Author Topic: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?  (Read 33284 times)

reader2580

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Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« on: November 13, 2015, 12:31:33 PM »
I need an oil change.  I looked at five quarts of oil and a name brand costs $15 for five quarts.  I actually need six quarts for my engine so I need to spend another $3 or $4 on top of that.  It costs $7 for a Wix filter for my car.  I'm at $25 or more plus tax for just supplies.  I can usually get my oil changed at a shop for about $25 out the door.  The biggest issues are scheduling and the time wasted waiting which is often a hour.  (I can get get Wix filters for $2 from Rock Auto, but I can't wait.)

Does it make sense to do your own oil change if a shop can do it for the same or less money?  The DIY advantages are doing it on your schedule and no waiting plus no grease monkey stripping the plug.  DIY disadvantages are getting rid of the oil and generally getting dirty from the oil.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 01:45:32 PM »
DH does it for us. I always used to pay to have it done, because I thought it was a wash. What I have found is my car runs better, sounds better, and the oil lasts longer before looking old. DH told me a lot of shops don't replace all the oil, just drain ~2/3 then top it from there, because of the time constraints. Not to mention the grease monkey plug stripping issue you mentioned.

A recent one we started doing: you can get oil through amazon subscribe and save, so we're getting 15% off and having it shipped to us.

Ftao93

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 01:56:05 PM »
For me I pay.  We have 3 scooters and a motorcycle, but no garage.

The act of doing it is stupidly easy on the bikes.  But then I have to store it, do it all outside in the elements, and deal with disposal.  Shop fees are painful, as they change a plug, air/oil filter if applicable, and give it a once over.

However, I'm planning on bribing a friend who is not only in possession of a garage, but also likes working on scooters, into helping me.  Double win that I get to learn more about doing maintenance while also not freezing to death.  He has a small oil drum that he can fill before taking it back to the auto parts store for free recycling.

Jack

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 02:03:02 PM »
DIY disadvantages are getting rid of the oil...

This should not be a problem. Generally, any place that sells motor oil will also accept used oil for recycling for free.

skeeder

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 02:03:22 PM »
I normally do it unless I need something else.  One vehicle I haven't done it yet since I haven't bought a way to get under it yet.  The other I normally just jack up to do.

It saves alot of money if you synethic oils.  After some time in the shop, I know Synthetic doesn't break down as quickly as organic oil.  I can longer between changes.  So on my current car, (Saturn SL2) I currently go about 5k between changes.  About twice a year.  Worth the extra $10 on oil in my opinion.  That being said, I buy 10k filters.  One of my oil changes is literally--just the oil.  That saves more money. 

Check your brands, FRAM makes great filters that I've used for years.  Their sub 5k mileage basic filter clocks in at $3.77 at walmart (a PH3316 for me) watch for sales on oil--Slickdeals.com often has them.  Buy in a gallon/change size rather than per quarter--it is normally cheaper.  My average cost to do a semi-synthetic oil on my car is about $20 in oil and $5ish for the filter.  Organic would be even cheaper.

Bearded Man

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2015, 02:35:14 PM »
Pay for it. At $30 it's cheaper to pay for that, fluid top offs, 100+ point safety check, interior vacuuming and exterior wash, than it is for me to do it myself. I sit in the lobby reading IT books to learn new skills while I wait....

reader2580

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 02:40:28 PM »
I have an oil life monitor in my car so I just change the oil when it indicates.  I usually get 7,500 miles or so on an oil change.  I don't think synthetic will help unless I just ignore the monitor, but I really don't want to do that.  I would never use a Fram filter.  I can actually get a Wix filter for less than a Fram.

Any auto parts store will usually take drain oil, but getting it there without a mess is not the most fun.

lthenderson

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2015, 03:17:11 PM »
I pay to have mine changed but mostly because the oil filters are about impossible to get to when I have my car on ramps. It is like they were designed for someone standing upright underneath the car or someone with much skinnier arms than I have. I still remember those days when I could practically stand in the engine bay and see all the way to the floor all the way around the engine. In our area, one of the oil changing places will come pick up your car at your place of employment, change the oil and return it. Pretty handy if you have a nine to five job.

ketchup

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2015, 03:25:41 PM »
I always do it myself.  It's faster than driving to the Shitty-Lube, this way I know some moron didn't overtighten my drain plug with an impact wrench, and I know that I'm not using Z-grade oil.  Total dollars expended is probably slightly less, but that's not the main reason I DIY.

Spork

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2015, 05:36:18 PM »
I normally do it unless I need something else.  One vehicle I haven't done it yet since I haven't bought a way to get under it yet.  The other I normally just jack up to do.

I see this a lot.  I have never understood it.  I have never jacked or lifted a vehicle to change oil.  I've had a ton of vehicles, one of which is extremely low to the ground.  I always just use a low profile catch pan and reach under.

BlueMR2

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2015, 03:02:40 AM »
I see this a lot.  I have never understood it.  I have never jacked or lifted a vehicle to change oil.  I've had a ton of vehicles, one of which is extremely low to the ground.  I always just use a low profile catch pan and reach under.

