An oil change is perhaps the most common type of maintenance that car owners need to provide for their car. While most people prefer changing their oil in an auto repair shop, some choose the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) path. But, which one is better?
This post will discuss the pros and cons of changing your oil by yourself versus getting a service center to do it for you.
- Importance of Oil Change to Your Car
- How Often Should You Change Your Oil?
- Do-It-Yourself Oil Change
- Car Shop Oil Change
Importance of Oil Change to Your Car
Engine oil is a necessary component to keep your car running smoothly. Failing to change your car’s oil on schedule can reduce its power and fuel economy. Below are the reasons why performing an oil change on the suggested interval is vital for your vehicle:
1. Removes Dirt
Oil helps keep the engine clean by removing dust and dirt. These particles can shorten the lifespan of an engine because of corrosion. As time passes, the mixture of oil and dirt turns into sludge which can cause problems to your car when left uncleaned.
2. Keeps Engine Components Cool
Your car’s engine can heat up fast, especially when using more fuel to improve its performance. The oil can help keep its temperature low and prevent it from overheating.
3. Maintains the Lubrication in the Engine
Your car’s oil is responsible for lubricating the engine’s moving parts under the hood, such as pistons and valves. These parts often move at high speeds and need to be adequately lubricated so they won’t get damaged from friction.
4. Improves Fuel Efficiency
A poorly lubricated engine can lead to poor fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, regularly changing the car’s oil can lessen fuel consumption.
How Often Should You Change Your Oil?
Most manufacturers recommend changing your car’s engine oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or every three months. This figure changes depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
If you’re using your car only a couple of times a month, you should still need to change its oil at least twice a year.
Meanwhile, if your car prefers synthetic oil, you need to change your oil every time your odometer hits 10,000 miles.
Check your car’s manual for the recommended oil change interval.
Do-It-Yourself Oil Change
Changing your car’s oil isn’t difficult and doesn’t require expensive tools, either. You can even do it in the comfort of your garage. Furthermore, changing your car’s oil takes anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour.
Here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to change your car’s oil:
- Use a jack to lift your car enough for you to crawl under it. Unscrew your car’s undertray.
- Place an oil drain pan and bucket under the oil receptacle. Unscrew the drain plugs to let the oil spill.
- Consider replacing the oil filter and drain plug, especially when it’s old.
- Reinstall everything.
- Lift your car’s hood and remove the oil cap. Fill the engine with oil to the level prescribed in the user’s manual.
- You can save, on average, between $20 and $55
- It might be faster since you don’t have to fall in line in the service lane
- You’ll need a lot of equipment like a creeper, jack, drain pan, etc.
- Mistakes are more common since your equipment and garage setup is not on par with the professionals
Service Center Oil Change
Auto shops and service centers offer oil changes at reasonable prices. Many car manufacturers also give free oil changes as part of their maintenance plan when you buy a brand new car from them.
The price of an oil change may vary depending on the type of oil, equipment, and other factors. You can lower the cost if you avail of promos from a service center. However, make sure not to compromise the oil change schedule to save money.
- You won’t have to worry about where you’ll dispose of the used engine oil
- Professional mechanics do the job better since they do it all the time
- Can help you keep track of your following oil change by placing a sticker or other reminders
- Car owner needs to spend every time they go to an auto mechanic for the oil change
Which Oil Change Should You Choose?
While doing the oil change yourself is pretty tempting, many car experts do not recommend it for most car users. Several things can go wrong aside from spilling the oil. For instance, forgetting to remove the old filter gasket can negatively affect your car’s performance.
Furthermore, today’s cars are highly calibrated and require a specific grade of oil. Using the wrong type of oil can damage essential components such as the pistons or the hydraulics.
Going under your vehicle without proper support, other than a lift jack, is a bit unsafe. Hence, you also need to spend some money to get the appropriate equipment for an oil change.
Thus, if you don’t have experience changing your car’s oil, it’s not recommended to do it yourself. Asking for advice from a professional mechanic can help you get the oil change right. Additionally, you might want to practice changing the oil of an older car model rather than a new one.
Paying attention to essential car maintenance, such as an oil change, is necessary to prolong your car’s lifespan. While there’s nothing wrong with saving money by doing the oil change yourself, it’s still better to leave it to the professionals.
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