The cost of an oil change for car owners in San Diego can often be higher than the national average when considering certain factors related to labor, parts, and environmental fees. An oil change service using synthetic lubricants can cost upwards of $80 in Southern California, and this price may very well increase according to the vehicle model, the size of the engine, and the business objectives of various auto shops. With most automakers recommending oil changes every 5,000 miles or so, this aspect of vehicle maintenance can add up to a considerable annual expense.
If you are a frugal person, the idea of doing oil changes on your own may sound tempting. You probably think auto dealers and service shops must be trying to make as much profit as possible on this essential maintenance task. However, this is not always the case. Trusted Chula Vista car insurance providers discuss some of the realities associated with DIY oil changes and their true costs.
Cost of Equipment
For most drivers who are new to auto maintenance, the initial investment in oil change tools will be inevitable. In addition to a set of torque wrenches, you may have to purchase a floor jack or at least vehicle stands for safety purposes. Depending on how much clearance you get under the engine, you may have to get lamps, wrench extenders, and angled attachments to remove the oil filter. The drain pan is not a heavy investment, but you should take it to an environmentally safe site.
Cost of Oil and Filters
Auto dealers and service shops can purchase oil and filters at very low prices from reputable brands in exchange for increased marketing. If you find yourself going to a discount parts store and purchasing off-brand oil and parts for your car, this is a sign that the cost savings goal of DIY oil changes is at a disadvantage because you will never be able to compete against the purchasing power of shops and dealers.
Return on Investment and Infrastructure
If you get a lot of coupons offering incredible discounts on oil changes, the reason behind the strategy is that dealers and shops have already made a nice return on investment and are exploring how to maximize it. Dealers will take a slight loss on oil changes if they can get you in the lot and looking at new cars. Shops invest in infrastructure and personnel to support a process that enables them to squeeze profits in minutes.
The Bottom Line of DIY Oil Changes
There is an undeniable benefit of oil changes: once you have done a couple of them, you will likely become interested in other aspects of DIY auto maintenance. Before you know it, you will be rotating your own tires, flushing the radiator, replacing the brake, power steering, and transmission fluids, installing spark plugs, buying repair manuals, and maybe even joining a local car owners club. This would be much more valuable than saving a few dollars on oil changes.
Though you might not save a huge amount of money by doing your oil changes yourself, you can take advantage of significant savings on auto insurance if you purchase coverage from the right provider. For online auto insurance quotes, Chula Vista residents can reach out to American Tri-Star. We also offer affordable RV and motorcycle insurance. Call 619-827-0522 today to speak with one of our friendly agents.