service (so probably October at this rate), however it's a major service that involves a new timing belt. The dealer for the brand offers capped price servicing (even for my 2002 car), and the quoted price seems pretty good, but I'm still wondering if I'm better off taking it to a local mechanic and paying extra. As I live in an apartment, DIY isn't really a viable option.

Greg

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2015, 10:20:52 AM »
I say take it on for yourself as a way to get to know your car.  For the reasons others have mentioned I've always done my own maintenance and repairs.  Get a good repair manual, buy the right parts, be safe. 

It may not make sense financially on the surface, but the ability to inspect under the engine and get to know your car and its engine are pretty much priceless.

When I had my first car, I took it to an oil change place and was sold a new air filter despite it not really needing one.  I think that was the last time I had an oil change done besides my own garage (or driveway at the time).

Most auto parts places will sell you what you need.  Ramps, work light, gloves, shop rags, a catch pan, oil, filter, even the repair manuals (I prefer Haynes over Chilton, factory issued is even better but $$).  You might need a filter wrench.  If you have a newer car, a variety of tools might be needed to access the filter location.  YouTube is a good resource.  Most parts places will take your old oil for free to recycle it.

nereo

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2015, 12:42:52 PM »

Aye, I haven't had that problem, because I haven't taken it to the express oil change mobs. That's probably why I haven't paid less than $300 for a service for the best part of a decade, either (as opposed to the regular $99-149 service coupons I get with my supermarket dockets).

I went into absolute shock when I saw this, until I realized that your location was Australia and you probably weren't talking aobut $USDs.  Then I looked up the exchange rate (about $1=$1.30AUD) and I'm still shocked...

a 'regular service' costs up to $150 down there?! WTF?  Like... your basic oil change, tire rotation and fluid check?  whaaaa??

BlueMR2

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2015, 12:45:35 PM »
I'm mixed on this one.  I DIY my Mitsubishi and Suzuki, but both Toyotas go to the dealership to have it done.  The Mitsubishi and Suzuki I can get all the supplies I need from a couple of stores in easy walking/biking distance and they're easy to work on.  The Toyotas, I have to go to the dealer anyways (too long to walk, and a dangerous bike ride which I *occasionally* will do for parts) for the best filters.  I provide them the oil, and it ends up being around $5 labor (plus the filter which is around $10) to have them do it (and the filters and drains are in difficult places).

lithy

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2015, 12:59:46 PM »
Even if the price were cheaper, I think it still pays to change your own oil.  Especially since the only places that will be close to as cheap as DIY are quick change places that will just try to upsell you on things you might not need and as mentioned above, these guys are rarely mechanics. 

It is your car, you will know it better than a mechanic that only has it for a day, you should know its quirks and flaws in and out.  You should know when something feels wrong (of course, don't be a hypochondriac with your car, it is a mechanical object and might squeak every so often). 

Plus to say that you don't change your own oil because you have no mechanical ability is like saying you call an electrician in when your lightbulb goes out.  An oil change is loosening a bolt and a filter, there really is no mechanical ability involved.  Plus when you do it, you can guarantee that you won't use an impact wrench to reinstall your drain plug or tighten your oil filter down so hard that it strips the stud.

Bob W

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2015, 05:32:50 PM »
Totally not worth it in my opinion.   I have mine done at 6 k at Walmart while shopping.  30 bucks twice a year.   Sure I could diy it for 15.   But for 30 bucks a year I leave to the pros.    You've more important shit to do I hope?

Spork

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2015, 05:53:16 PM »
Totally not worth it in my opinion.   I have mine done at 6 k at Walmart while shopping.  30 bucks twice a year.   Sure I could diy it for 15.   But for 30 bucks a year I leave to the pros.    You've more important shit to do I hope?

In my case: it takes me longer to drive to Walmart & back than to DIY.  ...and I'm not sure the guy changing oil at Walmart is "a pro".

Plus I have way too many vehicles...  (Although oil change is probably the least yearly cost in that formula if you disregard the tractor.)

alsoknownasDean

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2015, 07:24:10 PM »

Aye, I haven't had that problem, because I haven't taken it to the express oil change mobs. That's probably why I haven't paid less than $300 for a service for the best part of a decade, either (as opposed to the regular $99-149 service coupons I get with my supermarket dockets).

