Author Topic: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?  (Read 32582 times)

Spork

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #100 on: August 29, 2015, 09:52:23 PM »
Some oil trapped in the filter?

Or... Some oil sumps have more than one drain.   We had a 1995 Mustang where the oil pan was split and had a front and rear drain.  The first time I drained the oil I was confused.  It probably only drained 2 quarts and there was no f'in way it was that low.  I crawled around under there and... damn if there were not (effectively) 2 oil pans.

dragoncar

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #101 on: August 30, 2015, 10:34:42 PM »
Some oil trapped in the filter?

Or... Some oil sumps have more than one drain.   We had a 1995 Mustang where the oil pan was split and had a front and rear drain.  The first time I drained the oil I was confused.  It probably only drained 2 quarts and there was no f'in way it was that low.  I crawled around under there and... damn if there were not (effectively) 2 oil pans.

It's likely that you were low, and that now you have the correct amount in there.  Except for foaming the oil and possibly causing some to be sucked through the crankcase ventilation, overfilling doesn't usually cause harm.  Best way to check is to run the engine until warm, turn off and check after it sits for about 20 mins.

Thanks for the help, I think it's probably a combination of what you said. 

There's only one drain plug for sure, but I did make a pretty big mess when I took out the filter.  The filter was also dripping oil, albeit very slowly (like 15 drips on the cardboard under the car since the last dealer oil change.  I'm guessing it was either torqued on there too tight, or got clogged and started dripping.  Hopefully it stops now that I've put on a high quality filter.

Because of the above, it was also probably low to begin with.  I drove the car around, then took the dipstick out and let the car cool down a few hours.  After further research, I learned that Subarus have basically the worst dipsticks ever, and are notoriously hard to read.  After the above procedure I got a much cleaner reading, and I'm maybe 3/4 of the way to the full line.  Not sure if it's worth cracking a bottle to get it dead on the full line at this point.

I also probably didn't drain it completely.  I might have mentioned I drained it cold, but did wait for the dripping to slow.  I now realize that probably leaves a lot in there, as I did try draining a bit from the valve, and it was already pretty dark.

The owners manual says the engine takes 4.8 quarts with filter replacement, I got two quarts out of it, plus whatever ended up in paper towels and cardboard, and put in 4 quarts (including pre-filling the filter).

Now that I know the proper procedure to get a clean reading on the dipstick, I'll be able to monitor this better next time. 

a1smith

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #102 on: August 31, 2015, 03:55:23 PM »
I always warm up the car till at least the thermostat opens before I change the oil.  You have to be more careful since the oil is hot but you get a much better oil drain.

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #103 on: September 01, 2015, 06:10:17 AM »
I always warm up the car till at least the thermostat opens before I change the oil.  You have to be more careful since the oil is hot but you get a much better oil drain.
I've always wondered how important that is... I mean, if I am getting 96% of the oil out draining it when it is cold, how much better would it be to warm it up and get 99% of the oil out?

It's been a family debate for us - my grandfather swore we had to heat The oil up to get every drop out we could.  My dad fiercely disagreed and said the 0.1 quart extra made no functional difference, and it just add to the complexity and safety of the project (hot oil dripping on bare skin).

I've always changed it cold and replaced with synthetic,  so far So good...

Bob W

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #104 on: September 01, 2015, 09:39:14 AM »
It has probably been mentioned on this thread before but my son and I had a debate with my DW this weekend.  She was insisting that 3K was the optimum time for an oil change.  We quickly googled that 10K is fine for light duty on her car.   She didn't relinquish but I don't think she will be in a hurry. 

As an aside I knew some rental car business owners who never changed the oil.  They just sold the cars at 35K.   

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #105 on: September 01, 2015, 10:48:10 AM »
I've always wondered how important that is... I mean, if I am getting 96% of the oil out draining it when it is cold, how much better would it be to warm it up and get 99% of the oil out?

It's been a family debate for us - my grandfather swore we had to heat The oil up to get every drop out we could.  My dad fiercely disagreed and said the 0.1 quart extra made no functional difference, and it just add to the complexity and safety of the project (hot oil dripping on bare skin).
I'd like to hear a good answer to this, too.  My oil filter is on the front of the engine, right below the exhaust manifold, so I have to reach down between the (hot) radiator and the (even hotter) exhaust manifold to unscrew it.

Jack

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #106 on: September 01, 2015, 11:05:19 AM »
It has probably been mentioned on this thread before but my son and I had a debate with my DW this weekend.  She was insisting that 3K was the optimum time for an oil change.  We quickly googled that 10K is fine for light duty on her car.   She didn't relinquish but I don't think she will be in a hurry. 

That's fine, as long as you keep in mind that "light duty" means "lots of freeway miles at relatively constant speed," not "sitting around most of the time, then used only for short trips in stop-and-go traffic."

