Is an oil change safe and practical for the average DIYer? Or is a job like this better left to the professionals?
Growing up with a father as a mechanic I never had to ask myself this question or worry about car maintenance and repairs. Now that I’m living in a different city and I can no longer rely on my go-to-mechanic for help, for the first time I've started asking myself these questions.
With internet sites overflowing with how-to videos and step-by-step instructions, there’s an abundance of information for those considering doing their first oil change. There’s the satisfaction in being able to complete a task on your own and you may wonder if it’s easier and more cost effective to change your own oil.
If you don’t currently have any of the tools or equipment to do the job, you'll have to go out and buy them. Oil changes require investment including an oil drain pan, car jack stands, a funnel, towels, and gloves. In addition to these costs, one small mistake and you could be faceing some expensive repair bills.
There are safety concerns that come with changing your own oil. The car needs to be jacked and stood properly otherwise it could cause serious damage to yourself and your vehicle. Knowing exactly where on the vehicle to jack and position the stands are critical as a good deal of undercarriage damage is caused by employing improper lifting methods and locations.
Changing oil is a messy business. You need to add this cleanup time to how long it will take you to change your oil and you also need to know the proper ways to dispose of the used oil.
When trying something new there’s always a risk of making a mistake. Mistakes could lead to larger costly problems. Some risks include using the wrong oil or filter, not properly attaching the filter to the engine, and not using appropriate levels of oil.
When it comes to convenience and time, it’s often possible to get your oil changed without making an appointment and within less than 30 min. Many locations will offer quick-lube services. An experienced lube tech will almost always have any required fluids, filters, and related parts on hand. This saves you the time of having to go out and buy the tools and oil you need and saves you cleanup time and proper disposal time.
Having someone else change your oil is quick, convenient, and mess-free. Aditionally, you are not taking on the risks associated with doing an oil change inexperienced.
Often, it may not be worth the cost, hassle and danger of doing a basic oil change yourself.
Shop around and find a place with competitive prices and good reviews.