Changing oil is not brain surgery.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

My friend and I had an argument about our new cars. I get my oil changes and tune-ups done by a professional. My friend does it himself to save money, and says I'm wasting money having someone else do it for me. My reasoning for having someone else do it is to protect my warranty. My friend says you don't have to go to school for four years to learn how to change oil correctly. Who's right?

TOM: Your friend's right, Chris. It only took my brother about three years to learn how to change oil. Of course, it took him another two years of graduate school to learn how to change the filter.

RAY: Actually, Chris, unless your warranty specifies that you must have your oil changed by a professional (and we've never seen one like that), it's OK to do it yourself. But for warranty purposes, it's very important that you keep good records.

TOM: You should save the receipts from the cans of new oil you buy. Just tossing the empty cans in the trunk like my brother does isn't really good enough. You should save the receipts and keep a record of the dates that you changed the oil, This should be more than enough proof if you ever have a problem.

RAY: On the other hand, while changing oil is not brain surgery, it is possible to make a mistake. And the most common mistake is the most serious; leaving the drain plug or the filter loose. If you change the oil yourself and make that mistake, you have no one else to blame when your engine seizes a quarter mile from your driveway. Whereas if you pay a professional $25 to change your oil, any number of lawyers would be happy to sue his coveralls off if he messes it up.

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