I've got an oil change for my Eclipse on today's schedule.  This one I do myself.  Great opportunity to check other stuff at the same time.  I need to tighten the oil cooler hose clamps (the tend to loosen up over time), which you can only get at when the oil filter is off, check the front lower control arm balljoints (a wear part on this car, I think it's a poorly designed part), check my oil pressure gauge sender connection (it also likes to work loose and I've seen the gauge drop off a couple times recently without the light coming on...  The light has it's own sender), and check the front brake pad thickness (I'll have to pull the wheels for that, still can't find a way to do it with them on the car unlike my other car).

I've tried, but I just can't get it done without lifting it.  There's just not enough room, even for a simple oil change.

Kaplin261

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2015, 06:35:45 AM »
In my younger years I worked in the Tire Lube Center at Walmart. Walmart has cameras in the pit watching everything the technician does to your car for liability issues. They have gone to great lengths to insure quality control, specs for torque on drain plugs(yes technicians at walmart use torque wrenches). They also have a shop manager that goes behind every technician and has a checklist that they have to sign off on.

I would trust walmart with my car over a shadetree mechanic anyday because they have gone to great lengths to prevent lawsuits. Out of the 8 months I worked in that garage I only witnessed one incident where someone forgot to put the oil cap on top of the motor. Cameras were checked and indeed it was the technician who forgot to do this, Walmart quickly resolved the issue paying for a new motor and a rental car for the duration of repairs.

You can also do your grocery shopping while the car is being serviced.

reader2580

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2015, 06:57:43 AM »
Walmart is eliminating Tire and Lube services at new stores.  They just opened a new Walmart store locally to replace one without full grocery and it has no Tire and Lube like the old one did.  A manager said Walmart can't keep auto techs so they are getting out of the auto service business at new stores.  There are five fairly new Walmart stores in my area and none have auto services.

It is good to hear that at least some tire and lube places video everything that is done.  I'm still not sure what to do about an oil change for my car.  If I do it this weekend I have to drive into town to either get it done or to buy oil and a filter.

BlueMR2

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2015, 04:46:25 PM »
As an interesting side note, I did a timestudy on today's oil change, which I can compare against taking it to the shop.

Shop = 20 minute drive there, 1.5 hours for oil change (worst case, 1 hour is more typical), and 20 minute drive home.  So, 2:10 worst case.

My oil change today was: 45 minutes to get the oil and filter (I bicycle to the place with the oil and walk to the place with the filter).  1.75 hours to do the oil change and inspection (space is cramped, I have to set the car back down, move it, and lift it again to do the brake & suspension inspection on the other side).  Then, 30 minutes to take the oil in for recycling.  3 hours total.

FrozenAssets

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2015, 06:26:56 PM »
I do oil change mystery shops. "Free" oil changes for the low cost of <30 minutes of my time inputting detailed reviews of the companies. :)

Spork

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2015, 07:28:06 PM »
As an interesting side note, I did a timestudy on today's oil change, which I can compare against taking it to the shop.

Shop = 20 minute drive there, 1.5 hours for oil change (worst case, 1 hour is more typical), and 20 minute drive home.  So, 2:10 worst case.

My oil change today was: 45 minutes to get the oil and filter (I bicycle to the place with the oil and walk to the place with the filter).  1.75 hours to do the oil change and inspection (space is cramped, I have to set the car back down, move it, and lift it again to do the brake & suspension inspection on the other side).  Then, 30 minutes to take the oil in for recycling.  3 hours total.

I'm not sure that is a fair comparison.  Don't get me wrong: There's nothing wrong with what you're doing.  But I don't think the oil change place is going to do a brake/suspension inspection.   

If it were me:
* 0 minutes for oil and filter.  I buy filters off Amazon.  Oil I get when it's on sale at Sams, but buy with other groceries.  I usually buy 4+ oil changes worth at a time.
* 20 minutes for oil change.  I do  inspections with tire rotations.
* 15 minutes for recycling, but not with every change.  I recycle about 10 gallons at a time, so however many changes it takes to get 10 gallons.  (The 200 hour changes on the tractor will be almost 10 gallons, but that doesn't happen that often.  So, to average it out, we're probably talking 3-4 minutes per change.

m8547

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2015, 10:36:02 PM »
I see this a lot.  I have never understood it.  I have never jacked or lifted a vehicle to change oil.  I've had a ton of vehicles, one of which is extremely low to the ground.  I always just use a low profile catch pan and reach under.

On my current vehicle it's more than an arm's reach from the outside to the oil drain plug. It's a bit behind the center of the tires, so I can't reach it from the sides or front. And it's up about 3 inches from some other stuff around it. It's a SUV, so I can fit under without jacking it up, but it's not comfortable. Plus I have to take off the skid plate to change the filter, and it doesn't come off easily without jacking it up first. It only takes a couple minutes, so I don't mind.

I do it myself that way I know it's done right (or it's my fault if it's not), plus I like to learn about how things work, and it lets me spot problems early. For example, a while back I noticed that a CV boot was loose, so I re-clamped it. Another time when I was rotating my tires I pulled a shard of metal out of the tread. I doubt a tire shop would have taken the time to look for that.

