Do you need to do an oil change and you are asking if is it cheaper to change your own oil? If this is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we are going to learn all about the prices when it comes to performing an oil change at home.
- What Is Engine Oil?
- Oil Change Interval
- Oil Types
- Oil Change Benefits
- How To Check Oil?
- Average Flush Cost
- Is It Cheaper At Home?
Doing maintenance on your car is one of the best things you can do if you want to avoid possible issues in the long run. Oil changes are really essential and they should be done in proper intervals, and most importantly, you should use quality oil.
And here is the aspect where doing oil changes by yourself is the key when controlling what type of oil and what type of viscosity will be used. If you decide to flush your oil at Walmart, Costco, or another place, you really don’t know what type of oil they will put in your car. You just pay for the service and pick up your car after.
In this article, we cover what is engine oil in general and what are the different types of oil used on cars. Then we will cover more about the benefits of changing the oil and the oil viscosity chart. Later on, we will discuss more about how to check your oil and whether or not is it cheaper to change your own oil. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is Engine Oil
Now before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil, let’s first discuss what is engine oil in general. Knowing this stuff will help you understand the essence of this type of fluid inside of your engine. So, what is engine oil?
Well, engine oil is one of the most important fluids in an internal combustion engine. More precisely, engine oil is a lubricant. It lubes the internals of the engine.
Engine oil travels across the engine and lubes everything. More precisely the pistons, the rod bearings, engine valves. Basically, every place where friction exists. This friction will basically destroy the internals of the engine.
It will scar the cylinder bores, it will eat the rod bearings. So, don’t be surprised if your engine starts to knock if you don’t do your oil changes regularly.
If for some reason, there will be no oiling, there will be friction development. And where is friction, there will be a lot of heat. So, not only that the oil lubes the whole engine. It also dissipates the heat from the engine.
If the engine oil is low or sludgy, you can expect the engine to overheat. And here we come to another important topic that we would like to cover before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil and that is the oil change interval. You need to know when to change the oil. And that’s we are going to discuss next.
Oil Change Interval
Now before we cover if is cheaper to change your own oil, let’s discuss another important topic. And that is the oil change interval. What is the right oil change interval for your car?
Frankly, this really depends on the engine oil that you are using as well as the engine that you run. Modern engines with high mileage oils are more tolerant when it comes to oil changes. Why is this so?
Well, this is the case because modern engines are far more perfected and the tolerances are kept tight. Everything inside of the engine works like clockwork and engine oil lasts longer in this scenario.
Not to mention that modern engines are using full-synthetic oil that lasts more than the standard conventional motor oil. But more on the types, we are going to cover next. Now let’s see what is the right interval. The right interval for doing these oil changes is about 6,000 to 10,000 miles.
If you are using a full-synthetic oil, then you can push this oil to 10,000 miles with no problem.
On the other hand, if you use standard oil, you can expect to change this oil somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 miles.
This is basically the sweet spot when it comes to engine oil change. Later on, we are also going to learn how you can check the engine oil and determine that you need an oil change and if is it cheaper to change your own oil or not.
The important thing for you in this case when it comes to the intervals is to always follow them. You need to make sure that you don’t skip them. If you skip the interval for 5,000+ miles, you can expect sludge development inside of the engine. And where is sludge, there is also engine damage.
So, don’t do that. Learn if is it cheaper to change your own oil and flush the oil on your car. But what are the types of motor oil? Let’s cover them in the following chapters.
Types Of Engine Oil
Now before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil, let’s cover something more on the types of oil that are out there that you can purchase.
There are a few of them and you should be aware of which oil will be the best for your application. This is why we are going to cover them extensively, so you make the proper decision when it comes to choosing your oil.
The first type of engine oil that we are going to cover before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil is the conventional engine oil. But what is conventional oil?
Well, conventional oil is any type of oil that is produced from crude oil. Engine oil is basically a byproduct of the refinement of crude oil in gas or diesel.
This is why companies found a good purpose for these products. And that is the auto industry. The first type of oil was conventional oil.
And these types of oils were used up until very recently when they were replaced with improved types of oil that perform much better.
Still, the conventional motor oil is a good way to go if you have a hot rod with a classic engine. These engines work the best on conventional oils. Now let’s move to the next type of oil before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil.
The second type of oil that we are going to cover before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil is the synthetic blend. So, what is a synthetic blend?
A synthetic blend is basically a conventional motor oil. But improved. Improved by adding synthetic additives that make this type of oil last a lot longer than the standard conventional oil.
And by this, the engine oil lasts about 2,000 more on average. Oil change intervals for this type of oil are at about 7,000 to 8,000 miles.
