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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Car question   Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:00 pm

So I've been thinking about changing my own oil. Anybody here do this? Thoughts? Worth the savings? A big pain?
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Hardkore

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:45 pm

Changing oil yourself isn't that bad. It is just the matter of taking the used oil to a site that collects used oil for , well, wherever they take it.
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:49 pm

I used to do it myself but I hate getting up under the car.  I am not a mechanic and just don't enjoy that at all.  I started paying to get it done several years ago.  Then, I started working at a high school.  Now, I just buy my own oil and filter and take it to the auto mechanics class.  They need cars to work on and I need oil changes.  There is no charge for me this way.  I take advantage of this every time I need an oil change in either mine or my wife's car.

I also have a sensor problem causing my dash light to stay on.  Because of the stupid emissions testing, I will have to get that repaired to pass the emissions test in December to renew my tags.  What is stupid about the testing?  If your car is a 1999 or newer, they will fail the car if a dash light is on WITHOUT even hooking it up to the computer to check the emissions.  Your car could be clean as can be and it will automatically fail with a check engine light on.  What if your car is newer and that light comes on because your blinker bulb is out?  Some cars do that now.  Emissions testing is a joke and a money scam.

Why did I say that?  Because I am going to get my auto mechanics teacher/class fix the truck for me.  All I will have to pay for is parts.

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Driven

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:03 pm

It can be done fairly easily, so long as you jack up your car and put stands underneath so it's stable, and have a creeper (a bench with wheels, basically) to zip underneath your car. I've done it with my brother, and it's cramped (at least under a small car), but once you know what you're doing, it's not hard at all. At my school, we have a garage with a huge hydraulic lift, so it's even easier to change the oil that way.

For the actual procedure, I might as well condense the steps. It's easy to find more detailed instructions on the Internet, but here goes.

First, you make sure you have enough of the right oil and a new oil filter. That done, and the car properly jacked and secured, you find the oil pan, put an appropriate pan underneath, drain it by removing the bolt, and wait until it's completely empty. Then, you find the oil filter, unscrew it (you may need a tool for this), with said appropriate pan underneath to collect whatever oil, and put it in said appropriate pan. Next, you take a little bit of new oil, rub some around the gasket of the new oil filter, and screw it back in. Before lowering the car, put the oil pan plug back in and make sure it's pretty tight. Now, you can lower your car, open the hood, and locate the oil hole and dipstick (I'd wipe the dipstick clean at this point). With a funnel, eyeball and pour in an appropriate amount of oil (check in your manual or online), wait a minute or two, check the dipstick, and add (or even remove, at worst - best to add less than you think at first) appropriately. Try running your car, and you're good to go.

Creepers: http://www.amazon.com/b?node=15707971

As long as I'm able, I'm probably going to change my oil myself, simply because it's a lot more convenient. I don't have to pay for the garage, I don't have to schedule time, I don't have to drop off my car, and it doesn't take much time to do it - probably about 15-30 minutes, I'd say. Hope this helps!

Also, for check engine things, our garage has an OBD-2 interface to read error codes from the electronics. Pretty good investment if you're into mechanics.
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Staybrite

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:34 pm

I used to do it all the time, but it is almost more of a hassle to get the oil taken now then it is worth....so I just take it in.

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BearDad



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Localisation : Pierre, SD
Registration date : 2013-05-01

PostSubject: Re: Car question   Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:20 pm

Grease shops charge $40 or more for an oil change, which includes a basic, low-grade filter, and up to five quarts of cheap, low-grade oil like Pennzoil.  If you have a full size pickup or new (less than five years old or so) minivan, your vehicle will take six or more quarts, so the shop will charge you more. If you want a better oil filter, one that has more filters in it and keeps the oil cleaner, you will pay more. If you want better oil, like Havoline or Valvoline, you will have to pay more. If you want synthetic or blended oil, which is better for newer engines, you will have to pay more. If your vehicle has a lot of miles and you want oil and/or filter that is specially made for high mileage vehicles you will pay more.

For my pickup that has 140k miles I buy a high mileage filter, six quarts of Valvoline high mileage synthetic blend oil, all for under $30.  If I took it to the shop it would cost me over $50. I have three other cars (wife and two driving kids) and a motorcycle.  At an average of $20 extra to have someone else do it that is like throwing away $100.