Cadman

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #107 on: September 01, 2015, 11:58:18 AM »
I can buy a name brand filter for $1.99 on sale when ordering my other auto parts online (always handy to have a few around) and $24 will buy a case of conventional oil like Mobil or Valvoline when the local box stores run a sale, so there's definitely money to be saved, but for me the real value in doing it myself is knowing the job was done correctly. The high school kid at the lube place isn't going to know or care about the drain plug torque, nor will he find every grease zerk or bother reinstalling all the fasteners in aero panels (actually, you might be lucky if they reinstall the panels at all). In fact it's a real gamble if your filter is getting changed at all. Then there's the issue of overfilling the crankcase and the bait-and-switch oil brand/type tactics that are surprisingly common.

The worst is wheel balancing/rotation/tires. I take my rims off the car and drive them to the shop for any tire work. This avoids the "oh, those were reverse thread studs?" issue, over-torquing with the impact, egging out of the mounting holes, or downright laziness where they only swap one or two rims but charge you for the full rotation. If you ever get a flat, being able to remove your lug nuts with the wrench your car came with can be a real nice thing.

HipGnosis

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #108 on: September 01, 2015, 01:44:38 PM »
Some oil trapped in the filter?

Or... Some oil sumps have more than one drain.   We had a 1995 Mustang where the oil pan was split and had a front and rear drain.  The first time I drained the oil I was confused.  It probably only drained 2 quarts and there was no f'in way it was that low.  I crawled around under there and... damn if there were not (effectively) 2 oil pans.

It's likely that you were low, and that now you have the correct amount in there.  Except for foaming the oil and possibly causing some to be sucked through the crankcase ventilation, overfilling doesn't usually cause harm.  Best way to check is to run the engine until warm, turn off and check after it sits for about 20 mins.

Thanks for the help, I think it's probably a combination of what you said. 

There's only one drain plug for sure, but I did make a pretty big mess when I took out the filter.  The filter was also dripping oil, albeit very slowly (like 15 drips on the cardboard under the car since the last dealer oil change.  I'm guessing it was either torqued on there too tight, or got clogged and started dripping.  Hopefully it stops now that I've put on a high quality filter.

Because of the above, it was also probably low to begin with.  I drove the car around, then took the dipstick out and let the car cool down a few hours.  After further research, I learned that Subarus have basically the worst dipsticks ever, and are notoriously hard to read.  After the above procedure I got a much cleaner reading, and I'm maybe 3/4 of the way to the full line.  Not sure if it's worth cracking a bottle to get it dead on the full line at this point.

I also probably didn't drain it completely.  I might have mentioned I drained it cold, but did wait for the dripping to slow.  I now realize that probably leaves a lot in there, as I did try draining a bit from the valve, and it was already pretty dark.

The owners manual says the engine takes 4.8 quarts with filter replacement, I got two quarts out of it, plus whatever ended up in paper towels and cardboard, and put in 4 quarts (including pre-filling the filter).

Now that I know the proper procedure to get a clean reading on the dipstick, I'll be able to monitor this better next time.
Oil filters don't drip if they get clogged.  They go into bypass mode and simply don't filter the oil.  Dirty oil is better for a running engine than no oil.
If the filter was dripping when the engine was off, it was probably dripping a lot more when it was running.  I'd bet that's where her oil went.  And THAT is why it IS worth it to change your own.
I'd check the oil every week or so for a while - just to be sure.
Next time you change oil;  put in the right amount.  Drive it a day and check the oil level.  Note where the proper amount of oil shows on the dipstick.

dragoncar

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #109 on: September 01, 2015, 02:22:27 PM »
I can buy a name brand filter for $1.99 on sale when ordering my other auto parts online (always handy to have a few around) and $24 will buy a case of conventional oil like Mobil or Valvoline when the local box stores run a sale, so there's definitely money to be saved, but for me the real value in doing it myself is knowing the job was done correctly. The high school kid at the lube place isn't going to know or care about the drain plug torque, nor will he find every grease zerk or bother reinstalling all the fasteners in aero panels (actually, you might be lucky if they reinstall the panels at all). In fact it's a real gamble if your filter is getting changed at all. Then there's the issue of overfilling the crankcase and the bait-and-switch oil brand/type tactics that are surprisingly common.

The worst is wheel balancing/rotation/tires. I take my rims off the car and drive them to the shop for any tire work. This avoids the "oh, those were reverse thread studs?" issue, over-torquing with the impact, egging out of the mounting holes, or downright laziness where they only swap one or two rims but charge you for the full rotation. If you ever get a flat, being able to remove your lug nuts with the wrench your car came with can be a real nice thing.

Yeah I noticed the aero panel was missing when I did it.  My naive wife always took it to the dealer so wtf

PFHC

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #110 on: September 02, 2015, 04:33:16 AM »
Hell yes, it is worth it. Do it to it, Sunny Pruet! If you get stumped, which I would be shocked if you do, check it out on Youtube. There's videos for doing every kind of imaginable car work right there.

a1smith

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #111 on: September 04, 2015, 07:15:19 PM »
I've always wondered how important that is... I mean, if I am getting 96% of the oil out draining it when it is cold, how much better would it be to warm it up and get 99% of the oil out?

