Why I do my own oil change
I believe I can do an oil change on my vehicles more conveniently, cheaper and better than a dealer or oil change shop. More conveniently, because I can do the oil change in less than 20 minutes and there is always a wait when someone else does it for you. Better, because even at a dealer, which charges much more than a generic oil change outfit, they do not add that half pint when the oil has finished draining to sweep out the dregs, nor do they add a quart of synthetic to improve the overall quality. So for these reasons plus personal satisfaction, I do it myself.
Oil change recipe
I buy the cheapest oil which complies with the viscosity and doughnut specs stated in the auto handbook e.g. “SM” for certain autos. For autos, the cheapest way to buy oil and a filter is to buy either the combo offering of “x” qts oil and a filter from the auto stores or the 5qt oil containers from the mass merchandise superstore. I dissect used oil filters to compare filter material and construction so I can determine whether the price differential for a higher priced oil filter brand is justified.
I always include 1 qt of fully synthetic oil in the oil change – thus if 5 qts are called for, I will use 4 qts of regular oil and 1 qt fully synthetic. Semi-synthetic qts do not specify what % is fully synthetic so I cannot determine if the additional cost of semi-synthetic compared with regular oil s justified.
Oil change basic procedures
Prior to draining the oil, I always ensure the engine is warm (has been running for at least 5 minutes, particularly on cold days) and, to get the last dregs of oil out, I add a quarter qt of fresh oil when most of the existing oil has drained. I will not go into the actual procedure of physically removing the drain plug and replacing the filter etc. After the oil change I always look at the drained oil for anything unusual – bubbles, water, or thick filings. I collect the used oil in 5 gallon containers and return to the auto store for recycling.