Monday, June 16, 2014

DIY Doesn"t Always Save Money

If you remember, I recently noted that I had purchased a 10 yr. old BMW.  Since it didn't come with any service records I thought an oil and filter change was probably a good idea.  I checked with my trusty local mechanic and he quoted about $69.95, largely due to the cost of synthetic oil being higher than conventional oil.  Then I watched a couple videos on YouTube of guys changing the oil on my model.  Looked pretty straight forward and actually simpler than a lot of cars since the oil filter is in the engine compartment.

The manual says it takes 6.9 quarts of oil so I got a 5 gallon jug at WalMart for $25, but they didn't have single quarts in the same viscosity so I had to pick up 2 additional quarts at an auto parts store for about $9 each.  I also needed a 17mm socket for the drain plug and a 36mm socket for the oil filter cap.  Those were $5.99 each.  The oil filter was $15 since I decided on a decent filter.  So there you go; I've got almost $70 invested, but the sockets are a one time purchase, so the first time my little DIY project is going to cost about the same as taking it to the shop.

I'm all ready to go Sunday afternoon when I find that my floor jack won't fit under the low slung car.  Back to WalMart for a low profile jack.  Chalk up another $60.  Then I find that even that is not quite low enough so I had to jack up one side of the car using the flimsy BMW provided jack in the trunk.  Once I had one side up I could get the low profile jack underneath to line up with the front lifting point.  Got it up and placed jack stands on both sides and now I'm ready to take out the drain plug and drain the old oil.  The last guy to change the oil must not have ever intended to take that plug out again; it was on so tight I couldn't budge it, even with a variety of driver lengths.  Just couldn't get enough leverage to move it.  I finally was able to loosen it with a wrench and from there the socket got it out.

So the final tally on my oil change comes to $115, not counting my time which we all know is worth nothing.  Since I now have the jack and sockets, ensuing changes will be much cheaper, but I've got to wonder if it wouldn't just be easier to take it to my favorite shop, read the paper while they sweat and be done in 30 minutes.  I'll just tell everybody I did it and how simple it was.

7 comments:

kden said...

Are you sure your name's not Tony? I would have stopped him at the video. But you just can't put a price on a lesson learned.

Grumpy said...

I've done our other cars with no problem. I just didn't think about it being lower. None of the videos even mentioned that.

GMoney said...

What a riveting tale and a fine example of the American spirit!

Grumpy said...

Still better than watching the World Cup.

bill said...

I agree about the WC and your project turned out the way most of mine do.

Claire M. King said...

Ajackof all trades, you are.

Peruby said...

LOL!