With instructional YouTube videos available for anything from learning how to play the flute to building a bottle rocket, doing your own oil changes might seem like a great option.

However, when inexperienced car owners embark on a DIY oil change, they often don’t know what they’re getting themselves into. Don’t make these common mistakes:

Topping Up Instead of Changing

Casual car owners think that simply by topping up the fluids in their car, they are taking care of the oil change needs, but that’s not true!

Your car engine is made up of metal parts, all grating and rattling and buzzing against each other. Oil ensures that the mechanism is properly lubricated, which reduces dangerous wear on your parts. Oil also reduces the friction between parts. Unchecked, friction can cause a lot of heat, which will cause your engine to become damaged, and malfunction.

But as long as you have oil in there, why does it need to be changed? Well, after a while, certain things happen to the oil that’s rotating through your engine. Firstly, it accumulates dirt, dust, and debris. Once oil is full of dirt, it doesn’t lubricate as well. It can make the engine run improperly by transporting that dirt to all the bits and pieces and causing more wear, buildup, and friction. Secondly, oil will lose some of the additives like detergents and rust-fighters that keep it performing optimally.

Disposing of Old Oil Improperly

When you change out the oil in your car, you’re left with several liters of old oil. Old motor oil can’t be disposed of in your residential garbage can, and it certainly can’t be dumped down the drain or out in the yard. Motor oil is a toxic pollutant. It alters the efficacy of waste treatment techniques, and in many states it’s illegal to add it to the sewage system, or even to dump it on the ground. It also contaminates natural waterways, and can cause major harm to the natural species who live there.

When you change the oil, it’s important to manage the old motor oil, and dispose of it properly. Take it to a certified motor oil recycling facility (often available at motor parts stores).

Understanding the Time and Mess

Speaking of dealing with old motor oil, oil is a famously messy substance. And since it’s dangerous too, you want to make sure that you know what you’re doing and plan well to handle the oil as it comes so that you’re not having to play cleanup later.

Changing your own oil can be an effective way to cut back on cost of car maintenance, IF you know what you’re doing. Make sure you have the proper tools and resources ready and available before you get started!

And if you’d rather hand the job over to experienced, efficient, and affordable professionals, give us a call!