Oil Changes: To DIY or Not?

Ahhh, the oil change. To some, mysterious, dirty, and a necessary evil. On the other end of the scale, a rite of passage, a break from the daily grind, and a welcome task to get us out of the house.

Today i’m going to break down the pros and cons of doing it yourself, and see if we can filter out some of the crud in the thought process here. By the way, ICYDK, an oil filters job is specifically to hold the gunk that the engine makes to keep it from recirculating through the engine, so don’t skimp on the filter changes! 😀

So first up is time. I’ve found it takes about an hour whether you DIY or take it somewhere.
When I DIY, I need to buy the oil and filter, which I usually do during one of my weekly shopping trips, then I have to put the vehicle up on ramps in a suitable spot, and go through the process (Another post).
When I take it somewhere, I have to drive there, check in, wait around awhile (or go do other stuff and come back) pay, and drive home.
About an hour, more or less, but the DIY is all my time actively spent, while the shop is some active and some passive.

When I DIY, I know exactly what was done, and how it was done.
When I take it somewhere, I have to trust that the shop did it correctly, didn’t cut any corners, used the correct parts, and so on.
The value of knowing exactly what has been done, for me, is very high.


When I DIY, I spend time with my vehicle, looking, noticing, poking, checking, nosing around, and I get to see the condition of things. Doing that many times gives me lots of data points to help me find, and fix, problems.
When I take it to a shop, they may, or may not, check other things, they may, or may not, care to look at other things, and they may, or may not, bother to let me know what they found.

When I DIY, it costs me about $30 and an hour of my time.
When I take it to a shop, it’s $30 and up, and still takes about an hour.
Now, to be fair, it also cost me $20 for the oil pan, $80 for the ramps, $10 for the wrench, and $10 for the oil filter wrench, but that’s all stuff I use for other tasks anyway, so it’s part of my overall overhead.

In closing (finally, right?!?!), I think i’m getting a far better value doing it myself because it helps me ‘keep up’ with what’s going on under the hood (and vehicle), which is important in itself, but moreso because I drive an older vehicle (that’s paid off, YES!) so I need to keep up with it.
Your mileage may vary, but DIY is the way to go to me! 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *