Simple Ways to Save on Car Oil Changes

May 7th 2016

There are things people love to spend money on: skinny jeans at the mall, family dinners at the new restaurant downtown, getting the oil in their car changed. Or not. There are things people have to spend money on: teeth cleanings, utilities and, once every few months, car oil changes. No matter how hard we try, we cannot avoid spending money to take care and maintain things that are more or less essential in our lives. Still, if you can save money on routine maintenance, there just might be a little bit leftover for those great jeans. With that in mind, here's a list of five ways you can save money on that predictable yet necessary act: getting the oil in your car changed.

1. Car oil changes by the book

Start by reading the owner’s manual for your vehicle. Despite that little sticker in your window, most modern cars do not need to have their oil changed every 3,000 miles. While different manufacturers and makes have different recommendations (hence the manual), most cars these days can and should go between 7,500 and 10,000 miles without an oil change. Not only does changing your oil less frequently save you money – it’s also good for the environment. It's a win-win proposition! But make sure to ease your car into the bigger gaps between oil changes to prevent damage to your engine.

2. Professional car oil changes

Find a reliable professional. When driving down the street, it can be hard to resist all of those flashy promises of “Oil change — cheap!” and “Ten minutes or less!” While those signs may or may not be accurate, it’s still better to do your own research. Find a place that you will want to go back to because no matter often you change your oil, you will have to go back. A good mechanic just might save you money. More importantly, a bad mechanic will definitely cost extra. You’ll notice this specifically when you have to take your car to the good mechanic to fix all the poor work done by the bad mechanic.

3. Change your car oil close to home

Driving around looking for the very best deal will not help you in the long run. Again, the best thing you can do for you, your car and your wallet is to build a relationship with your mechanic – and it will be much easier on you if that mechanic is close by.

4. Find a car oil change coupon

You can often find deals on oil changes in Sunday supplements, direct mail and, these days, online promotions. Of course, before you chase promotions all over town, you may want to consider how far the promoted oil change is from your regular haunts, and whether the promoter seems  reliable.  Still, coupons and other promotions can save you a lot on even the most regular maintenence.

5. Change your car oil yourself

If you know how to do so, changing your own oil is a great option. If you don’t have three thumbs, it is basically a simple procedure. A quick Google search of “how to change your own oil” will turn up hundreds of guides and how-to videos, many of which will walk you step-by-step through the process. You may have to purchase a few tools to get the job done, but it will be a money-saving investment in the long run. 

Spending money on car maintenance is a necessary, and eventually, money-saving proposition. Moreover,  saving money on car maintenance in general, and oil changes in particular, can help your budget in ways that you just might find…thrilling.


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