Oil Changes: DIY vs. Mechanic

There’s a sense of pride that comes from doing something on your own. Whether moving furniture to a new house or just building a new desk (those building manuals can be so confusing!) we take extra pleasure in knowing that, instead of hiring help for a task, we saved money and did it ourselves. Despite that, there’s been a bit of confusion when it comes to DIY oil changes.

“Go to a mechanic, you could damage your car and end up paying for more than an oil change.”

“No, do it yourself! You can find a Youtube video that easily explains the process for your car and you save money!”

Both logical arguments, but what’s really the best decision?

Our take? Unless you’re knowledgeable about your car, go to a mechanic.

Sure, we may be a little biased when it comes to this argument but here are just a few reasons why a DIY oil change may not be the best idea.

You may hurt your vehicle…or yourself

It’s true, changing your oil is not the most difficult task in the world and for the trained eye, it’s a simple process that takes only a few minutes. For those that do not have the same knowledge or tools, you could leave your car in worse condition. Maybe you forget to replace the oil filter and instead use the same, old one. Or maybe you use the wrong oil for your vehicle. There’s just a lot that can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Also, mechanics have tools readily available to make these oil changes simple and safe. Deciding to use tools not meant for the job or going without a certain tool could potentially place you in danger.

It’s not as expensive as you’d think

For most repair shops or dealerships, a simple oil change will usually run you about $30. Yes, we get what you’re thinking:

“$30 just to pour oil out and in? Crazy!”

One great thing is that a lot of repair shops will offer coupons for a discounted, or even free, oil change if you visit their shop for the first time. Along with that, most cars don’t need an oil change after 3,000 miles. Higher quality and craftsmanship of today’s vehicles have them getting to 7,000, 10,000, or even 15,000 miles before the first oil change.

At the end of the day, the everyday driver will probably be visiting a shop twice every year. Spending $60, or potentially less, for an oil change? We’ll take that.

You can save time

Unless you own your own auto garage, it will ALWAYS be quicker for a professional to perform the oil change. A typical appointment lasts on average 20 minutes. DIY? 40 minutes, and that doesn’t include the additional time it takes to purchase the right tools, set up the car and clean up everything at the end. The overall time could last, and cost, a lot more than you’d prefer.

If you have the proper knowledge, time and money to change your own oil, go for it! As mentioned, there’s a lot of pride to be taken in anything DIY. But if any part of the process has you uncertain or you don’t have the appropriate tools, it might be best to stick with a professional.

Written by Auburn Foreign & Domestic