It's been a family debate for us - my grandfather swore we had to heat The oil up to get every drop out we could.  My dad fiercely disagreed and said the 0.1 quart extra made no functional difference, and it just add to the complexity and safety of the project (hot oil dripping on bare skin).
I'd like to hear a good answer to this, too.  My oil filter is on the front of the engine, right below the exhaust manifold, so I have to reach down between the (hot) radiator and the (even hotter) exhaust manifold to unscrew it.

After warming up the car I do let the car sit on the ramps for 10-15 minutes before draining the oil (while opening hood, getting tools, drain pan, etc.)  Then, after the drain plug is out I'll let it sit there for at least a half hour to get almost all of the oil out; I'll do other work while I'm waiting.  I put the drain plug back in and then remove the oil filter.  By then, the manifold isn't very hot.

« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 08:45:37 PM by a1smith »

DarinC

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #112 on: September 05, 2015, 12:13:22 PM »
I've always wondered how important that is... I mean, if I am getting 96% of the oil out draining it when it is cold, how much better would it be to warm it up and get 99% of the oil out?

It's been a family debate for us - my grandfather swore we had to heat The oil up to get every drop out we could.  My dad fiercely disagreed and said the 0.1 quart extra made no functional difference, and it just add to the complexity and safety of the project (hot oil dripping on bare skin).

I've always changed it cold and replaced with synthetic,  so far So good...
Part of it is that with the oil warm (agitated essentially), contaminants will be distributed evenly through the oil rather than sitting at the bottom. The difference might be larger than 3%. Course, with modern engines, oil, and filters being what they are, I don't think a larger difference in contaminants removed matters that much.

Making Cookies

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #113 on: September 29, 2015, 09:12:53 PM »
I've changed the oil in our '99 CR-V since new and its around ~290K miles right now. I've used Mobil 1 and a Wix filter since new. Our local NAPA has Filter Fridays once a month where I can get three oil filters for the price of two (as I recall). I buy several and put them on the shelf. I'm a BIG fan of Wix oil filters and never, ever use those Fram filters.

By the way NAPA Gold appears to be the same as the Wix filter (literally the same) with a different paint job. I toured another brand's filter plant a few years back and several commercial size oil filters for heavy equipment were coming off of the same line and getting different paint jobs and packaging.

I've also used Havoline conventional oil and Purolator filters on a Honda Accord and saw north of 300K miles. I run Havoline in my other used car.

A few reasons I don't trust shops or dealers:

Took my torque wrench to a tire store when I bought tires. They laughed when I wanted to torque my own lug nuts. His impact wrench and "dog bone" was tightening the lug nuts to 50% more than the specs called for. He assured me he could hit the torque spec right on. And he couldn't. They got really quiet after that.

Another shop - I paid for a tire rotation. They were really embarrassed when I caught them only rotating the tires on the driver's side. That was Wal-Mart. Our other Wal-Mart is generally good and I have relied on them for their evening hours. Tire patches, rotation and balancing. That's all. Two stores about ten miles apart and this store is very fastidious while the other has been sloppy for years.

Friend took her Chevy 4WD truck to Chevy ten years ago for an oil change. Followed by a detailed muti-point inspection. According to them her heavy duty truck's front end was worn out at 55K miles more or less. She brought it to me and I looked it over. Tight as could be. Still driving that same truck without a problem as it nears 90K I guess. Same dealer broke a spark plug off a friend's Saturn and tried to bill him for the repair/extraction. Head had to come off of the engine.

Another tire shop years ago tightened my Accord's lug nuts so tight that I needed a breaker bar to take it apart. They MIGHT have warped the hubs and wheels doing that. Also their front end alignment was so bad the car wandered all over the road. Took it to another shop where they put caster back into the front end and it drove like a new car.

Friend took his car to a mechanic for an oil change. Marked the oil filter with a lack marker on top. When he picked up the car they had not changed the filter as he suspected.

I do ALL my own work. I just can't justify the cost and the lack of trust these characters instill in me. I love to look all over my vehicle myself and look for leaks and rust.

Do your own maintenance. Start small. Watch YouTube. Visit forums specific to your vehicle brand and model for advice. Don't believe anything that you can't substantiate. I've heard some real fiction over the years. Was hard to educate myself past the fiction.

Oh - and buy a factory repair manual for your car. One repair in your garage will pay for it. The little $15 repair manuals are too generic to be useful beyond very basic repairs.


dragoncar

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #114 on: June 13, 2016, 06:19:06 PM »
Some oil trapped in the filter?

Or... Some oil sumps have more than one drain.   We had a 1995 Mustang where the oil pan was split and had a front and rear drain.  The first time I drained the oil I was confused.  It probably only drained 2 quarts and there was no f'in way it was that low.  I crawled around under there and... damn if there were not (effectively) 2 oil pans.

It's likely that you were low, and that now you have the correct amount in there.  Except for foaming the oil and possibly causing some to be sucked through the crankcase ventilation, overfilling doesn't usually cause harm.  Best way to check is to run the engine until warm, turn off and check after it sits for about 20 mins.

Thanks for the help, I think it's probably a combination of what you said. 

