When you think about the cost of an oil change, keep in mind the cost is not simply calculated in just pence and pounds (dollars and cents). Before crawling under the hood, be cognizant of the blood, sweat and tears that often go into the typical do-it-yourself oil change.
Doing it yourself
Buying the oil and filter to install yourself sounds like an easy way to save a few bucks, but are you prepared? Few of us have car-lifts at our disposal, so that means crawling under the car on the street. Next comes the task of removing the drain plug, which is usually not a problem. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the oil filter. It's not unusual to find the filter stuck firmly in place. A few busted knuckles later you have it off and are installing the new filter and replacing the oil. Done, right? Wrong. You still have to dispose of the old oil. Think twice before jumping in. Doing it yourself is the cheapest way and will cost around £13 ($20).
Your local garage
A relationship with your local mechanic is always a good thing. You don't have to be best friends, but if your face is familiar, you are more likely to receive fair treatment when your car breaks down. Oil changes at your local garage are an inexpensive way to meet your mechanic, and they save you the strained back and busted knuckles from doing it yourself. Expect to pay around £22 ($35).
Oil changing chain stores
National chains such as Jiffy Lube do a good job offering oil changes at a reasonable price. They also try to up sell you on everything. They will tell you your lifters are dirty, air filters you didn't know existed are dirty, fuel filters need replacing and on and on. Some of these items probably do need to be replaced, but if you stick to the basic oil change, it will cost between £16 and £19.($25 and $30)
You will pay the most at your car dealer. The upside is that when your vehicle is serviced by the dealer, you establish records of service which can be valuable if you ever make a warranty claim. Expect to pay £32 ($50) and up.
Disposing of your used oil
If you read all of this, but are still intent on doing your own oil change, you will need to get rid of your oil. Please don't dump it into the sewer. All gas stations are required to accept drop-offs of used oil. Stop in for a fill-up and ask where you can leave your used oil.
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