I also do my own tire work (install, mount, balance, rotate), brake work, plug work, and just about anything that doesn't require special equipment or tools.  There are times when it takes me a long time, even a couple of days, because it's certainly not easy, but when I'm done I have the satisfaction of knowing that I did it, and I am usually confident that I did it right. There are very few mechs that I can say I have confidence in.

Edit: Oh, and I don't use a creeper, just a sheet of cardboard. I do, however, have ramps that I drive the vehicles on to for better room. As for disposing of the oil, if it's clean (no gas or other fluids), Walmart TLE will take it, and most grease shops won't mind if you dump in their used oil bins. Another alternative is to find someone that has an oil furnace; those will burn just about any flammable fluid.
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MikeInFla

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:01 am

Around $50 at Walmart for full synthetic change... Add $8.36 for the synthetic Fram filter. I let them worry with it, since it's synthetic I only get it done every 5,000-6,000 miles. Never had any issues and it has only had Castrol Syntec and never anything else and has 150,000 miles. For my truck I use Castrol high mileage oil but it is around 25-30 dollars for a change with about an extra $5 for the high mileage fram filter. Could do it myself but don't feel like it.
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topshot rhit



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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:48 am

BearDad wrote:
I also do my own tire work (install, mount, balance, rotate)
How do you do the balancing on your own?

Back to OP...
I have nearly always done my own oil changes and will continue until my body won't allow it. That way I can put on the filter and use the oil I want. To keep it simple, I change every 5000 miles since that's easy to remember and watch for on the odometers. The oil change shops here will charge $20-30 for a basic change so it CAN be cheaper but may not always be (except I use better oil and filter). I used to use Fram all the time until I discovered they're only good because of their advertising. Now I use Wix (ie, NAPA) or OEM (Denso). Standard Valvoline oil. $17 for 5 qt container at Walmart and maybe $4 for the filter (I buy many at a time from Rockauto since both cars take the same one). Whether it's worth a few bucks savings to you I can't say. If you don't like doing handy, "manly" things, I doubt it. I enjoy "getting dirty".

I'd never run the "high mileage" versions because they have stuff in them to cause any rubber seals/gaskets to expand to prevent leaks. May not be a big deal but I know some have had issues using those stop leak products straight. They are meant to be a temporary fix anyway. I have 173000 on one and 223000 on the other I believe.

Driven filled in the basic steps. I'll just say you'll likely need a filter wrench or large channel locks to initially loosen the filter. When putting it on, you generally turn it 3/4 turn past where the gasket contacted the surface, not as far as you possibly can. In theory you should use a new crush washer when replacing the oil pan bolt (at least on Hondas), but I never do. Just don't go all ape on it when reinstalling because stripping that bolt would be bad.

The most jacking of the car I've done is just using the normal jack that comes with the car on the side away from the pan bolt so it will drain more toward that corner. I only lift it a couple inches, apply E brake and chock the rear wheels. A simpler trick if you live where there are curbs is to just drive one side onto the grass. Slide a piece of cardboard part way under and you'll move around pretty easy. Even when I had access to a creeper, I didn't use it for oil changes. I normally don't jack them at all now, but that's because my old garage has an unfinished pit in it for some odd reason so I pull the cars over the pit, pull off the door and jump into it (maybe 3' deep).

Any auto parts store should take the used oil. Some (eg, Autozone here) will also have OBD2 scanners you can use to read any codes if your check engine light comes on. Then you can research it and likely save yourself a lot of money either by fixing yourself or making sure the shop doesn't fix something that isn't really the issue.

_________________
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you should be concerned about your own."
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:49 am

Since my truck is at 120,000 miles, I buy a high mileage filter.  I buy a synthetic blend oil for it that is also formulated for higher mileage vehicles.  But, I will still take it to school and let the students do it so I don't have to.

I know--I am lazy.  lol! 

I have ramps too that my wife bought when I used to change the oil myself.

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Through The Dark Radio

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:11 am

Sometimes finding a place that'll accept the used oil can be a bit of a hassle as well.
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:16 am

Thanks for the input everyone.

I did some research and pricing. For both of our vehicles I use synthetic blend, and as BearDad was saying, one of our vehicles holds 6 quarts. The average cost for her car her in StL is about $60.