There's only one drain plug for sure, but I did make a pretty big mess when I took out the filter.  The filter was also dripping oil, albeit very slowly (like 15 drips on the cardboard under the car since the last dealer oil change.  I'm guessing it was either torqued on there too tight, or got clogged and started dripping.  Hopefully it stops now that I've put on a high quality filter.

Because of the above, it was also probably low to begin with.  I drove the car around, then took the dipstick out and let the car cool down a few hours.  After further research, I learned that Subarus have basically the worst dipsticks ever, and are notoriously hard to read.  After the above procedure I got a much cleaner reading, and I'm maybe 3/4 of the way to the full line.  Not sure if it's worth cracking a bottle to get it dead on the full line at this point.

I also probably didn't drain it completely.  I might have mentioned I drained it cold, but did wait for the dripping to slow.  I now realize that probably leaves a lot in there, as I did try draining a bit from the valve, and it was already pretty dark.

The owners manual says the engine takes 4.8 quarts with filter replacement, I got two quarts out of it, plus whatever ended up in paper towels and cardboard, and put in 4 quarts (including pre-filling the filter).

Now that I know the proper procedure to get a clean reading on the dipstick, I'll be able to monitor this better next time.
Oil filters don't drip if they get clogged.  They go into bypass mode and simply don't filter the oil.  Dirty oil is better for a running engine than no oil.
If the filter was dripping when the engine was off, it was probably dripping a lot more when it was running.  I'd bet that's where her oil went.  And THAT is why it IS worth it to change your own.
I'd check the oil every week or so for a while - just to be sure.
Next time you change oil;  put in the right amount.  Drive it a day and check the oil level.  Note where the proper amount of oil shows on the dipstick.

Well I just changed it again.  Like an idiot, I never checked the level until now (10k miles).  No reading on dipstick.  2 liters came out (including draining the old filter).  Yikes -- hopefully her oil pressure light is functioning because it never came on. 

Considering it's a Suburu*, I'm just going to assume she's burning a liter every 5k miles.  The filter didn't have oil on it this time, nor is she dripping on the garage floor, so I don't think I can blame it on leaks. 

Assuming she burns a 1/4 of her oil every 5k miles, should I top off the oil and keep the 10k interval, or just change to a 5k interval?  It's almost all "light duty" highway driving.

*Subaru considers a quart burned every 1,000 to 1,200 miles to be acceptable
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 06:25:34 PM by dragoncar »

paddedhat

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #115 on: June 13, 2016, 07:12:12 PM »

Well I just changed it again.  Like an idiot, I never checked the level until now (10k miles).  No reading on dipstick.  2 liters came out (including draining the old filter).  Yikes -- hopefully her oil pressure light is functioning because it never came on. 

Considering it's a Suburu*, I'm just going to assume she's burning a liter every 5k miles.  The filter didn't have oil on it this time, nor is she dripping on the garage floor, so I don't think I can blame it on leaks. 

Assuming she burns a 1/4 of her oil every 5k miles, should I top off the oil and keep the 10k interval, or just change to a 5k interval?  It's almost all "light duty" highway driving.

*Subaru considers a quart burned every 1,000 to 1,200 miles to be acceptable

I have a good friend that works on a lot of Subarus. He just was discussing something he is starting to see on several of them. That being, they will go the first 4000 miles on a new oil change without burning a drip, then very reliably lose at least a  qt. for every  1000 miles after that. If the customer is troubled by that, he just tells them to change the oil every 4K, and it will never burn oil. Like a lot of independent shops, he isn't doing this to push oil changes, since it's a break even job for them, and they don't really care if you DIY it.

dragoncar

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #116 on: June 13, 2016, 11:15:21 PM »

Well I just changed it again.  Like an idiot, I never checked the level until now (10k miles).  No reading on dipstick.  2 liters came out (including draining the old filter).  Yikes -- hopefully her oil pressure light is functioning because it never came on. 

Considering it's a Suburu*, I'm just going to assume she's burning a liter every 5k miles.  The filter didn't have oil on it this time, nor is she dripping on the garage floor, so I don't think I can blame it on leaks. 

Assuming she burns a 1/4 of her oil every 5k miles, should I top off the oil and keep the 10k interval, or just change to a 5k interval?  It's almost all "light duty" highway driving.

*Subaru considers a quart burned every 1,000 to 1,200 miles to be acceptable

I have a good friend that works on a lot of Subarus. He just was discussing something he is starting to see on several of them. That being, they will go the first 4000 miles on a new oil change without burning a drip, then very reliably lose at least a  qt. for every  1000 miles after that. If the customer is troubled by that, he just tells them to change the oil every 4K, and it will never burn oil. Like a lot of independent shops, he isn't doing this to push oil changes, since it's a break even job for them, and they don't really care if you DIY it.

I might just try 5k intervals -- even with full synthetic, the cost per mile is still negligible compared to other maintenance costs (<1 cent per mile).