I went into absolute shock when I saw this, until I realized that your location was Australia and you probably weren't talking aobut $USDs.  Then I looked up the exchange rate (about $1=$1.30AUD) and I'm still shocked...

a 'regular service' costs up to $150 down there?! WTF?  Like... your basic oil change, tire rotation and fluid check?  whaaaa??

Yep.

http://www.ktas.com.au/car-servicing/packaged-servicing/

From experience, most smaller (non-chain) mechanic shops charge out their services at around $100AUD an hour, plus consumables and parts, plus 10% GST.

It all adds up. That said, if I really wanted to reduce my car costs, I'd do without a car.

paddedhat

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2015, 07:25:14 PM »
Totally not worth it in my opinion.   I have mine done at 6 k at Walmart while shopping.  30 bucks twice a year.   Sure I could diy it for 15.   But for 30 bucks a year I leave to the pros.    You've more important shit to do I hope?
Bob when you find a "pro" at Walmart, please notify management, since that indicates an obvious system failure.  The co. has a good system for idiot proofing a lot of their tasks, but that doesn't mean that they are not buying new engines and chasing rims down the road when bubba forgot to check the lug nuts. Like Spork correctly notes, I can service my car is less time than it takes to drive there, and secondly, I have used them about a dozen times while on the road, and know fully well that I have to double check absolutely everything they do, since they are only willing to pay bottom of the scale wages, and get what they deserve when it comes to skill and experience levels.

To specifically answer your question, If I can do the work faster, cheaper, and better than the knuckledraggers at Walmart, I do not, in fact have, better things to do. I also do not pull out of MY garage with loose lug nuts, a dry dipstick, loose drain plug, or anything else these clowns could F-up while "servicing" your vehicle. Maybe you will get lucky and never have a problem like this, or maybe not. I do know that I do business with a large independent shop that is located five minutes from a local Walmart auto care shop. At first my guy was not happy to have them move up the street. A decade later, he has more work than he can handle, and the monkeys at Walmart are an endless source of amusement and customers.

paddedhat

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2015, 07:43:39 PM »
I just though of another reason it's "worth it" to DIY this task. MY son's girlfriend had been taking her mid-2000s Corolla in to the same shop for oil changes for the last few years. He told he that he would be doing it, since it wasn't worth the time and money to have it done "professionally". This car has a cartridge style filter, which is basically the paper "guts" of a more typical spin on filter, that is placed in a canister on the engine. When he opened the filter housing up, there was nothing but a mushy lump of material jammed in the bottom of the canister. It was evident that the filter hadn't been changed in years, and had disintegrated into a lump of dirty paper.

Now two things come in to play here. First the garage knew that they could get away with this because she was a regular customer, and a young girl, so it was unlikely that somebody else would ever open the housing, and fish the remains of the old filter out. Second, it's a concealed part, not like a shiny new spin on filter that you can spot by glancing in the engine compartment. Chances are the car has run at least  at least 30-40K with out a new filter, so who knows how badly the motor has been compromised.

lithy

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2015, 08:53:28 PM »
I just though of another reason it's "worth it" to DIY this task. MY son's girlfriend had been taking her mid-2000s Corolla in to the same shop for oil changes for the last few years. He told he that he would be doing it, since it wasn't worth the time and money to have it done "professionally". This car has a cartridge style filter, which is basically the paper "guts" of a more typical spin on filter, that is placed in a canister on the engine. When he opened the filter housing up, there was nothing but a mushy lump of material jammed in the bottom of the canister. It was evident that the filter hadn't been changed in years, and had disintegrated into a lump of dirty paper.

Now two things come in to play here. First the garage knew that they could get away with this because she was a regular customer, and a young girl, so it was unlikely that somebody else would ever open the housing, and fish the remains of the old filter out. Second, it's a concealed part, not like a shiny new spin on filter that you can spot by glancing in the engine compartment. Chances are the car has run at least  at least 30-40K with out a new filter, so who knows how badly the motor has been compromised.

Yep.  I'm not usually one to put a lot of stock into anecdotes, but I've seen enough stories of the little old lady with a stack of Jiffy Lube receipts who blew an engine at 60k because the oil had never been changed to just go ahead and do it myself. 

It literally takes 10 minutes of work and while the oil drains, I just walk back inside and play around on the computer some more.