FerrumB5

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2015, 10:49:48 PM »
Can do it myself easily. Fortunately, I am very capable of working on cars and all that stuff. However, calculations show that the difference is not very significant if I take the car to the shop. I put less miles on a car in 1 year (moved closer to train station) than oil life (10k mi, full synth). May be I will consider it next time, we'll see.
Everything else (except electronics) is DIY

BlueMR2

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2015, 04:03:57 AM »
I'm not sure that is a fair comparison.  Don't get me wrong: There's nothing wrong with what you're doing.  But I don't think the oil change place is going to do a brake/suspension inspection.   

They do, it's a dealership, and that's part of why it takes them so long.  They've caught a few things over the years based on the sheer volume of the types of cars that I had missed.  That's one nice feature of going to a dealership that is often overlooked, they get all the TSBs from the manufacturer and can keep their eyes out for those issues.

Greg

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2015, 02:51:26 PM »
Some shops do a nice checklist of inspections, some don't, some say they do and don't, some upsell you on things you don't need.  It varies even within shops, even at dealerships.

I do my own wrenching so oil changes are easy-peasy and give my an excuse to check over other things, just like a tech at a shop should do.  I choose my own oil and filter brands, and take the old oil and filter to the local dump's hazo-house for recycling while I'm going there anyway to get rid of debris from my remodeling jobs.

I'd do it if you enjoy it for the reasons above or others, if not just pay to get it done.  Long term I think it's better to do your own, but many people don't keep cars that long anymore.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2015, 04:07:24 PM »
My Car:

Still under warranty (as is the current car): Dealer does the servicing (that way if there is ever a dispute over lack of maintenance causing the issue there are records).
Out of warranty: I do it.

The Wife's Car:
 
Still under warranty: see above
Out of warranty: due to her driving load and our work schedules the only way to ensure it is done in a timely fashion is to farm it out.

paddedhat

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2015, 07:45:31 PM »
Check your brands, FRAM makes great filters that I've used for years.  Their sub 5k mileage basic filter clocks in at $3.77 at walmart (a PH3316 for me) .

Sorry, but like many who have had issues with them, I strongly believe, based on my experience, and reported failures, that the very worst thing you can ever do when changing your oil is use a total piece of shit, low grade Fram filter. I was plagued by horrendous top end rattling on startup, every time one of our cars sat for longer that half a day, or so. We left it parked for a week one time, and I thought it would grenade after it started, since it had such a death rattle. After much testing and research, I determined that the crap, anti-drainback valve on the Fram fails quickly and frequently. This allows the oil to drain out of the entire valve system, and results in dry, nasty, damaging startups. Once I started spending the same amount of money for a quality Purolator filter, the issue was resolved immediately. There are, BTW, hundreds of reports available of others having the same issue with the economy grade Fram filters.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2015, 08:02:01 PM »
Check your brands, FRAM makes great filters that I've used for years.  Their sub 5k mileage basic filter clocks in at $3.77 at walmart (a PH3316 for me) .

Sorry, but like many who have had issues with them, I strongly believe, based on my experience, and reported failures, that the very worst thing you can ever do when changing your oil is use a total piece of shit, low grade Fram filter. I was plagued by horrendous top end rattling on startup, every time one of our cars sat for longer that half a day, or so. We left it parked for a week one time, and I thought it would grenade after it started, since it had such a death rattle. After much testing and research, I determined that the crap, anti-drainback valve on the Fram fails quickly and frequently. This allows the oil to drain out of the entire valve system, and results in dry, nasty, damaging startups. Once I started spending the same amount of money for a quality Purolator filter, the issue was resolved immediately. There are, BTW, hundreds of reports available of others having the same issue with the economy grade Fram filters.

My last vehicle was a Dodge-Cummins and Fram has pressure failure issues which caused engine damage . . . needless to say I'd rather pay a few bucks more to have a filter that works.

Faraday

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2015, 08:06:42 PM »
I do my own oil changes in my car that is out of warranty. Always Mobil 1 synthetic and a filter (I prefer OEM or WIX), always less than $30. That's equivalent to about an $80 synthetic oil change most places.'

I've owned this car for going-on 15 years and I've done an average of three oil changes per year. That's $90/year vs. $240 a year and $1350 over the life of the car vs. $3600 for paying to have it done.

In many cases, i catch things going wrong under the car before something really bad happens, or when something does happen, I already can visualize the why of it and fix it. I check the CV joint boots every time. I check various seals and the serpentine belt. I often replace lost fasteners, broken cable and hose ties, degrading rubber parts, etc.

Example: I know right where the O2 sensors are and can replace them lickety split if I ever need to. I also check brake pad life while I'm at it.

Quote
After much testing and research, I determined that the crap, anti-drainback valve on the Fram fails quickly and frequently. This allows the oil to drain out of the entire valve system, and results in dry, nasty, damaging startups. Once I started spending the same amount of money for a quality Purolator filter, the issue was resolved immediately. There are, BTW, hundreds of reports available of others having the same issue with the economy grade Fram filters.

My last vehicle was a Dodge-Cummins and Fram has pressure failure issues which caused engine damage . . . needless to say I'd rather pay a few bucks more to have a filter that works.

