Archive for July, 2010

Save Money-Auto Oil Changes & Servicing

Auto Oil ChangesYou may be tempted to perform your own oil change on your car or truck to save a few dollars. All we can say here is make sure you know what you are doing before you make the attempt. Practice safe working conditions. Use the right tools, use the right oil, replace the oil filter each time and dispose of the old oil properly.

We will cover each of these items in more detail. However unless you are prepared to follow safe working conditions, do not attempt this.  Too many people have been hurt, even killed by their cars and trucks while doing their own maintenance to save a few dollars. It is just not worth it if you do not know what you are doing and hurt yourself badly. If your car is not supported by stationary jacks and also prevented from rolling, you could get crushed by your own car.

Auto Oil Changes – Canada

Oil changes in Canada routinely cost from $35 to over $50 depending on the make and model of car. I just had the oil changed in my car at the dealer and it cost $53. However I had a free coupon for the oil change, otherwise I would never have gone back to the dealer for an oil change.  There are other locations to have your oil changes such as Mr. Lube which are cheaper, but still over $40 in price. At these prices it can be worth it to change your own oil. However in the United States our experience has been much lower prices. They are in the range of $20 to $30, sometimes with a free car wash thrown in!

Safe Working Conditions

This is the most important section. If you screw this up it could be your life you lose! With most vehicles, they need to be jacked up sufficiently to allow you to slide underneath. You need to be able to undo the oil pan plug to remove the oil from the oil pan.

This is the dangerous part. If you need to jack up the auto in any way, always add safety support in the form of safety jacks. This is to protect you if the main jack gives way, you have additional support for the car. Make sure the parking brake is on and the car is in gear in the case of a standard and in park in the case of an automatic. You do not want the car rolling while you are under it. Also place block in front and behind the rear tires as an additional precaution.

Once you are confident that the car is well supported, gather all of your tools that you will need and make sure that everything is in readiness. You want to minimize the time you spend under the car or truck. Some trucks will not need to be raised at since there is enough space between the ground and the oil pan for you to get underneath.

One final item, remove the keys from the ignition and do not allow anyone in the vehicle while you are working on it or underneath it. You do not want any accidents caused by someone playing and accidentally releasing the parking brake etc. Absolutely no one should be in the vehicle while you are working on it.

Use the Right Tools

The tools are pretty simple. A socket wrench to remove the oil plug, a pan to catch the oil, a container to place the used oil in, a new oil filter and the tool you need to remove it. Finally a funnel to use to pour the clean oil into the engine. Don’t try to make do with inferior wrenches. You will likely strip the oil plug.  Never allow the oil  to drain onto the ground or onto your garage floor. This makes a terrible mess and it is not good for the environment as well.

Disposing of the oil should also be completed properly. Take the used oil to a dealer that accepts old oil or take it to your community disposal site for paints and oils. This is by far the best way. They will make sure that it is disposed of properly.

Use the Right Oil

Most engines in most climates use 5 W 30 oil, however there are many types available as well as synthetic oils that.  As a minimum, review your user’s manual for the recommended oil that you should use in your engine. If you have any doubts or want to try something different such as a synthetic oil, consult your dealer for the recommended oil that can be used. It is just not worth it to save a few dollars using cheaper oil. Repairs to your engine can be in the thousands of dollars!

Replace the Oil Filter

Always replace the oil filter each time you change the oil. The oil filter is supposed to capture impurities that might find their way into the oil. You do not want them staying were they could reenter the engine oil circulation system. Empty the engine oil first and then remove the oil filter being careful to not allow the oil in the oil filter to drip in the engine or onto the floor.

Always replace the oil filter with a recommended brand. This way you will know that you have a good quality oil filter. Sometimes you may find others that are cheaper, however just make sure it is recommended for your car and accepted by your dealer. This is one of the few times we will recommend spending more money for a quality product. The risk and cost of ruining your engine is just too great and too expensive!