Jack

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2015, 09:21:18 AM »
That said, I avoid the whole automatic transmission fluid thing by buying a car with a manual transmission. My only vehicle with two pedals is a bicycle :)

That just means the fluid you should change out is gear oil instead of ATF.

Plus to say that you don't change your own oil because you have no mechanical ability is like saying you call an electrician in when your lightbulb goes out.  An oil change is loosening a bolt and a filter, there really is no mechanical ability involved.  Plus when you do it, you can guarantee that you won't use an impact wrench to reinstall your drain plug or tighten your oil filter down so hard that it strips the stud.

Well, to be fair, it is possible to screw it up by (for example) denting the rocker panel by jacking the unibody car up in the wrong place, using the wrong oil or filter, failing to tighten the drain plug, filter or cap back down afterwards, or overfilling or underfilling... but then again, the idiots at Jiffy Lube are more likely than a DIYer to make the same mistakes (other than the first one, since Jiffy Lube doesn't use jacks).

zolotiyeruki

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2015, 10:50:35 AM »
I do it myself.  Sure, I go with the cheap oil and cheap filter, and so I only save a few bucks compared to the coupons I occasionally get in the mail.  But I know that the proper amount of oil goes back in, with the right quantities, and it gives me a chance to check all the other fluids while the oil drains.

It's a gateway drug--once you've changed your oil, the next step is air filters, then brake pads, and before you know it, you're up to your armpits in the engine bay replacing your timing belt! :)

eyePod

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2015, 11:20:36 AM »
Just did mine yesterday. It made me feel manly.

The other thing is that we stock up on Black Friday. We have a ton of extra oil and filters since they're nearly free at that point with the rebates.

nereo

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2015, 11:32:48 AM »
Just did mine yesterday. It made me feel manly.

The other thing is that we stock up on Black Friday. We have a ton of extra oil and filters since they're nearly free at that point with the rebates.
yeah.... I order filters in 2-packs off Amazon, where they're about 50% less than at any auto-parts store.  Mobil 1 full synthetic is about $24 for 5 quarts with free delivery.  No need to ever make a special trip to the store.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2015, 03:40:30 PM »
Another thing to note is that if you change your own oil, you'll be the first to notice any issues (extra sludgy, or metal shavings in the oil) and have a chance to get it fixed.

Jeremy E.

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2015, 08:17:58 AM »
I don't mind changing my oil, and it's not expensive to start. All you need is an oil pan, but I prefer having ramps too. I used to change my oil everytime, even made my own ramps. I just hate having to take the oil to the recycling place (20 minute drive).  There is a oil change place that will change my oil for $10 if I supply the oil and filter, so I have been doing this to save myself 40 minutes of driving and some gas.

Spork

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2015, 08:36:18 AM »
I don't mind changing my oil, and it's not expensive to start. All you need is an oil pan, but I prefer having ramps too. I used to change my oil everytime, even made my own ramps. I just hate having to take the oil to the recycling place (20 minute drive).  There is a oil change place that will change my oil for $10 if I supply the oil and filter, so I have been doing this to save myself 40 minutes of driving and some gas.

My solution:  I have 3-4 5 gallon plastic buckets.  (I use old paint buckets.)   It takes quite a few oil changes (or one tractor hydraulic change) before I have to run the oil to the recycle.  Around here, *any* place that does oil changes is required by law to accept recycled oil.  So the nearest oil change shop *is* the recycler.  (YMMV...  It is a state law in Texas.)

zolotiyeruki

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2015, 10:11:28 AM »

My solution:  I have 3-4 5 gallon plastic buckets.  (I use old paint buckets.)   It takes quite a few oil changes (or one tractor hydraulic change) before I have to run the oil to the recycle.  Around here, *any* place that does oil changes is required by law to accept recycled oil.  So the nearest oil change shop *is* the recycler.  (YMMV...  It is a state law in Texas.)
Same is true here in Illinois--you can take your oil pretty much anywhere and they'll accept it for recycling.  I know it still has some value even when used, so it probably makes them some profit.

Candace

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #37 on: June 02, 2015, 10:25:24 AM »
My boyfriend has a couple of big flat bricks that allow him to get under both of our cars comfortably by driving so that the front tires are on the bricks. No ramps or jacks needed.

blueridge

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #38 on: June 02, 2015, 10:30:04 AM »
I don't think it saves us that much on cost, but is definitely quicker than going to the shop, as many folks have mentioned. 