I thought the cheap Fram filters had NO drainback valve and that's why the problem? I do know their more premium versions advertise having a drainback valve.

Why not always use the OEM filters? It's easy for me to order those for my somewhat-rare vehicle online from Honda. I always keep 'em in stock in my home garage.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 10:19:00 PM by Faraday »

paddedhat

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2015, 08:31:42 PM »

I thought the cheap Fram filters had NO drainback valve and that's why the problem? I do know their more premium versions advertise having a drainback valve.

Why not always use the OEM filters?

IIRC, when I looked into the issue, the base model Fram was built with a cardboard drainback valve, which obviously is incapable of performing the task for the duration.  As for the OEM filters, it probably would be a bit of an upgrade, but the Purolators are commonly available and priced right. I have a CRV that gets Mobil 1 every 5000 miles, so I would guess that the difference between the two filters isn't of any real significance. I guess I could devote a few hours to geeking out on the subject, and research it, but I haven't yet.

Jack

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2015, 08:19:50 AM »
With oil filters you get what you pay for, and that holds true for Fram more than most.

Cheap orange Fram filters suck really, really bad.

(Relatively) expensive Fram Ultra filters are really, really good.

On my cars, I use Fram Ultra along with synthetic oil and extended oil change intervals.

Faraday

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2015, 08:27:49 AM »
With oil filters you get what you pay for, and that holds true for Fram more than most.

Cheap orange Fram filters suck really, really bad.

(Relatively) expensive Fram Ultra filters are really, really good.

On my cars, I use Fram Ultra along with synthetic oil and extended oil change intervals.

+1  Here's an example study that supports your point about 70%:
http://www.austincc.edu/wkibbe/oilfilterstudy.htm

I like this study because it supports my contention that Purolator and WIX filters are good. Those filters are made here in North Carolina, USA, about a 3 hour drive from me. Yay!

http://www.evolutionm.net/forums/evo-engine-turbo-drivetrain/637158-official-oil-filter-testing-results-thread-4g63t-4b11t.html

This study claims the WIX filters are made in Mexico. I'm quite sure of the information I state above but I suppose it's possible they've got more than one plant making these filters.

Fishindude

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2015, 09:15:57 AM »
I pay $40 at the Quick Lube place, could do it myself for about $25.
For the $15 difference, I don't mind paying them for an oil change every so often.

Faraday

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2015, 09:29:28 AM »
I pay $40 at the Quick Lube place, could do it myself for about $25.
For the $15 difference, I don't mind paying them for an oil change every so often.

Wait till they do one of these mistakes:
- overfill the oil
- underfill the oil
- forget to change the filter
- take something off and forget to put it back on
- grab the wrong oil drain plug and force it into your oil pan

DW had a Dodge Minivan once. I kept trying different oil change places looking for someone who didn't screw things up and every time, it was just a different mistake.

How do I know these things? After each oil change, I rolled the minivan up on the ramps I used for my Honda Insight oil changes and checked.

When I started to get suspicious, I started marking the old oil filter: I found my marked oil filter still on the engine after one of these "oil and filter changes".

The wrong oil drain plug was this big yellow thing, looked like it came out of a diesel engine. Fortunately it was also too short and didn't strip the threads completely. I went to Advance Auto, got the correct oil pan plug and replaced it.

Of course, I had to drain all the oil and didn't put it back in, so that oil change cost us double. Since then I've never gone back to an oil change place.

I'm telling you: They hire high school pothead dropouts to do this work who hate your middle class guts because they think they've been "given a bum deal". They laugh when they try to get away with this stuff. I went back a couple times trying to get things made right but management took Pothead Dropout's side because once you find something and fix it, how can you prove THEY did it?

Fishindude

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2015, 09:38:04 AM »
I did have them strip the drain plug one time and noticed a drip.  They repaired it promptly, no charge.

Unless you are some sort of master mechanic, the possibilities for mistakes or troublesome issues are there no matter if you are hiring the this out or doing the work yourself.  I think those risks / fears are far over stated.

What about the risk of personal injury doing it yourself?
Been a lot of shade tree mechanics crushed by their cars over the years when they didn't have proper equipment or follow safe procedures.

Louisville

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2015, 09:43:52 AM »
I pay $40 at the Quick Lube place, could do it myself for about $25.
For the $15 difference, I don't mind paying them for an oil change every so often.

Wait till they do one of these mistakes:
- overfill the oil
- underfill the oil
- forget to change the filter
- take something off and forget to put it back on
- grab the wrong oil drain plug and force it into your oil pan

DW had a Dodge Minivan once. I kept trying different oil change places looking for someone who didn't screw things up and every time, it was just a different mistake.

How do I know these things? After each oil change, I rolled the minivan up on the ramps I used for my Honda Insight oil changes and checked.

When I started to get suspicious, I started marking the old oil filter: I found my marked oil filter still on the engine after one of these "oil and filter changes".

The wrong oil drain plug was this big yellow thing, looked like it came out of a diesel engine. Fortunately it was also too short and didn't strip the threads completely. I went to Advance Auto, got the correct oil pan plug and replaced it.

Of course, I had to drain all the oil and didn't put it back in, so that oil change cost us double. Since then I've never gone back to an oil change place.

