These days we are all looking to save a few dollars. One of the biggest expenses for most of us is our car. From gas to maintenance, it seems our four-wheeled friends require more love and affection than our children. Bringing your car in for service can feel like the nail biting moment at the doctor when you are waiting for the diagnosis of a loved one. Unlike the doctor, when it comes to our cars, we can save money by taking matters into our own hands.
One of the most common expenses is an oil change. Next to filling the tank with gas and insurance, oil changes can be one of the biggest ongoing expenses of owning an automobile. The first way to save money is of course to do it yourself. Dealerships and quick lube stations add a hefty fee for labor. Oil is usually only around $2 a quart and oil filters are relatively cheap too for most cars. It is estimated that doing this yourself can save between $25 and $75 every time.
The frequency we change our oil can be brought into question too. As a child my father taught my brothers and I how to work around an engine. Oil changes were always taken care of once every 3,000 miles. This magic number has stuck in my head over the years. When I was lazy I would sometimes let it go to 5,000 miles but that was usually my limit. Although I always have used 3,000 miles as my gauge to change the oil Edmunds.com suggests once every 7,500 to 10,000. Improvements in car engines over the years now allow us to get more miles out of each oil change. Spacing out the change will save money without risking damage to your vehicle.
Finally, look for ways to borrow tools you do not have or improvise. I once owned a small Toyota. The engine was very compact and getting to the oil filter usually required the skills of a contortionist of master yogi. The oil filter, for example, could only be removed with an oil filter wrench. I need this tool to get grip on the filter. This tool can cost around $10 to $20. Instead of buying it I used yellow cleaning gloves. These provided the grip I needed to remove the oil filter and cost only $2 each. Weird sometimes works.