Besides making sure it's done right, changing your own oil is basically a way to get under the car, open the hood, and check things out on a regular basis.  Once I get the mess of the oil change done, I find I'm more inspired to run through any other minor maintenance that might need done, such as bleeding the brakes. 

I like the 5-gallon paint bucket idea for used oil. 

Jack

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #39 on: June 02, 2015, 10:48:58 AM »
Same is true here in Illinois--you can take your oil pretty much anywhere and they'll accept it for recycling.  I know it still has some value even when used, so it probably makes them some profit.

Some of it gets used to make my preferred oil, which is 50% recycled.

Armer Student

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #40 on: June 02, 2015, 11:05:05 AM »
For me it's not worth it. I would pay more for material alone than I pay at the shop. It only takes them 10 minutes to change oil + filter, clean everything up afterwards and even bring the oil dipstick to your driver's window to show you: oil level is right under maximum.

HipGnosis

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #41 on: June 02, 2015, 12:08:32 PM »
There is a oil change place that will change my oil for $10 if I supply the oil and filter, so I have been doing this to save myself 40 minutes of driving and some gas.
I'll have to look into that.  Changing oil in WI in winter can be 'challenging'.

HipGnosis

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #42 on: June 02, 2015, 12:17:54 PM »
My solution:  I have 3-4 5 gallon plastic buckets.
I'm not sure I could lift a full 5 gallon bucket into my trunk - but I wouldn't want to anyway as I'd be afraid of it tipping over.
I have a plastic milk-crate.  I put a heavy trash bag in it, some floor-dry / oil-zorb in the bag and four 3-liter soda bottles (with caps). 
Been using the same bottles for years, and I'm obnoxious about getting my bottles and caps back from the places that don't let me pour out the used oil.

nereo

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #43 on: June 02, 2015, 12:34:25 PM »
My solution:  I have 3-4 5 gallon plastic buckets.
I'm not sure I could lift a full 5 gallon bucket into my trunk - but I wouldn't want to anyway as I'd be afraid of it tipping over.
I have a plastic milk-crate.  I put a heavy trash bag in it, some floor-dry / oil-zorb in the bag and four 3-liter soda bottles (with caps). 
Been using the same bottles for years, and I'm obnoxious about getting my bottles and caps back from the places that don't let me pour out the used oil.
you know they make liquid-tight lids for 5 gallon buckets, right?  And 3 oil-changes-worth of oil weighs about 20 lbs...

Quote
For me it's not worth it. I would pay more for material alone than I pay at the shop. It only takes them 10 minutes to change oil + filter, clean everything up afterwards and even bring the oil dipstick to your driver's window to show you: oil level is right under maximum.
I'm surprised you can find an oil-change place for less than what you would pay for oil+ filter.  Maybe that's the difference between NA and Germany.  I'm always dubious about oil change 'techs' showing me my various fluids to 'prove' that they did the job right. 
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/oil-change-shop-caught-scamming-customers-marketplace-investigation-1.2418675
It's easy to fake and easy for the more shady places to get away with.

Spork

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #44 on: June 02, 2015, 12:51:32 PM »
My solution:  I have 3-4 5 gallon plastic buckets.
I'm not sure I could lift a full 5 gallon bucket into my trunk - but I wouldn't want to anyway as I'd be afraid of it tipping over.
I have a plastic milk-crate.  I put a heavy trash bag in it, some floor-dry / oil-zorb in the bag and four 3-liter soda bottles (with caps). 
Been using the same bottles for years, and I'm obnoxious about getting my bottles and caps back from the places that don't let me pour out the used oil.
you know they make liquid-tight lids for 5 gallon buckets, right?  And 3 oil-changes-worth of oil weighs about 20 lbs...


Yeah, I managed to get paint home from Home Depot in them.  I figure they'll hold oil pretty well.   

Rollin

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2015, 01:17:15 PM »
Definitely worth it and the equipment really isn't that expensive.

Rather than buying a jack, consider buying ramps.  I personally feel safer crawling under the car when it's on ramps.

Never, EVER crawl under a car that is only on a jack. ALWAYS use jack stands. Give the car a good jerk first too before going under it.

I have started doing the oil myself. I buy the oil at walmart (by far the cheapest place to get oil) and get the filter from Amazon or add it to a RockAuto order for something else.