I'm telling you: They hire high school pothead dropouts to do this work who hate your middle class guts because they think they've been "given a bum deal". They laugh when they try to get away with this stuff. I went back a couple times trying to get things made right but management took Pothead Dropout's side because once you find something and fix it, how can you prove THEY did it?
I've had my oil changed numerous times at half a dozen different places over the years. I've done it my self more times than that.
I've never encountered anything like what you describe. I am sitting right in the car while they're working, so I can sort of watch what they're doing, and I do make a point of checking things out before getting very far away from the shop.
Further, a number of my friends (at least when I was younger) worked at places like this and, while many of them did smoke pot, I can't recall any of them laughing about intentionally damaging someone's car. They were pretty closely supervised, and smoking weed and even dropping out of school, while not great ideas, don't make someone an asshole.
So, uhm, anecdote right back at you.

Faraday

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #31 on: November 16, 2015, 09:50:43 AM »
I pay $40 at the Quick Lube place, could do it myself for about $25.
For the $15 difference, I don't mind paying them for an oil change every so often.

Wait till they do one of these mistakes:
- overfill the oil
- underfill the oil
- forget to change the filter
- take something off and forget to put it back on
- grab the wrong oil drain plug and force it into your oil pan

DW had a Dodge Minivan once. I kept trying different oil change places looking for someone who didn't screw things up and every time, it was just a different mistake.

How do I know these things? After each oil change, I rolled the minivan up on the ramps I used for my Honda Insight oil changes and checked.

When I started to get suspicious, I started marking the old oil filter: I found my marked oil filter still on the engine after one of these "oil and filter changes".

The wrong oil drain plug was this big yellow thing, looked like it came out of a diesel engine. Fortunately it was also too short and didn't strip the threads completely. I went to Advance Auto, got the correct oil pan plug and replaced it.

Of course, I had to drain all the oil and didn't put it back in, so that oil change cost us double. Since then I've never gone back to an oil change place.

I'm telling you: They hire high school pothead dropouts to do this work who hate your middle class guts because they think they've been "given a bum deal". They laugh when they try to get away with this stuff. I went back a couple times trying to get things made right but management took Pothead Dropout's side because once you find something and fix it, how can you prove THEY did it?
I've had my oil changed numerous times at half a dozen different places over the years. I've done it my self more times than that.
I've never encountered anything like what you describe. I am sitting right in the car while they're working, so I can sort of watch what they're doing, and I do make a point of checking things out before getting very far away from the shop.
Further, a number of my friends (at least when I was younger) worked at places like this and, while many of them did smoke pot, I can't recall any of them laughing about intentionally damaging someone's car. They were pretty closely supervised, and smoking weed and even dropping out of school, while not great ideas, don't make someone an asshole. So, uhm, anecdote right back at you.

You sit in your car while they change the oil? How do they know you won't start the car and put it in gear while they are under it?

Here the quick oil change places take your car at the garage door and you are ushered into a small, smoky waiting room with a TV going and you can't see what they are doing. They return the car to you, with engine still running, out the other side of the building.  No supervision at all, from start to finish, of the person doing the work here.

"asshole" is your word, not mine. I'll back away from the pot smoking part of the story, since you seem to have personal investment in that aspect of it....

Louisville

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2015, 10:21:35 AM »
I pay $40 at the Quick Lube place, could do it myself for about $25.
For the $15 difference, I don't mind paying them for an oil change every so often.

Wait till they do one of these mistakes:
- overfill the oil
- underfill the oil
- forget to change the filter
- take something off and forget to put it back on
- grab the wrong oil drain plug and force it into your oil pan

DW had a Dodge Minivan once. I kept trying different oil change places looking for someone who didn't screw things up and every time, it was just a different mistake.

How do I know these things? After each oil change, I rolled the minivan up on the ramps I used for my Honda Insight oil changes and checked.

When I started to get suspicious, I started marking the old oil filter: I found my marked oil filter still on the engine after one of these "oil and filter changes".

The wrong oil drain plug was this big yellow thing, looked like it came out of a diesel engine. Fortunately it was also too short and didn't strip the threads completely. I went to Advance Auto, got the correct oil pan plug and replaced it.

Of course, I had to drain all the oil and didn't put it back in, so that oil change cost us double. Since then I've never gone back to an oil change place.

I'm telling you: They hire high school pothead dropouts to do this work who hate your middle class guts because they think they've been "given a bum deal". They laugh when they try to get away with this stuff. I went back a couple times trying to get things made right but management took Pothead Dropout's side because once you find something and fix it, how can you prove THEY did it?
I've had my oil changed numerous times at half a dozen different places over the years. I've done it my self more times than that.
I've never encountered anything like what you describe. I am sitting right in the car while they're working, so I can sort of watch what they're doing, and I do make a point of checking things out before getting very far away from the shop.
Further, a number of my friends (at least when I was younger) worked at places like this and, while many of them did smoke pot, I can't recall any of them laughing about intentionally damaging someone's car. They were pretty closely supervised, and smoking weed and even dropping out of school, while not great ideas, don't make someone an asshole. So, uhm, anecdote right back at you.