Goldielocks

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #117 on: June 14, 2016, 12:02:30 AM »
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
I can just fit under my Mazda 3...   and I am not tiny, so you may be able to fit too.    But no way would i fit with a rolling mechanics cart - just a tarp, me and the oil pan.   I am nervous about driving the car on ramps and I don't trust jacks except for changing tires.

nereo

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #118 on: June 14, 2016, 04:48:58 AM »
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
I can just fit under my Mazda 3...   and I am not tiny, so you may be able to fit too.    But no way would i fit with a rolling mechanics cart - just a tarp, me and the oil pan.   I am nervous about driving the car on ramps and I don't trust jacks except for changing tires.

Just curious - why are you nervous about driving the car onto ramps?  If you miss and drive off them it won't hurt the car (its about the same as driving slowly over a curb on the sidewalk).  It's also pretty hard to do wrong - make sure your wheel is straight, align the ramps just in front of each front tire and then slowly drive up them until you feel the wheels come to the flat part (it's obvious).
There's no danger to your or the vehicle.

Another idea - I agree that you shouldn't get under a car that's lifted on a jack, but that's where jack stands comes into play.  There's no mechanical part to fail so they won't fall down on you, and they are cheap. Lift the vehicle up with your jack, place the stand, lower the jack.  Repeat on the opposite side of the car.

Exflyboy

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #119 on: June 14, 2016, 08:40:57 AM »
Typically if you get a decent sized trolley jack.. Get a big one from Harbor frieght for about $140.

Usually there is a lifting point under the middle of the front of the car where you can lift both wheels at once. This is most cars, but a few newer cars seem to be doing away with central lifting points I have noticed these days.. Thats a pian cus its far easier to lift the whole front of the car than one side at a time.

Then put your ratchet axle stand under a frame member on each side.. Harbor Freight again.. You can then lower the car onto the stands and remove the jack if you need the extra room.

HF has a low frofile jack.. like just over 2inches tall, ideal for some of these lowered modern cars..

Goldielocks

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #120 on: June 14, 2016, 09:19:04 AM »
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
I can just fit under my Mazda 3...   and I am not tiny, so you may be able to fit too.    But no way would i fit with a rolling mechanics cart - just a tarp, me and the oil pan.   I am nervous about driving the car on ramps and I don't trust jacks except for changing tires.

Just curious - why are you nervous about driving the car onto ramps?  If you miss and drive off them it won't hurt the car (its about the same as driving slowly over a curb on the sidewalk).  It's also pretty hard to do wrong - make sure your wheel is straight, align the ramps just in front of each front tire and then slowly drive up them until you feel the wheels come to the flat part (it's obvious).
There's no danger to your or the vehicle.

Another idea - I agree that you shouldn't get under a car that's lifted on a jack, but that's where jack stands comes into play.  There's no mechanical part to fail so they won't fall down on you, and they are cheap. Lift the vehicle up with your jack, place the stand, lower the jack.  Repeat on the opposite side of the car.
Yeah, but I would be pretty embarrassed if I missed the ramps. And if loud enough to have DH and neighbors come over, you get a dose of 'women shouldn't try mechanical things'. I like to fail in private, you know?  ( not that they would say it, I would just think that they are thinking it). I try lots of new things like this and the first time you can look pretty inept, so I am careful about not showing fails in public as much as I can because many still get through.

Also ramps cost money.
 I think we do have an extra proper jack already.  But I also like reducing the steps to set up work if I can. I am only under the car once or twice a year, so as long as I fit without I will likely keep looking like an idiot. :-)

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #121 on: June 14, 2016, 09:33:30 AM »
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
I can just fit under my Mazda 3...   and I am not tiny, so you may be able to fit too.    But no way would i fit with a rolling mechanics cart - just a tarp, me and the oil pan.   I am nervous about driving the car on ramps and I don't trust jacks except for changing tires.

Just curious - why are you nervous about driving the car onto ramps?  If you miss and drive off them it won't hurt the car (its about the same as driving slowly over a curb on the sidewalk).  It's also pretty hard to do wrong - make sure your wheel is straight, align the ramps just in front of each front tire and then slowly drive up them until you feel the wheels come to the flat part (it's obvious).
There's no danger to your or the vehicle.

Another idea - I agree that you shouldn't get under a car that's lifted on a jack, but that's where jack stands comes into play.  There's no mechanical part to fail so they won't fall down on you, and they are cheap. Lift the vehicle up with your jack, place the stand, lower the jack.  Repeat on the opposite side of the car.
Yeah, but I would be pretty embarrassed if I missed the ramps. And if loud enough to have DH and neighbors come over, you get a dose of 'women shouldn't try mechanical things'. I like to fail in private, you know?  ( not that they would say it, I would just think that they are thinking it). I try lots of new things like this and the first time you can look pretty inept, so I am careful about not showing fails in public as much as I can because many still get through.

Also ramps cost money.
 I think we do have an extra proper jack already.  But I also like reducing the steps to set up work if I can. I am only under the car once or twice a year, so as long as I fit without I will likely keep looking like an idiot. :-)

"Women shouldn't try mechanical things".. That really pisses me off! I have a number of gal pals that I have encouraged to do exactly that.. One of them changed her own timing belt the other day and does brakes oil changes that sort of thing.

