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Why are Diesel Oil Changes so Expensive? (Explained)

Compared to gasoline, Diesel oil changes are more expensive. They also need oil in higher quantity than petrol.

If you use synthetic oil, the price would bump even more. So, why is that? Why are Diesel oil changes so expensive?

Here is your explanation.

Why are Diesel Oil Changes so Expensive?

Diesel oil changes are expensive simply because the engine oil itself is expensive. And Diesel engines being bigger engines need oil in higher quantity which also adds to the price.  

Diesel oil is expensive due to multiple reasons. Despite being chemically similar to gasoline oil, diesel oil has different properties. The viscosity of diesel oil is higher meaning it has a higher density. They have a high detergent level and have anti-foaming agents. Simply put, the amount of additive used per volume in diesel oil is a lot more than gasoline.

The reason behind this difference is the way both engines work. Diesel engines are bigger engines that run hotter than gasoline, they produce more contaminants per combustion. The diesel engine also runs rougher and has more space between rod and crankshaft bearing. 

The higher oil viscosity keeps the oil cool and prevents it from leaking, while the higher anti-wear agent(ZDDP) helps tackle rougher engine operation and reduce wear and tear. The higher detergent level helps fight diesel soot level and works as a scrubbing agent removing any deposits from cylinder walls. 

It is due to all these extra additives that diesel engine oils are expensive. And since they are thicker (density = 1/ volume), even a 1.0 Diesel would need more than a 1.0 Petrol engine. 

Also read: Does Engine Oil Brand Matter? Can You Buy a Random Brand?

What’s the Average Diesel Oil Change Price?

The average cost of changing diesel oil ranges between $50-$90. For synthetic oil, you can expect to pay $70-$120. While a diesel oil filter is under $20. 

A diesel oil change costs vary depending on where you live, what oil you use, and how you get it done. While a normal oil change would cost anywhere under $90 even by a mechanic, synthetic engine oil can cost $120. 

If you happen to have an expensive car the charges increase. Because while an oil change in Honda may cost you $60-$80, an oil change in Mercedes ranges between $160-$180, and $190-$250 for an Audi A5 TDI. That is if you get it done at a dealership.  

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Are Diesel Oil Changes too Expensive?

Changing oil is not expensive at all. It is the cheapest and bare minimum maintenance your car needs above anything else. 

Oil changes in Diesel look more expensive when compared to gasoline. But they are actually fairly cheap. Because for just $70-$90, you are ensuring that your engine would run smoothly for another 7000-10,000 miles. 

In gasoline, the oil change needed is around 5000 miles. So, while you are paying extra for an oil change in diesel, you are also paying it less frequently than gasoline. But where it gets expensive is when you move among brands. 

While part of the price is the bigger engines in the expensive cars so they need more oil. The rest is the service charge you pay at a dealership. The same thing at a local mechanic shop would be cheaper. And doing it yourself would reduce the cost even more. 

Also read: How Much is A Lamborghini Oil Change? (Explained)

Can You Change Diesel Oil Less Frequently than 3000 Miles to Save Money?

The average frequency of changing engine oil in modern-day diesel is between 7,000-10,000 miles. If you use synthetic oil you can prolong the time between each oil change. 

Oil change in modern-day diesel is rated up to 10,000 miles. The same in older diesel engines was around 3000 miles as they used mineral diesel oil. But since most big or small diesel engines now use synthetic oil, generally the 5W 40, 5W-30, or 15W-40, the range increased to 10,000 miles.   

In most diesel engines, oil changes are done on an annual basis. Some do it at 6 months intervals. You can follow the user manual to figure out the right time or distance. But, the range is still dependent on how you drive your vehicle. 

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Driving in ways where your engine is mostly under stress, would burn and contaminate the engine oil faster reducing its overall timespan. The extra wear tear causes damage to the oil faster. This is why older engines need faster oil changes.  

If you want to extend the oil change frequency, using better quality engine oil is the first step. After which you must follow healthy driving habits and try to reduce engine load as much as possible. If you do long highway commutes, the oil would last longer compared to driving in the city. 

Also read: What’s the Cost of Oil Leak Repair? Can You do it by Yourself?

How to Save Money on Diesel Oil Changes?

The most obvious way to save money on oil changes is by doing it yourself.  Another is by using cheap oil and changing less frequently, both of which are not recommended.  

An oil change at a dealership or any mechanic shop adds the service charge along with the cost of the product. Generally, an oil change takes anywhere between 30-45 minutes. So, at the very least you are paying a labor cost. This cost can range anywhere between $20-$60. Doing an oil change by yourself would help you save money. 

Another way to save money on an oil change is by using cheaper oil. But that also means increasing other charges. Using cheap engine oil doesn’t only reduce engine performance, as it would run hotter and less smother, it also increases engine wear and tear. Cheaper oil also has less lifespan, so you would have to change the oil more frequently. 

Changing oil less frequently can also save you some money but at the cost of your engine. Because when engine oil gets too old/dirty, it becomes a sludge that loses all its ability to draw heat. This will cost your engine to overheat and possibly get seized.

Only using the right kind of oil at the right time will save you money. The money that you would spend on major maintenance if you don’t get your oil changer regularly. 

Also read: Does Engine Oil Brand Matter? Can You Buy a Random Brand?

Is Changing Diesel Oil by Yourself Hard? How to Change a Diesel Oil yourself? 

Changing diesel oil is 2/10 on a difficulty scale. All it needs is a few handy tools and some oil and free time.

Changing engine oil whether it’s diesel or gasoline is the same process that takes a few steps to take. The few things you must know before that is the quantity of oil your engine needs and what kind. You can get both information on the web or in the user manual. 

Now, to change Diesel oil yourself, you would need an oil filter wrench, a normal wrench, and an oil pan. Products you would need are a new oil filter and engine oil.  

  • You first start by letting your car run on idle for 3-4 minutes, so the oil starts flowing and gathers all the settled dust. Then turn off the car.
  • Now locate the drain plug, under your car at the bottom of your car’s oil pan. If you have trouble finding it, use the user manual. 
  • Now place the oil pan under the drain plug and unscrew it. As you unscrew the drain plug, the dirty oil would start to drain. 
  • To make the oil drain faster, open the oil filler cap located in the engine bay. 
  • Clean your drain plug, inspect its sealing gasket (o-ring), if it’s worn out, replace it to prevent leaks. Then screw the drain plug back in.
  • Moving on to the oil filter, put the oil pan under it. And unscrew it using an oil filter wrench. 
  • Clean the area around it and install the new oil filter. 
  • Finally using a funnel, pour in the new oil, check the oil level and see if there is any leak. At last, start your engine to see if everything is running fine.  
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