You sit in your car while they change the oil? How do they know you won't start the car and put it in gear while they are under it?

Here the quick oil change places take your car at the garage door and you are ushered into a small, smoky waiting room with a TV going and you can't see what they are doing. They return the car to you, with engine still running, out the other side of the building.  No supervision at all, from start to finish, of the person doing the work here.

"asshole" is your word, not mine. I'll back away from the pot smoking part of the story, since you seem to have personal investment in that aspect of it....
I've never been to one where one doesn't sit in one's car as it's being serviced. They tell you when to pull forward, cut the engine, restart, etc.

Faraday

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #33 on: November 16, 2015, 11:18:01 AM »
I've never been to one where one doesn't sit in one's car as it's being serviced. They tell you when to pull forward, cut the engine, restart, etc.

Interesting. Sounds like a drive-through car wash. Here we have Jiffy Lube, Snappy Lube and Precision Tune and none of these three companies have you drive through. You exit the car and leave the keys in, get out and go to the waiting room.

I'm starting to wonder how much this might be a factor in the difference of our experiences.

paddedhat

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2015, 06:25:04 AM »
I've had my oil changed numerous times at half a dozen different places over the years. I've done it my self more times than that.
I've never encountered anything like what you describe. I am sitting right in the car while they're working, so I can sort of watch what they're doing, and I do make a point of checking things out before getting very far away from the shop.
Further, a number of my friends (at least when I was younger) worked at places like this and, while many of them did smoke pot, I can't recall any of them laughing about intentionally damaging someone's car. They were pretty closely supervised, and smoking weed and even dropping out of school, while not great ideas, don't make someone an asshole.
So, uhm, anecdote right back at you.

Karma can be a bitch, and payback for the "that kind of stuff never happens to me" attitude, can be ugly.  I know it's anecdotes, but F'ups are amazingly prevalent. After an oil change, my mom left the shop of a guy who was, at the time, was a trusted friend. Within blocks the oil plug fell out, and by the time she saw the idiot light and pulled over, the motor seized. Naturally, the culprit failed to man up, but the small claims judge did it for him. A neighbor pulled into a local place for an oil change, and was called into the office to be told very sternly, that her front struts were so shot that the car shouldn't even leave the garage. She called her husband, who informed her that he replaced them less than two months ago. I made the mistake of taking our CRV to a dealer while on the road, for an oil change. They had no interest in doing the work, they only wanted to get the car up on the lift to look for things to upsell. They tore the glove box apart to get to the cabin air filter. They then reported that it was "shot", which was total bullshit. I told them to put it back and do the work I asked them to do. They put the old filter back in, upside down, and failed to reassemble the interior of the glove box. After the oil change I had to use a cake pan, and while laying in the driveway of a resort, drain a extra quart of oil out. Why should a Honda dealer have any idea how much oil a new Honda takes, Right? My son gets serious with his fiancÚ , and tells her that it's time to stop taking her Corolla to the local quick lube clowns. The car has a canister style filter. He opens the top and discovers an odd lump in the bottom of the canister. The quick change place never changed the filter, and it had literally disintegrated. It hadn't had a new filter in years, even though she paid for almost a dozen.

Sure, the vast majority of service work gets done well enough to keep the vehicle running, but if you have the skill set and tools, IMHO, there is no reason to risk a valuable asset to a bunch of clowns who may, or may not, do the job correctly. If you need to sit in the car, watch what they are doing, and then double check their work before you get too far away from the place, you need to step back and ask yourself "why an I doing this, when it would be faster, easier, cheaper and done correctly the first time,  if I did it myself"
I have done hundreds of oil changes, repairs and maintenance tasks on vehicles in my garage, and never had problems that were caused by not giving a shit enough to do it right the first time. In that time I have saved hundreds of hours by not driving back and forth to shops, and waiting for work to be done, and thousands, or more likely tens of thousands of dollars, by not paying a shop for labor, profit and overhead.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 07:27:07 AM by paddedhat »

paddedhat

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2015, 06:56:40 AM »
Walmart is eliminating Tire and Lube services at new stores.  They just opened a new Walmart store locally to replace one without full grocery and it has no Tire and Lube like the old one did.  A manager said Walmart can't keep auto techs so they are getting out of the auto service business at new stores.  There are five fairly new Walmart stores in my area and none have auto services.

It is good to hear that at least some tire and lube places video everything that is done.  I'm still not sure what to do about an oil change for my car.  If I do it this weekend I have to drive into town to either get it done or to buy oil and a filter.

From the very few times I have done business with Walmart's tire and service department, it seem to me that they are simply incapable of running things competently enough to be competitive, and pay truly qualified help. I have watched them put a tech. on rotating my truck tires, and then spend an hour and a half of labor doing a fifteen minute job. It was almost painful to watch since, after lowering the truck and backing it out, the tech. had to take it on a short test drive and then return to a bay where a manager had to check all 32 lugs with a torque wrench.  All this an a bill of $24. Around here, if you didn't bill at least $100 in shop time for 1-1/2 + hours of service, you lost money. The final straw for me was showing up and requesting a rotation, and balance, on two tires, while on a road trip to Utah. The place was empty and there was a tech. and a manager on hand. They had one oil change underway, and an issue with a recently installed, possibly defective, battery to address. They were looking at a half hour of work, for one guy, for the foreseeable future. The tech. was in near panic mode and told me that the battery might turn into a big issue, depending on what the manager had to say (WTF?) and asked if I could come back in two hours? Um, no.  I pulled down the street to a Les Schwab and was done in half an hour. Schwab was a few hundred feet away, provided all the same services, and had ten techs. going full blast, with three service writers trying to keep the front of the house under control.

