"Forty bucks for an oil change!?!"
Yes folks, forty bucks buys a whole lot of cornflakes. That's one of the major reasons why so many people change their own oil. There's a small initial investment for supplies, but you'll make that back the first time you do it yourself. Just ask your Great-Uncle Leopold if he ever had a stranger change his jalopy's oil, then watch his face change color three times in twenty seconds as he realizes that you're serious.
Before you begin
"Does my oil even need to be changed?" you ask. Manufacturer's recommendations are once every 3,000 to 7,500 miles, depending on the car. Most folks change it once every 6,000 miles. Conventional wisdom says that changing more often is better, but some experts now disagree.
Changing oil can be a messy job, so wear old clothes and have some hand cleaner handy. Make sure that your car is parked on a level grade, rather than on any sort of hill or inclined driveway. You'll need some place to take your old oil, so call a few gas stations or town hall to find out who recycles used oil.
Warm oil drains more easily than cold oil, so run your engine for just a few minutes before you start. But be very careful: Don't let the oil get too hot, as some may splash on you.