I guess as a mechanical engineer that sees the value of women in the role I like to see them thrive doing "boy" stuff. I just hate when I see ladies that are told they should let their men do it.. F them!..Grr.

nereo

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #122 on: June 14, 2016, 10:39:31 AM »


"Women shouldn't try mechanical things".. That really pisses me off! I have a number of gal pals that I have encouraged to do exactly that.. One of them changed her own timing belt the other day and does brakes oil changes that sort of thing.

I guess as a mechanical engineer that sees the value of women in the role I like to see them thrive doing "boy" stuff. I just hate when I see ladies that are told they should let their men do it.. F them!..Grr.
Ditto.  One of the things that attracted me to my wife was that she could trouble-shoot an outboard engine, swap out car batteries and a number of simple tasks that the good-ol'-boys will say aren't for women.

Goldielocks - there's no reason for embarassement and it's virtually impossible to miss. Just place the ramps directly in front of the tires and don't turn the wheel when you drive onto them.  The ridge along the back end will keep you from driving too far.
If somehow you miss there won't be any loud sounds or damage... just turn the car off, re-position the ramps and try again.  On one will he the wiser.

As for cost... true they cost some money, but they're truly a BIFL product, very cheap and you can often find them for free or nearly free (try freecycle, craigslist, etc). You can recoup the cost after just an oil change or two, and unlike jacks, you can put your car on ramps in under 2 minutes.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #123 on: June 14, 2016, 12:22:01 PM »
FWIW, jack stands are still a good investment if you plan to do your own car maintenance, even if you have ramps.  If you're doing brake or suspension work, or other work that requires removing a wheel, you'll need 'jacks.

HipGnosis

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #124 on: June 14, 2016, 02:45:29 PM »
Yeah, but I would be pretty embarrassed if I missed the ramps.

Also ramps cost money.
Miss the ramps?!?!?  IMPOSSIBLE!!
You move the car to where you have room to move forward - onto the ramps.
You put the ramps RIGHT in front of the tires.
You driver the car straight forward, onto the ramps.

Cost money?
I do have store-bought ramps, somewhere.  They were a gift.
The ramps I use are 3.5' long 2x10s bolted to 2, 14" 2x4s (ea), about a foot apart at one end.
And I only use one to change the oil.

A tarp is easy to slide on.
A carpet remnant is better in winter (in Wisc).

Exflyboy

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #125 on: June 14, 2016, 03:18:45 PM »
FYI - Both Costco and Walmart are running deals right now on Mobile1 synthetic.  Costco $26.99 for 6x 1QT case and Walmart 22.88 for 5QT jug (around $4.5 per QT).  Good time to stock up!

Hmm... I'm point out that I have had vehicles with 200k miles that have "probably" never seen synthetic oil in their lives. I did put it in my Neon Manual transmission because you never change it so why wouldn't you?

In the engine though?.. thats a lot of very spendy oil over 200k miles and both the absolute cheapest stuff I can find has the same API rating on the bottle as does the synthetic stuff.. (What are we up to N rated now?).

$22.88 is good for synthetic but I think I paid $12 the other day for a 5QT jug of the normal stuff.

Note I am not crying "BS" (yet) and if I had an expensive car that the manufacturer said I HAD to have synthetic I probably would.. But my suspicion is it make very little if any difference.

Of course the price of engine oil will come back up at some point.


Chris22

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #126 on: June 14, 2016, 04:19:52 PM »
FYI - Both Costco and Walmart are running deals right now on Mobile1 synthetic.  Costco $26.99 for 6x 1QT case and Walmart 22.88 for 5QT jug (around $4.5 per QT).  Good time to stock up!

Hmm... I'm point out that I have had vehicles with 200k miles that have "probably" never seen synthetic oil in their lives. I did put it in my Neon Manual transmission because you never change it so why wouldn't you?

In the engine though?.. thats a lot of very spendy oil over 200k miles and both the absolute cheapest stuff I can find has the same API rating on the bottle as does the synthetic stuff.. (What are we up to N rated now?).

$22.88 is good for synthetic but I think I paid $12 the other day for a 5QT jug of the normal stuff.

Note I am not crying "BS" (yet) and if I had an expensive car that the manufacturer said I HAD to have synthetic I probably would.. But my suspicion is it make very little if any difference.

Of course the price of engine oil will come back up at some point.

With 200k+ miles I wouldn't change anything, but on a lower mileage car, I'd say synthetic oil lasts about 2x as long, so the extra money isn't going nowhere.  ~5k mile oil change on regular or ~10k with synthetic you should be golden.  I change mine when the little computer light tells me to (which is actually a little less often than I'd expect).

dragoncar

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #127 on: June 14, 2016, 04:51:03 PM »
Suburu now "requires" synthetic oil.  Do you really think they are doing that just for profit?  I'd suspect an engineering basis for this requirement (if only to counteract their oil-eating engines)

Goldielocks

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #128 on: June 14, 2016, 05:58:07 PM »


"Women shouldn't try mechanical things".. That really pisses me off! I have a number of gal pals that I have encouraged to do exactly that.. One of them changed her own timing belt the other day and does brakes oil changes that sort of thing.