Not to mention that this type of oil also lubes the engine quite better than standard conventional oil. So, if you have a newer engine produced from the late 80s or 90s, this engine oil will be perfect for you. But is it cheaper to change your own oil? Well, more on this we are going to cover later on in the article.
The last type of oil that we are going to cover before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil is fully synthetic motor oil.
Fully synthetic motor oil nowadays is the gold standard for almost every new engine. This type of oil was invented during WW2 to tackle the harsh winters. But its implementation in the automotive industry was delayed until recent years when cheaper ways of manufacturing were invented.
This type of oil is produced from completely synthetic compounds. So, no conventional and organic compounds inside this oil.
And frankly, when it comes to engine oil. Synthetic wins any duel possible with conventional motor oils or synthetic blends. It is that good.
And on top of that, what is good about this oil is that it lasts for a lot longer than the standard oil. These types of oils can be safely pushed up to 10,000 miles.
Even though, we don’t recommend you do so. This is the case because you never know what could happen and just to be on the safe side, I would recommend you change the oil every 8,000 miles. But is it cheaper to change your own oil? More on that we are going to elaborate later on after we cover the oil viscosity chart.
Understanding Oil Viscosity
Now before we cover the topic of is it cheaper to change your own oil, let’s take a look at the oil viscosity. More precisely, let’s learn what the numbers on the oil jug mean in the first place.
Oil viscosity should be one of your top priorities. Especially if you live in places where is extreme heat or extreme cold.
And if you didn’t know, engine oil behaves differently in all these environments. Some oils are thinner in winter and thicker in the summer than other oils. Some oils are completely the opposite. And in order not to make any mistakes when flushing your oil. You need to understand the viscosity numbers.
Let’s take 5W-30 for example, one of the most common oils sold out there. So, why is this the case? This is the case because this oil works in most climates. If you live in an area with four seasons, this oil will be great. But what do the numbers mean?
5W refers to the performance of the oil in winter temperatures. The lower the number the thinner the oil is at extremely cold temperatures. So, 0W is the maximum that you can get. And if you live in Northern Canada or Alaska, this will probably be the oil that you want to get.
20W for example is the thickest oil possible when it comes to cold temperatures. On the other hand, the second two numbers after 5w indicate the performance of the oil in warm environments. The higher the number, the better the oil performs in warm environments.
The gold standard is still, 5w30 or 5w20 for moderate climates. Only for extreme cold, we would recommend something like 0w30. But is it cheaper to change your own oil? More on this in a bit.
Oil Change Benefits
Now before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil, let’s take a look at the oil change benefits. Why you should change your oil, what are the benefits that you will get by doing this?
Well, when it comes to benefits, there are plenty. The first benefit would probably be smoother engine work. An engine with fresh oil works much better than an engine with old oil. The oil flow is much better on a regularly serviced engine. You don’t have sludge development at all by doing these changes regularly.
This regular oil change will make your engine last a lot longer. If you didn’t know, with every late oil change, you shave a ton of miles from your engine. So, if your engine was planned to push 150,000 miles. With rare oil changes, you can be happy even to push this engine above 100,000 miles.
If the oil changes are less frequent than they should be, the engine will create heat inside and also friction. So, the bearings will suffer as well as the cylinder walls. The piston rings can get stuck from sludge and you could get blowby.
This means a reduction in power. And not only that you will ruin your engine, but you will also hurt the performance of this engine as well. And you don’t want this happening to you because an oil change is like $25 but to change an engine is $5,000+.
So, choose your priorities. But is it cheaper to change your own oil? More on this we are going to cover in a bit.
Oil Change VS Adding Oil
Now before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil, let’s learn more about oil change vs adding oil. What is the difference between the two?
Frankly, there are a ton of people who have engines that consume a ton of oil and they are simply adding oil and not doing oil changes.
Which is completely wrong. Even though if the engine wastes a quart of oil every 1,000 miles or more in some cases, you need to flush the oil.
If you don’t flush the oil, there will be a ton of sludge buildup inside of the engine. The engine will be black all the time and this is not good. So, do your oil changes regularly and make sure that you have the right engine oil for your car. But is it cheaper to change your own oil? Well, that’s what we are going to find out a bit later.
Good Oil VS Bad Oil Car
Now before we learn is it cheaper to change your own oil, let’s learn more about good oil vs bad oil. What is the difference and how you can tell that you have bad oil in your car? Let’s elaborate.
In order to learn the condition of the oil inside of your engine, you need to remove the dipstick and check the oil level and also the condition of the oil.