+1,000.  Lost a good friend to ana auto that dropped on him.  His kids lost their dad, wife lost husband, and so on...

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2015, 02:30:01 PM »
I check the local dealers' web sites for service coupons and there is almost always a dealer who has a $19-29 dollar oil change deal.  If the most convenient dealer doesn't have the coupon, they'll likely honor the price on their competitor's coupon. 

Show up 15 minutes early and camp out in the express service lane until they open.  Tell the salesman (they call them "service writers") you only want an oil change and are in a hurry.  Enjoy a free cup of mediocre coffee in their waiting area and read yesterdays' newspaper or connect to their WiFi. 

You'll be out in less than an hour, and while they may "note" items that could/should be done, since you're "in a hurry" they won't suggest doing them then. 

Spork

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #47 on: June 02, 2015, 02:38:24 PM »
I check the local dealers' web sites for service coupons and there is almost always a dealer who has a $19-29 dollar oil change deal.  If the most convenient dealer doesn't have the coupon, they'll likely honor the price on their competitor's coupon. 


at that price (I predict) you will get conventional (not synthetic) oil and a sub optimal filter.

If you want good oil and a good filter, it's going to be more.

Bob W

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #48 on: June 02, 2015, 03:07:26 PM »
Totally not worth it in my opinion.   I have mine done at 6 k at Walmart while shopping.  30 bucks twice a year.   Sure I could diy it for 15.   But for 30 bucks a year I leave to the pros.    You've more important shit to do I hope?
Bob when you find a "pro" at Walmart, please notify management, since that indicates an obvious system failure.  The co. has a good system for idiot proofing a lot of their tasks, but that doesn't mean that they are not buying new engines and chasing rims down the road when bubba forgot to check the lug nuts. Like Spork correctly notes, I can service my car is less time than it takes to drive there, and secondly, I have used them about a dozen times while on the road, and know fully well that I have to double check absolutely everything they do, since they are only willing to pay bottom of the scale wages, and get what they deserve when it comes to skill and experience levels.

To specifically answer your question, If I can do the work faster, cheaper, and better than the knuckledraggers at Walmart, I do not, in fact have, better things to do. I also do not pull out of MY garage with loose lug nuts, a dry dipstick, loose drain plug, or anything else these clowns could F-up while "servicing" your vehicle. Maybe you will get lucky and never have a problem like this, or maybe not. I do know that I do business with a large independent shop that is located five minutes from a local Walmart auto care shop. At first my guy was not happy to have them move up the street. A decade later, he has more work than he can handle, and the monkeys at Walmart are an endless source of amusement and customers.

No offense to you pro change folks ------

I'll be sure to pass this along to my service Manager friend at Walmart and his assistant manager,  Vietnam Vet,  former trucking company owner.  They'll get a big laugh out of it. 

Here is the truth -- Steve and Bill are great guys with years of oil changing experience.   Their staff is highly trained in oil changing (shit yeah they are).  YMMV in whatever town you live in.      So my total oil change time for a year is 12 minutes.  (3 minutes to walk in an sign in,  3 minutes to pick up twice a year.   I'm already shopping their so there is no waiting and no oil disposing.)   That also includes tire rotation,  which on an all wheel drive vehicle should be done at roughly the same time as an oil change.  I have lifetime tire rotation with my tire purchase.   They also check everything for me.   

Never been "sold" anything I didn't need.     

Please don't tell me that you can rotate your tires in 10 minutes as well.   IMHO for the average,  nonmotorhead person it is not worth it.   If time is of no concern,  then go for it.     For a newbee,  why not give it a shot.  Then you can make an informed decision. 

I speak from considerable experience as I have changed oil in my vehicles dozens of time.   Think of it as poaching salmon --- Martha Stewart makes it look easy and indeed it is if you have the tools and expertise to do it.  But my guess is Martha is pretty sick of poaching salmon.  I guess that is where I'm at.  Been there, done that.   Not amused.

It pencils out better if you are doing synthetic oil though.  So yeah, consider the price vs.  convenience.

I say to the OP  -- try it -- you may like it. 


Spork

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #49 on: June 02, 2015, 03:18:42 PM »
Steve and Bill are probably awesome guys with tons of experience.

I'd bet you a beer the oil changes are mostly handled by the newbie high school kid, though.  He'll probably have a ton of experience one day, too. 

Oil change is the drudge work they'll dole out while they tackle real work.