Getting an oil change is not generally a pleasant experience. Having it done for you may save a little mess, but you still have to wait in line and then wait on service. Doing it yourself means contending with used oil.
Either way you have to track your millage accurately enough to even remember when a change is needed. If you have ever had an oil change reminder sticker placed in your car’s window then you know that ink fades faster than oil requires changing. While a great idea in theory, these little stickers never seem to end up being more than free advertising for the oil change company.
Keeping a log book with millage and dates in the glove box is one possible solution, but few of us will actually remember to check the glove box. The car is the one that needs the oil, why should you have to keep track of it? Most if not all cars have at least one resettable trip odometer. You can put this handy little feature to work by simply reseting it at each oil change.
When the time arrives, there are a couple of things you can do to streamline the process. For those that opt for the shop, choose an oil change or service center with a night drop off and pick up your car the next morning or after work. To streamline this process even further, be sure to pick up a few extra night drop forms. After the first trip, you can fill out the forms at home and avoid having to sit in a dark parking lot while using your lap as a desk.
If you choose the do it yourself path, the largest hurtle you will face is getting rid of the used oil. Skip the temptation to use an empty paint bucket and spend a few extra dollars on proper container. These generally cost less than $30 dollars and will hold the oil from multiple changes. They will also seal properly to reduce the risk of spills and leaks.
When the container does fill up, finding a proper disposal location is just a phone call away. Earth911 operates a hot line to help you find the nearest drop site for used oil and car batteries. Just call 1-800-CLEANUP. Since most oil retail locations take used oil, plan your oil buying around your container size. Drop of the old and stock up on the new.
Whether dropping of or doing it yourself, the key is planning. The savings in time an hassle may seem small on a per-change basis, but just as the miles add up, so will the savings.