I guess as a mechanical engineer that sees the value of women in the role I like to see them thrive doing "boy" stuff. I just hate when I see ladies that are told they should let their men do it.. F them!..Grr.
Ditto.  One of the things that attracted me to my wife was that she could trouble-shoot an outboard engine, swap out car batteries and a number of simple tasks that the good-ol'-boys will say aren't for women.

Goldielocks - there's no reason for embarassement and it's virtually impossible to miss. Just place the ramps directly in front of the tires and don't turn the wheel when you drive onto them.  The ridge along the back end will keep you from driving too far.
If somehow you miss there won't be any loud sounds or damage... just turn the car off, re-position the ramps and try again.  On one will he the wiser.

As for cost... true they cost some money, but they're truly a BIFL product, very cheap and you can often find them for free or nearly free (try freecycle, craigslist, etc). You can recoup the cost after just an oil change or two, and unlike jacks, you can put your car on ramps in under 2 minutes.

Okay,  you convinced me.  I think my dad may still have a set of ramps, and as he is 74 now and prefers to spend his time building things rather than repairing vehicles, maybe he will let me "store" them for him.

BTW - I am an engineer, too, and I work in Industrial Building Design -- think manufacturing plants, fertilizer plants, bus repair depots, military helicopter repair shops, that sort of thing.   I am just a bit more "brainy" than "handsy" so a bit clumsy before I practice with tools.

Exflyboy

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #129 on: June 14, 2016, 06:54:14 PM »
Cool.. I'm a mechanical  P.E. in Oregon.. I spent the last 30 years building wafter fabs.. its been a fun job.

I don't personally like ramps myself..:)

zolotiyeruki

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #130 on: June 14, 2016, 07:57:07 PM »
Cool.. I'm a mechanical  P.E. in Oregon.. I spent the last 30 years building wafter fabs.. its been a fun job.
Wafter fabs?  Is that a new thing for wine snobs? :P

Exflyboy

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #131 on: June 14, 2016, 08:04:32 PM »
Cool.. I'm a mechanical  P.E. in Oregon.. I spent the last 30 years building wafter fabs.. its been a fun job.
Wafter fabs?  Is that a new thing for wine snobs? :P

Haha.. Wafer fabs I meant to say.. Factories that silicon chips are made in..:)

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #132 on: June 15, 2016, 01:38:41 PM »
Yeah, but I would be pretty embarrassed if I missed the ramps.

Also ramps cost money.
Miss the ramps?!?!?  IMPOSSIBLE!!
You move the car to where you have room to move forward - onto the ramps.
You put the ramps RIGHT in front of the tires.
You driver the car straight forward, onto the ramps.

Cost money?
I do have store-bought ramps, somewhere.  They were a gift.
The ramps I use are 3.5' long 2x10s bolted to 2, 14" 2x4s (ea), about a foot apart at one end.
And I only use one to change the oil.

A tarp is easy to slide on.
A carpet remnant is better in winter (in Wisc).

Pretty sure this is how you miss.


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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #133 on: June 15, 2016, 02:06:59 PM »
We borrowed my sister-in-law's car while she's out of the country, and part of the deal was taking care of the oil change it needs.  In my mind, an oil change takes 20 minutes and can be done in my driveway whenever I damn well please.

This had to be scheduled at the Toyota dealer (because warranty) almost a week in advance at a stupid time, half an hour away.  So next Tuesday at 8pm I get to drive half an hour each way, let them do their thing, and probably charge me fifty bucks.  Likely will end up being 1.5-2 hours of my Tuesday night.

I'm glad I normally just DIY on our own cars.  It's so much easier.  This just feels asinine.

dragoncar

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #134 on: June 15, 2016, 05:55:00 PM »
We borrowed my sister-in-law's car while she's out of the country, and part of the deal was taking care of the oil change it needs.  In my mind, an oil change takes 20 minutes and can be done in my driveway whenever I damn well please.

This had to be scheduled at the Toyota dealer (because warranty) almost a week in advance at a stupid time, half an hour away.  So next Tuesday at 8pm I get to drive half an hour each way, let them do their thing, and probably charge me fifty bucks.  Likely will end up being 1.5-2 hours of my Tuesday night.

I'm glad I normally just DIY on our own cars.  It's so much easier.  This just feels asinine.

"because warranty"

ketchup

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #135 on: June 15, 2016, 10:11:32 PM »
We borrowed my sister-in-law's car while she's out of the country, and part of the deal was taking care of the oil change it needs.  In my mind, an oil change takes 20 minutes and can be done in my driveway whenever I damn well please.

This had to be scheduled at the Toyota dealer (because warranty) almost a week in advance at a stupid time, half an hour away.  So next Tuesday at 8pm I get to drive half an hour each way, let them do their thing, and probably charge me fifty bucks.  Likely will end up being 1.5-2 hours of my Tuesday night.

I'm glad I normally just DIY on our own cars.  It's so much easier.  This just feels asinine.

"because warranty"
Those were her words, and it's her car, so we'll do it the way she wants.  Even though it's obnoxious.

