Change your own damn oil

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My daddy dearest texted me a few days ago to let me know that “the pony is going to need an oil change soon.” So, I need to go out and buy a new oil filter and oil? Fantastic!

The only plus side to that text message was that for once my dad wasn’t asking me to pick up his coffee and k-cups after work…  A futile request that he knows I will absolutely forget 80% of the time. And why he never stops after leaving his own work remains a mystery to me.

Well, not even two days after receiving that message, my car alerted me to the fact that it soon will need an oil change, and only one reasonable explanation can come forth from this: my dad is the car whisperer.

But I digress!

Truthfully, I must admit that I have never truly changed my own oil. My dad is the go-to man for that in my immediate family, and he takes care of all five of our vehicles personally. He’s always been insistent on doing the job at home by hand, rather than paying someone else to do it. Mention anything about bringing a car to Jiffy Lube to my father and he may just have a mental breakdown.

Well, not everyone shares his (and utimately, our) sentiments. Ivy, a blogger at home-ec101.com, makes the argument in her blog post that changing your own oil is simply a waste.

The regular price for an oil change at the shop I used to work at is currently $18.90. You can often find coupons for $14.90, and occasionally they have coupons for $12.90. They are set up to do oil changes very quickly, with an oil pit down below or at least on a lift. The guys that worked the oil change bay frequently could complete an oil change in about 5 minutes most of the time … Compare that to changing the oil yourself. You have to buy ramps to drive your car up on, an oil wrench, plus you have to buy the oil at about $2.50 per bottle (I’m not 100% certain on this. I haven’t bought oil by the bottle in over 7 years, but my husband who drives a car that has a slight oil leak says this is what oil costs) and an oil filter for between $6 and $10. Consider that the average car requires about 5 quarts of oil and just the oil and filter is going to run more than the coupon price.

True, it can be a little pricier, but my dad’s insistence on doing the job himself isn’t all about the cost. And actually, plenty of automotive part stores, such as Advance Auto Parts, offer bundle deals on oil change kits. You mostly always can get some money off of the filter when you purchase the oil at the same time, as well. But honestly, you could go to a shop or do it yourself, and it still is going to generally be pretty affordable.

The true reason as to why my dad prefers to do the job himself is simple: he has absolutely no trust for shops.

Anytime you go to Jiffy Lube or a similar shop, you run the risk of leaving with more than just a simple oil change. Suddenly all of a sudden that greasy guy working on your car is telling you that you are going to need a new air filter as well, and he’s offering to put a new one in for you for the low price of $50. And if you care anything about your car, then you’re willing to just pay for it right then and there to get it out of the way.

NBC affiliate Channel 4 of Southern California actually investigated into this very matter in order to get some answers in a very eye-opening segment.

They brought an early 2000’s Lexus to a Jiffy Lube for a routine oil change that was advertised as $27.99, and left with a bill over $700.

The mechanic, associate, or whatever the hell you call them at Jiffy Lube told the customer that his Lexus required premium synthetic oil, which alone tripled the price of the oil change. However, Lexus‘s standards for the car state that normal oil works fine.

Then, on top of that, they convinced the customer to let them do a bunch of little repairs on the car, ultimately bringing the price up to that shocking $700 range.

One of my friends is a former employee at Jiffy Lube, and I honestly would never in a million years let him drive my car, let alone work on it. Most of the people hired at these places have little experience (like my friend), and are prone to error. I’ve heard countless stories from friends and family members of oil changes gone wrong, where a screw was missing or they just completely messed something up, leading to hundreds of dollars worth in repairs.

Complex.com noted this problem in a slideshow where they explained the top 10 reasons why you should never go to Jiffy Lube, reason #4 being “new hires aren’t required to have any previous knowledge about cars”.

The entire reason you’re probably taking your car to a garage for an oil change is because you don’t know anything about car maintenance. So why would you leave your car with somebody who has the exact same amount of experience that you do? This is a fact direct from a former Jiffy Lube worker, as he explained you don’t need any education or prior experience to work here. You just need to show up and be numb enough to be able to rip off unsuspecting customers.

My dad has more knowledge about cars in his pinky than these employees have in their entire body. And ultimately, he knows the value of these cars. Those guys working at Jiffy Lube and similiar places are working for a paycheck and can’t wait to leave and go home – they don’t actually care about your vehicle. By doing the job yourself, you’re ensuring that not only is it done right, but with care.

And ultimately, care is what my dad puts into every vehicle he maintains.

This year, I’m going to try to do my own oil change for the first time, using my dads instructions and a little help from the internet. There are plenty of sites, such as Edmunds, that will guide you into how exactly the process is done. And honestly, it doesn’t sound too bad.

So this year, unless it’s too cold and my cowardice stops me from braving it, I’m taking matters into my own hand and getting  the job done myself.

Those guys at the Jiff can save their speech for another ignorant soul, and, hopefully, you’ll be smart enough now to not let it be you.

 

 

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