I doubt that things are much different in many of Walmart's shops. I have a buddy who works for a large independent garage. Walmart moved down the street and opened with an auto center. The small shop had a decent tire business but was very concerned about being driven out of the tire business by Walmart. After the owner did some research, he borrowed $400K and decided to get serious about tires. The shop was expanded with a new tire store, equipment and employees. It's been a decade now. The tire shop is doing great, and the Auto center at WM is dribbling along.

lthenderson

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2015, 09:26:44 AM »
I've had my oil changed numerous times at half a dozen different places over the years. I've done it my self more times than that. I've never encountered anything like what you describe.

With roughly two decades of paying someone to change my oil, I've never had any of the experiences described above as well. However, I'm a firm believer in getting what you pay for and I steer clear of the discount oil change places who can offer the discounts by not paying employees much. I much prefer to go to a one-off private service place where I know the name of the guy who changes my oil, the name of his wife and kids, where he likes to eat, hobbies when not changing oil, etc. You pay a little more but you get better service.

Flyingkea

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #37 on: November 18, 2015, 06:09:24 AM »
This weekend, I just had my partner teach me how to change the oil, replace the filter, check the brakes and check fluid levels and the air filter.
Since my car had plenty of brake padding left, we just had to buy oil and a filter. All up cost? About $50*. If I had taken in for a service?  Min $80 possibly more like 100-150 with upselling. We did both cars that afternoon, and I consider it,well worth it.

That said, being summer in Australia, I need to take my car in to have the aircon checked - it stopped working so it will need leak checking and regassing.

*Aussie prices.

On another note, New Zealand has a interesting vehicle checking system - all cars must pass a roadworthy test every 6 months, and there are stations all over the country that can do it. However they don't do the repairs themselves, so not too likely to upsell. And no incentive for failing as if you make the repairs and return within 28 days you don't pay twice.

BlueMR2

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2015, 10:19:40 AM »
Why not always use the OEM filters? It's easy for me to order those for my somewhat-rare vehicle online from Honda. I always keep 'em in stock in my home garage.

I'm a huge fan of OEM unless you have a REALLY good reason not to.  My Eclipse I use a Mobil1 filter due to how tight the space is between the filter and the downpipe.  Can't get a cap wrench on the OEM filter and it's a higher torque install, so you really need the cap wrench...

I got a free Mobil1 filter for my MR2 and immediately went back to OEM.  Either Mobil1 doesn't have an anti-drainback valve or it doesn't work well as the car would rattle horribly on startup with the Mobil1 filter (not a problem with the Eclipse because that filter is on it's side at the bottom of the engine instead of vertical at the top of the engine).

My Suzuki had an aftermarket on it when it arrived.  Major issues with removing the old one.  REALLY high torque application (contact plus 2.5 turns!).  OEM works MUCH better for install/removal.

reader2580

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2015, 01:37:55 PM »
I didn't realize my car takes 6 quarts of oil rather than 5 quarts of oil.  Even if I bought the least expensive oil and filter locally the cost is still just as much as having a shop do it.  I just had a shop do it this time.  I may do it myself the next time if I can find deals on buying oil and filter in advance.

greaper007

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2015, 07:49:07 PM »
I think it's generally a good idea to learn how to do some basic things on your car just because it gives you an idea of how things work in your own car.   That allows you to diagnose problems quickly and prevents someone from screwing you out of money on a repair.

However, I had a 90 Maxima when I knew very little about car repairs.    I only used crappy quick lube places and had lots of shoddy repairs from places like Firestone.   I ended up selling it at 20 years old with about 200,000 miles, I'd imagine that it's still running today.

I do all my own mx now, but I also end up screwing myself fairly regularly.   It's not just the "pothead dropouts that want to occupy your 70s ranch style home" that can screw things up.    I've done things to my car at 3 o'clock in the morning (you know how those 90 min jobs go) that I'm too ashamed to even admit here.

Also, lets lay off of the pothead dropout talk.    One of my pot dealers in High School was a dropout that worked at the jiffy lube.   He was a nice guy that provided a product many people desired at an affordable rate, he also gave a decent oil change.   He even let me smoke in his basement while we played play station and listened to crappy music.    I can't imagine you didn't also have someone like this in your life at one point.

reader2580

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2015, 09:11:54 PM »
I can change oil.  It isn't hard.  I paid to have it done for $25 because I could barely buy the six quarts of oil and filter for $25.  It would have easily taken me the same 30 minutes I spent at the dealer.  Next time I might do it myself if I watch for sales on oil and can order the filter online for less.

