Yesterday I wrote about how Valvoline messed up my oil change. They screwed on an oil filter canister too tightly and it cost me $15 to get a new one. I could have gone back to their oil change location to try and get them to foot the bill and replace the part, but I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.
I figure it would have taken me at least half an hour of arguing my point to try and get them to replace the part and I determined that it wasn’t worth $15 for me to deal with the time and heartache. Instead they have lost my business and I will be sure to warn my friends before going to that franchise.
There were many different viewpoints left in the comments of that article. Some people mentioned they would have done the same thing as me, while others mentioned they would have gone back to Valvoline out of principle. Some people mentioned they change their own oil to avoid circumstances like this.
While changing your own oil is an excellent way to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen, that doesn’t mean that everyone should start changing their own oil. If you think about changing your own oil every type that you have to fork over that $30-ish to have someone else do, then this post is for you.
Should you change your own oil?
I take my car to the mechanic to get the oil changed. I know how to do it and I’ve done it before. I was also an aircraft mechanic in the USAF, so I know my way around tools, and I am not afraid to get dirty.
But I don’t change my oil anymore for several reasons:
- The savings isn’t very much – $5 at best.
- You still need to dispose of the used oil and filter and pay the disposal fee.
- I don’t have the specialized tools and equipment (special wrench for my car, oil pans, ramps, etc).
- I get my tires rotated for free where I normally get my oil change (I bought my tires there). This is important for the tire warranty.
- Included extras like the 22 point inspection and fluid top off. Mechanics are trained to look for abnormalities and can catch some problems before they become big (read: expensive) problems.
Benefits of changing your own oil. There are some benefits to changing your car’s oil yourself – such as saving a few dollars, knowing the job was done correctly, and the satisfaction of getting your hands dirty. But for me, those aren’t enough – not when I can take a few minutes out of my day and pay a couple extra dollars to have it done for me.
Reader Poll: Do you change your car’s oil yourself, or take it to the mechanic?
- I take it to a mechanic (44%, 622 Votes)
- I change it myself (39%, 557 Votes)
- Sometimes both (17%, 249 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,428 (poll closed – thanks for participating!)
If you enjoy doing minor work on your car, then it can be worth it to save that money. For anyone that has a car that’s very low to the ground that requires a lot of work to get under, it’s going to take longer.
If you have an auto repair shop or a mechanic that you trust that does oil changes for $20, I would suggest having a professional do it. Not only can they check the oil, but they can also look for any other problems as well. While you might have a lot of mechanical knowledge, I don’t. Sure, I had a bad experience with a Valvoline, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll start changing my own oil.