Picking up Nickels

Thursday, November 05, 2009

DIY auto maintenance: a cheap oil change

I just changed the oil and filter for my 11-year old Nissan and realized I used up the last of my stash of 5w-30 motor oil. I'm always looking to save a few bucks, so I figured I'd share how I look for a deal when I need to stock up on oil:

  1. Look for rebates: The easiest thing to do is to simply run a google search for rebates for your favorite brand of oil: "Quaker State rebate", "Valvoline rebate", "Pennzoil rebate", "Castrol rebate", "Mobil oil rebate", etc.
  2. Check out the Product Rebates, Sales and Promotions forum at bobistheoilguy.com and the DIY Oil Change Deals discussion at slickdeals.net for leads on cheap oil.
  3. When in doubt, stop by your local Walmart: Walmart has a good selection of motor oils at a decent price. I know that I can always go in there and get a 5 quart jug of brand name 5w-30 or 5w-20 conventional (dinosaur ;) ) oil for about ten bucks.


I pretty much buy whatever brand name conventional oil (Quaker State, Castrol, Valvoline, Pennzoil, Mobil, etc.) I can get the best deal on after sale price and rebates. This strategy has served me well over the years, which includes running three cars into the ground with more than one hundred and fifty thousand miles on the odometer.

The other consideration with an oil change is of course, the oil filter. I used to buy the cheapest one I could find until I read an early version of Oil Filters Revealed several years ago. Since then, my first choice tends to be a Mobil 1 oil filter. They are pricey, but I have been able to buy a decent supply of them at a reasonable cost when they occasionally pop up on ebay. Failing that, I usually just buy the OEM filters for my Nissan at everythingnissan.com and my Honda at hondacuraworld.com despite the cost-saving measures imposed on their filters within the past few years (switching from metal to cardboard endcaps, for instance).

So, using the above strategy, I have found the following rebates of interest:


  • $10/$15 off Castrol Edge synthetic oil through 12/15/09 (pdf)
  • $6/$7/$12 off Mobil oil through 11/30/09 (link)
  • $5/$10/$15 off Pennzoil oil through 11/30/2009 (pdf)
  • $5/$10/$15/$20 off Valvoline oil through 12/31/09 when you sign up for their Long Haul Program (link)


As for myself, I think I'm going to stop by Walmart and see what a five quart jug of Pennzoil SUV, Truck & Minivan/Pennzoil High Mileage Vehicle motor oil costs because that $10 rebate could make it a sweet deal. Good hunting! :)

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