If you’re trying to save every penny possible on auto repair and other costs, you might ask yourself, “Should I change my own oil?” After all, it’s cheaper, and you can do it at home just as well as the pros, right?
Actually, it’s not that straightforward. Read on to learn about oil changes and 5 reasons to pay a professional to change your oil.
The oil in your car engine keeps the engine running by picking up dirt, lubricating the engine, and cooling the car. As the oil cycles through the car, it passes through filters that remove the dirt.
How often you change the oil depends on how you drive the car and where you live. For instance, you need to change your oil more often if you drive in the city because short trips can cause water to condense in the engine. Extreme temperatures also increase the need for oil changes, because water condensation in cold weather turns the oil into sludge, while hot weather breaks down the oil.
So why should you have a professional change the oil instead of doing it yourself?
Is changing your own oil cheaper? Actually, it won’t save you much. A professional oil change using conventional oil costs about $40-$50. If you do the job yourself you’ll spend $20 or more on the oil, and also need other equipment such as an oil change pan, funnel, towels, rubber gloves, car ramps, and possibly a jack.
It’s easy to hurt yourself while changing your oil. Oil causes skin irritation if you touch it with bare hands, and if you’re dealing with hot oil, you can get burned. Even worse, if you don’t know how to properly jack up the car, it might fall on you and cause injuries or worse.
Besides changing your oil, a professional inspects the rest of your car. The oil change service might include checking the brakes, lights, fluids, and exhaust system, and checking the air filters and windshield wipers for a reasonable price.
A good oil change service can even help you keep your tires in good shape by rotating the tires, adjusting the tire pressure, and checking for wear. This will help your tires last longer.
If you make mistakes during an oil change, you can cause further damage down the road. It’s easy to buy the wrong oil, forget to change the filter, or install something incorrectly. Some of these mistakes can lead to expensive repairs.
An at-home oil change usually creates a huge mess, including stained clothing and oil puddles in the driveway. Between draining the oil from the car into the oil pan, pouring the oil into a disposal container, and wiping everything up, you’ll end up with drips, stains, and grimy paper towels.
After you finish your oil change, you still have to dispose of the used oil. This means you have to take an extra trip, and you might have to pay disposal fees.
Since changing the oil yourself costs almost as much as hiring a professional, and since a professional provides extra service, why do it yourself? Don’t keep asking, “Should I change my own oil?” Contact us instead–we’ll change your oil and help you keep your car in great condition.