I can buy 6 quarts of oil for about $30 but I haven't priced the filter.

The other big thing for me personally is that I'm tired of not doing things and feeling a sense of accomplishment. I know that may sound weird but there it is. My job provides me no feeling of satisfaction right now, I'm struggling with my weight loss (although in the last 8 weeks I've lost about 30 pounds) and our finances are a wreck. I feel as though this might be a minor thing to do on my own that will help me not feel so beat down about everything.

Sorry to make oil changes a "spiritual" thing but... well, there it is.
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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:18 am

topshot rhit wrote:
How do you do the balancing on your own?

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Driven

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:05 am

alldatndensum wrote:
Since my truck is at 120,000 miles, I buy a high mileage filter.  I buy a synthetic blend oil for it that is also formulated for higher mileage vehicles.  But, I will still take it to school and let the students do it so I don't have to.

I know--I am lazy.  lol! 

Hey, it's providing experience for students. At my high school, teachers often bring in their small motors (mowers, weed-eaters, and whatnot) for the students to repair them. They only pay for the parts, but for them it's free otherwise, and the students get experience. Win-win! cheers
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:09 pm

In Tennessee, it is the agriculture classes that work on small engines.  The automotive guys actually work on cars.

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Driven

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:28 pm

Our school doesn't have an automotive course as such, just small motors. However, some students opt for co-op positions, which are a bit like internships where one of their classes is set up with a local business.
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Samson

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:55 pm

ishmael81 wrote:
Sorry to make oil changes a "spiritual" thing but... well, there it is.

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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:38 pm

So here's the downside of changing your own oil: you have to buy the oil in advance, because if you wait until you need it the store won't have it.  This is Walmart tonight:



All kinds of other brands and weights, but not the one I need! 

A 6 qt jug costs about $16.50 and a quart (of which they have plenty!) costs $4.37.  I need 6 qt, which is $21 if I buy one 5 qt and one single qt, and over $26 if I buy all single qt jugs. $5 extra because they never have what I need when I need it.

So I went to Menards.  They have the single qts for $3.89 ("Hey Walmart ... always low prices? HA!"), but they don't carry the 5 qt jugs. That's still over $23, $3 more than I would be spending if Walmart wasn't out of the 5 qt jugs! On the plus side, I'm not changing the oil in the van until Saturday, so maybe Walmart will have some by then. Unfortunately, that means making at least one more trip. And with my luck they still won't have it and I'll end up spending more than I should have to.

The moral ... buy oil when you don't need it and stock up.
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Driven

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:55 pm

I know a place in my town where the filters are super cheap. I don't know about quality, but they're like $2 or $3. And I think oil lasts relatively well, although I'd be wary of buying massive quantities ahead of time, especially if I didn't have to change too frequently.
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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:46 pm

Busy Saturday ahead:



At least I don't have to balance them! As they are LT tires for my truck I can use these:



http://tirebalancebeads.com/
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:17 pm

How do those beads work?  I've never seen those before.

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Driven

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:08 pm

I'm about to do a whole lot of maintenance on a tractor, including oil and filter changes, and checking/adjusting controls and such. Not to mention that tires will have to be changed on a lot of vehicles. It's mandatory in this province to have snow tires on at certain times of year.
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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:20 pm

alldatndensum wrote:
How do those beads work?  I've never seen those before.

http://www.tundraheadquarters.com/blog/bead-balancing-tires/

This site explains how they work, although at the end they don't give them very high marks. I've used them in my motorcycle tires for years and not noticed any problems. Of course, the site above states they cause low fuel economy, and the mpg for my bike sucks compared to what other folks get, so maybe I'm wrong? No matter; I'm going to use them anyway. Smile
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Driven

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PostSubject: Re: Car question   Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:14 pm

Changed the oil on a biggish lawn tractor today. One of these babies:



I couldn't put it on a lift, so I had to jack it up and remove the bracket that holds the mower blades to the front so that I could fit the pan underneath. Despite a couple of minor mishaps (like dropping a ratchet into the used oil), and some things I had to do at the same time (like feeding the fire to heat the garage) I got it done in reasonable time, I guess. I also changed the filter. The thing takes almost exactly two quarts of oil, so I bought two one-quart bottles of 10W-30 diesel-appropriate oil, along with the filter, and it came to about $17 CAD if memory serves correctly.
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