Exflyboy

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #136 on: June 15, 2016, 11:25:55 PM »
Indeed.. Actually the only new car I ever bought I was allowed to do the maintenance without voiding the warranty as long as I kept the log filled out.

It went back for a few warranty claims and they always honoured it.

But as you say.. Her words..:)

dragoncar

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #137 on: June 16, 2016, 09:55:46 AM »
Indeed.. Actually the only new car I ever bought I was allowed to do the maintenance without voiding the warranty as long as I kept the log filled out.

It went back for a few warranty claims and they always honoured it.

But as you say.. Her words..:)

Yeah, I'm sure everyone here is aware of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnuson%E2%80%93Moss_Warranty_Act

Mtngrl

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #138 on: June 19, 2016, 01:53:51 PM »
For years we had a trusted mechanic (a man and his son) who did all the work on our cars. The oil change cost about the same as my husband doing it, and they rotated the tires. Occasionally they would even throw in a free oil change. They got to know the car intimately and were great to work with. In that case, letting them do it made sense.

Then we moved. I took my car to the local mechanic who had been highly recommended. Picked it up later -- he charged $85 for the oil change. Taken aback, I asked why so much. His daughter was behind the counter and she was honest "Dad hates doing oil changes." Now my husband does the oil changes. He takes the car in when it needs its tires rotated to the place where we bought the tires -- another small local shop that has so far proved honest.

dragoncar

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #139 on: June 19, 2016, 11:36:02 PM »
For years we had a trusted mechanic (a man and his son) who did all the work on our cars. The oil change cost about the same as my husband doing it, and they rotated the tires. Occasionally they would even throw in a free oil change. They got to know the car intimately and were great to work with. In that case, letting them do it made sense.

Then we moved. I took my car to the local mechanic who had been highly recommended. Picked it up later -- he charged $85 for the oil change. Taken aback, I asked why so much. His daughter was behind the counter and she was honest "Dad hates doing oil changes." Now my husband does the oil changes. He takes the car in when it needs its tires rotated to the place where we bought the tires -- another small local shop that has so far proved honest.
Ah tire rotation... Yet another item I'd prefer to do myself due to the dealership crossthreading my wife's lug nuts (requiring cutting and replacement of the bolt) and the fact that everyone over torques.  I'd like my wife to actually be able to get the tire off if she ever finds herself stranded-- not happening when people go crazy with Power drivers

SiRDOHC

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Re: DIY car oil/filter change - worth it?
« Reply #140 on: June 22, 2016, 10:25:08 AM »
Always worth doing yourself if you are physically capable.

I use a 12$ Extended Drain Filter by Mobil, and Toyota Genuine 0w20 Synthetic (Best oil for the price as per Bob is the Oil guy Forum)  in my Mazda2. Total Cost about $40 for 4L oil with filter, and When I do it myself I use all 4 L of Oil. I will run this stuff about 12-15K kms or 1 year with no worries about extending the interval. Oil comes out very clean even after all those kilometers, if you aren't driving short trips and are driving in such a manner that gets you above typical MPG.

Reasons to D.I.Y.

1. It can be done in LESS time than it takes you to go to a dealership or quick lube place.

2.Your Drain bolt and doesn't get overtorqued (tightened) by minimum wage worker that barely knows how to turn a wrench, and you therefore wont have to repair or replace your oil pan.

3. You get more oil out on the change than a shop technician would, and you can fill to the proper level.

4. It costs less. No one does anything for free. If you can get it done for 40$ labour included, they are not using anymore than 20$ worth of materials, and will upsell you to death to make money.

5. You can monitor your engine's oil consumption better. My 2013 believe it or not was using oil when I decided to try Mobil 1 0w30. Doesn't burn a drop with the Toyota Oil.

Now, as far as cold or hot, I always do STONE cold, meaning I don't start the vehicle for at least 8hrs before draining, I always get a TON of old oil out. If you're doing it hot, its gotta be piping hot, and you've gotta wait for all the oil to drip down off of the valve train, which takes forever. Ambient temperature oil flows slowly, but it's all sitting in the lower part of the engine. If you lift the front end of the car you will get more oil out (hot or cold). Either way is fine, just don't run the vehicle for a few minutes before and expect it to drain properly, (worst is just moving the car just a bit before the drain).

As for relying on a pro to inspect things while under there, there isn't a whole lot that could go wrong that would fall under preventative maintenance, except for torn CV joint boots which can be replaced before you need expensive new CV Joints, have a look at them and if they are spraying grease everywhere, you need new ones. All other suspension/steering joints/bushings you should feel while driving before any novice technician is going to notice while under the car doing an oil change. As for brake inspections, when changing/ rotating wheels you can have a peek through the little window on the caliper to see how much Pad is left, if you have drums they rarely ever need servicing, you could have a more knowledgeable person help you inspect them. Any Oil leaks you may notice you would probably ignore if they are a slow leak since most oil leaks are very expensive to repair and require engine overhaul or transmission overhaul (usually game over on an old Mustachian Car)
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 10:27:22 AM by SiRDOHC »