Dispose the Old Oil Properly

We are all into conservation and the green movement and so we should. Take your used oil to a recognized facility that will accept it and dispose of it properly. Every community has a facility like this these days, although they may be at specific times of the year. Some dealers will accept used oil, especially if you purchase the oil filter and oil from them. You should really talk t them first and not just drop it off. After all they have to pay a fee to dispose of the oil and it is not fair to them to just drop it off.

We hope that this post is a benefit to many people and helps you save a few dollars. However do not try to save a few dollars if you are not also going to practice safe work conditions. Don’t risk your life or a major accident to save a few dollars. Comments on the post greatly appreciated.


Renting RotoTillers

Renting RotoTillersShould you purchase a rototiller or rent one, and what kind should you get. We have a garden that is roughly 10 feet wide and 20 feet long. It is too big to dig by hand although I have done it and this was really a workout, believe me. For those of you who are into exercise, digging up your garden by hand and then raking it and working the soil until it is pulverized and ready for planting will definitely give you a workout! On top of that you will also save money since you do not need to purchase a tiller or go to the gym. You save money which is the point of this website, however it is not really the point of this post.

I have been renting a roto tiller for the past 5 or 6 years and have found them to do a really good job, they are small enough to fit in the trunk of my car and I only need the tiller for perhaps 2 hours. There are a couple of issues about renting a tiller. First how long you rent it and when you rent it can make a difference in how much you pay. In addition, you need to consider the size of tiller that you use, to ensure that the job gets done quickly and to your satisfaction. Last should you rent or buy.

Renting RotoTillers – When should you Rent?

Most places that rent equipment of this type to home owners as well as construction people, have standard rates and there is really not too much negotiation that  you can do regarding the price. However there is several little tricks that you can use to make sure you pay the minimum. First they will usually rent for a minimum hour time, sometimes it can be for 2 hours and then you pay be the hour after that. For example the tiller I rented was $16 for the first 2 hours and then $3 for each hour after that. If you can get your job done in 3 hours or less you are going to pay $19 and that is not too bad.

I always try to go in just before closing and rent my equipment for the minimum time frame. This way I would pay $16 for the tiller, yet I would have it for a full 24 hours instead of just two hours. Now you need to be able to get your work done in the evening, since it does get dark early depending on were you live. Another good time is just before a long weekend. The shop is usually closed for the holiday , so you might it lucky and have the equipment you are renting for a full 48 hours at the 2 hour price. Now that is a deal!

Size of the Tiller you should rent?

Always make sure you rent a tiller that is large enough to do the job. A small tiller will take you longer to cover the area that you are working up, as well it may not be heavy enough to really dig into the soil if it has dried out and become hard. This was my case, and my light tiller would only work into the soil about 4 inches. I would have liked to go deeper and have before, but this year the soil is dry and hard. WE simply did not get enough snow this year.

A larger rototiller would have been more difficult to transport. It would have been heavier and possibly would not have fitted into my trunk. However I know a heavier tiller would have done a better job in this case. Even though it would have been more expensive to rent,  I would have rather used it to do a better job.  So do not go for the smallest tiller if you are looking to work the soil to a deeper level. It will also complete the job quickly. They are  more powerful and heavier so they will go deeper and work faster.

Should you rent or buy a rototiller?

I have been renting a tiller for the past 5 or 6 years. I have to say this is the best approach for me. Each time it costs me about $25 with taxes to rent the tiller.  I have spent approximately $150 over the past 6 years. This does not come close to what a new one would cost. Now I tend to keep my tools a long time. I also maintain them, so I know that a roto tiller would definitely pay for it self over the long run. However I only use a tiller once per year for maybe 2 hours at a time. Gas can go bad and gum up the carb. Iit just is not worth it for me to purchase my own rototiller.

For larger gardens it might well be worth while to have your own. You would probably use it more often and then it makes it all worthwhile. So save yourself some money by renting a rototiller. If you really want to save money work up the soil by hand. The job will be almost as good, and you will really get a lot of exercise.

That is it for this post. If you like this post, leave your comments and suggestions for more posts. We area always trying to save some money for everyone and we look for great new ideas.


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