The right amount of oil should always be between the min and max levels. Never below or above. If it’s below it means that your car burns oil. If it’s higher, it means that the car is overfilled.
Once you removed the dipstick, see the color of the oil. Good oil should have a brownish color. If the oil has a lot of miles it will turn black. In addition to turning black, it will also smell burnt. The worse the smell is the more miles this oil has.
In addition to this, check the thickness with your fingers. Good oil should be relatively thin. If the oil is all black and very thick when you touch it, then this oil is probably overdue when it comes to changing and you need to change this oil as soon as possible.
And if you plan to purchase a car and notice something like this, better stay away from this vehicle. These cars are often poorly maintained. But is it cheaper to change your own oil? More on this we are going to cover in a bit.
Average Oil Change Price
Now let’s discuss more on the average oil change price that you will often have to pay when flushing the oil at a shop. How much do these oil changes cost? Let’s elaborate.
The average cost of doing oil changes is between $35 and $75. This price is for smaller engines up to 6 cylinders. If you have a bigger displacement engine, this means more oil and a higher price. So, you can even expect to pay up to $120 for an oil change. These are the average oil change prices.
But what is the cheapest place to get an oil change? The cheapest place when it comes to these oil changes definitely is Walmart and Costco. Their prices start at $32 and $29 respectively. But is it cheaper to change your own oil? Let’s explain more about this in the following chapter in-depth.
Is It Cheaper To Change Your Own Oil
So, is it cheaper to change your own oil? Well, the answer to this question is, no. But why is this so? Well, oil changes are not as simple as you might think.
In order to get the oil flushed, you need tools, first, you will need a small lift to lift the car in the air. Or possibly plastic ramps and all these things cost money.
In addition to this, the oil and filter will also cost you about $35 for good synthetic oil and filter. And considering that the base price of this service is $30, doing these things at home doesn’t make economic sense.
Unless you are a car guy who wants to wrench on his car in his free time. If you drive a lot and you love doing things done by yourself then go for it. So, we hope that we answered the question of is it cheaper to change your own oil.
DIY Oil Change: Facts You Need to Know
- Regularly changing your car’s oil is the simplest way to keep your engine healthy for years to come.
- An oil change requires new oil, an oil drain plug gasket, and an oil filter.
- The prices of each item vary depending on your car, except for the drain plug gasket, which usually costs under .50¢.
- A 5-quart bottle of Pennzoil Platinum oil costs $25.
- Oil filters usually run anywhere from $5 to $20, but they’re usually cheaper to get from a dealership than from a parts shop.
- Doing your own oil change costs around $40, assuming you already have the tools to perform it.
- To perform an oil change, you’ll need a socket wrench, a socket to fit your drain plug, and a drain pan.
- You may also need to lift your car in order to get under it, which requires a floor jack and stands.
- Doing your own oil change is not cheaper than getting it done at an auto shop, but it allows you to know exactly what’s in your car and gives you a sense of pride.
- Auto shops may use cheaper oils and oil filters that won’t last as long, and they may overtighten the drain plug and oil filter, making it difficult for you to remove them during your first oil change.
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to oil changes. First, we learned what is engine oil and why this fluid is so essential. Then we covered the different types of oil that are there and we learned more about oil viscosity.
Then we learned the benefits of doing oil changes and the oil change intervals. Lastly, we discussed the average oil change cost and we answered the question of is it cheaper to change your own oil or not.
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
When Should You Change Your Oil
Oil changes should be done at specific intervals. For conventional or synthetic blend oils we recommend changing at 7,000 miles. Synthetic oils can go up to 10,000. But it is recommended to flush at 8,000. Just to be on the safe side.
How Much Is An Oil Change
An oil change on the average is between $35 and $75. But you can also get this work even cheaper. You can get an oil change at Costco for $29 and at Walmart for $32.
How Much Is An Oil Filter
Oil filters are really cheap. They don’t cost more than $10 for a good quality filter. Always change your filter when you do an oil change.
How Many Quarts Of Oil Does My Car Take
This really depends on the displacement of the engine and also on the engine type. Even engines with the same displacement can take a different amount of oil. So, when it comes to this, always consult with the owner’s manual or browse online your engine number + the oil capacity.
How To Drain Oil From Car
In order to drain the oil, you need to find the oil drain bolt. This bold is located on the bottom of the oil pan. And in order to get there, you need to lift the car in the air. Before you remove the bolt, make sure that you remove the oil cap, so the oil comes down.
Do You Tip Oil Change Guy
Tipping is always a good idea. Tip him $5 or if you are generous $10. Everybody wants to be tipped. So, don’t ask yourself too many questions when it comes to tipping people.