Faraday

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #42 on: November 18, 2015, 10:27:30 PM »
Also, lets lay off of the pothead dropout talk.    One of my pot dealers in High School was a dropout that worked at the jiffy lube.   He was a nice guy that provided a product many people desired at an affordable rate, he also gave a decent oil change.   He even let me smoke in his basement while we played play station and listened to crappy music.    I can't imagine you didn't also have someone like this in your life at one point.


paddedhat

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #43 on: November 19, 2015, 05:09:05 AM »
I can change oil.  It isn't hard.  I paid to have it done for $25 because I could barely buy the six quarts of oil and filter for $25.  It would have easily taken me the same 30 minutes I spent at the dealer.  Next time I might do it myself if I watch for sales on oil and can order the filter online for less.

You are right, it's tough to do the job for much under $25. That said, I do my own on our motorhome. It takes six qts. of semi-synthetic. I use the Ford brand oil and filter, which run about $28 at Wal-Mart. My issue is not about the price, it's the ten grease fittings in the front end. I  regrease them on a regular basis, and I know that even the nearly hidden one is done properly, which involves making sure the wheel is cocked hard to one side, to access it. Since there is no way in hell the average $25 oil change involves properly greasing much of anything, it only takes a few years until the suspension and steering parts, which should last indefinitely, start to fail. I really don't want to drop a few thousand in needless repairs because I supported my local pothead at the $25 oil change place.

DISCLAIMER: The "pothead" comment is only in keeping with the drifting narrative of this thread, and it's  recently evolved, "honor your local pothead" theme. I have no personal knowledge of the amount of drug usage the employees of my local quick change oil shop may, or may not, be engaging in. LOL

jba302

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #44 on: November 19, 2015, 08:57:48 AM »
We have 2 vehicles, a civic and an outback. The civic is a fking nuisance to change. I put it on ramps because it's impossible to get the oil changed otherwise unless you are Dhalsim. Then you have to take off the big plastic underbody thing, which means you have to take off a bunch of little plastic pop-rivets. A quarter of them snap every time you do this (I have a big bag of these god damn things to replace the inevitable broken ones). Then there are 6 bolts that come off stupidly easy, but snap when you over tighten by a half ounce. I have 3 snapped off right now and have yet to drill them out.

The subaru has the oil filter positioned on top of the engine, so with a vacuum pump I can change the oil and filter from above. I pay to have the civic changed and do the subaru myself.

Faraday

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #45 on: November 19, 2015, 11:29:14 AM »
(I have a big bag of these god damn things to replace the inevitable broken ones).

jba, where do you buy your big bag of those god damn things!?! I buy them in the three-pack from Advance Auto and they are starting to cost me real money. I replace one every time I do the oil in my Honda.

Quote
The subaru has the oil filter positioned on top of the engine, so with a vacuum pump I can change the oil and filter from above. I pay to have the civic changed and do the subaru myself.

Ahhh....another superb benefit of that beautiful horizontally-opposed boxer engine! Toyota does the same thing on their big Tundra trucks - I locked up and stared at it for five full minutes when I first saw it.

ncornilsen

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #46 on: November 19, 2015, 02:48:05 PM »
I value my time fairly highly. Therefor, I change my oil myself.  3 minutes to order the stuff on Amazon, 15 minutes to change the oil, more time for tire rotations, etc... usually less than an hour. This, versus a 15 minute drive to an oil change shop, an hour there, and a 15 minute drive home, plus more money.

Quote
Ahhh....another superb benefit of that beautiful horizontally-opposed boxer engine! Toyota does the same thing on their big Tundra trucks - I locked up and stared at it for five full minutes when I first saw it.

If only those horizontally opposed engines didn't sound like they had a blown exhaust valve, I'd agree about the beautiful part... In my opinion, they sound like absolute garbage. I cringe when I hear someone railing on one.


dragoncar

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #47 on: November 19, 2015, 03:50:09 PM »
If you have a good place to do it, then DIY.  Install a Fumoto-type valve and there's almost no mess or even jacking (depends on your oil filter setup).

That said, if I lived in an apartment complex or something I would probably just pay a garage.  I agree w/ everyone else that the #1 advantage is knowing it was done correctly.  You can also get really good deals on oil if you watch slickdeals, etc.

reader2580

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #48 on: November 19, 2015, 09:15:43 PM »
I value my time fairly highly. Therefor, I change my oil myself.  3 minutes to order the stuff on Amazon, 15 minutes to change the oil, more time for tire rotations, etc... usually less than an hour. This, versus a 15 minute drive to an oil change shop, an hour there, and a 15 minute drive home, plus more money.

I was in and out of the dealer yesterday in 30 minutes flat to get my oil changed and tires rotated.  It is on my way home so I'm not adding to my drive time.  I don't have two jacks so it would really hard to rotate my tires myself.  I really need to check CL for a floor jack.

BlueMR2

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Re: Oil changes: DIY or just pay for it?
« Reply #49 on: November 20, 2015, 03:08:13 AM »
I was in and out of the dealer yesterday in 30 minutes flat to get my oil changed and tires rotated.  It is on my way home so I'm not adding to my drive time.  I don't have two jacks so it would really hard to rotate my tires myself.  I really need to check CL for a floor jack.

I'm not sure why you need two jacks in order to rotate tires?