Changing your car's oil is usually a relatively low-difficulty task compared to other automotive repair or maintenance jobs. Many vehicle owners prefer to save some money by handling oil changes themselves, but modern vehicles are surprisingly complex compared to their older counterparts. Unfortunately, this complexity often makes life harder for backyard mechanics.
If you've recently purchased a new or relatively new vehicle, you might be itching to get your hands dirty with a do-it-yourself oil change. While changing your oil is certainly not impossible on modern cars, you may want to consider these three reasons to leave a car oil change to a professional shop.
1. Disappearing Dipsticks
It may surprise many enthusiasts, but dipsticks are slowly disappearing from the automotive world. There are many reasons for this design change, including, unfortunately, the tendency for many car owners to ignore this critical maintenance item. Relying entirely on sensors can make checking your oil level substantially more challenging.
While a dipstick may not seem essential for an oil change, it does provide an extra sanity check to confirm that you aren't underfilling or overfilling your crankcase. Without this information, do-it-yourself oil changes rely on more guesswork and potentially leave you at greater risk of starting your car with too much or too little oil.
2. Crowded Engine Bays
If you're lucky enough to own a car with a cartridge filter, you may not need to worry much about the difficulty of replacing your oil filter during an oil change. These cars typically locate their filters near the top of the engine, where you can easily reach the cap. However, most cars still use spin-on designs, which can be hard to reach and messy to remove.
With modern cars relying on more technology and equipment such as turbochargers becoming more common, engine bays keep getting more crowded. The result is that accessing oil filters can often be much more challenging than on older vehicles. If you don't enjoy contorting your body into new and interesting configurations from under your car, it may be a job better left to a professional.
3. Longer Oil Change Intervals
Most manufacturers now use extended service intervals that are significantly longer than the old industry standard of 3000 miles. While there's still some debate in enthusiast circles about whether shorter intervals can help your engine last longer, there's no question that you don't need to change your oil as much as you once did.
Changing your own oil might have saved you a decent chunk of change when you needed two or three oil changes per year, but what if you only need to change your oil once in that period? With fewer oil changes being necessary, there aren't really any financial benefits to handling it yourself. Letting an expert handle the job will save you time without costing you much more money.