Oil change prices and DIY for conparison

Hi all

How much do you usually pay for a simple oil change at a garage? Do any of you do it yourselves and is there a worthy price difference? I would like to do it on my own but have never done it before so if anyone likes dealing with cars, I am happy to offer some food and drinks while doing an oil change together.

Last but not least, can you recommend any reliable generic garage around Kanton ZH that does a simple oil change without ripping you off like the official garages do? I just find it rediculous paying 300-400chf for an oil change, just because they call it "yearly service".


Speaking from experience, don't underestimate how messy it can be - with a proper lift and good access it's dead easy, but my memories of lying under a car on little ramps trying to get the right angle to loosen the sump bolt or filter without the oil running down my arm are not fond.

And that was with a small old-fashioned simple engine, where you could practically stand inside the engine bay with it. The big ones don't leave much space to start with, and new ones have so many wires and pipes there's no room to move.

That's a fair point...I have seen places where one could rent a lift by minute to do the oil change and recycle the old oil too.

This is one of those jobs that can be stupidly simple if you know what you're doing. Or you can hurt yourself or someone else if don't. Also depends on the car. Some models are infamous for how hard to reach is the oil filter. Other cars have underbody panels that may or may not shower you in dirt when you remove them.

With that said, 300-400 CHF feels a bit too much. 200-250 should be fine, considering 1 hour labor (130-140 CHF) + oil & fiter (~60-80 CHF) + tools + disposal of old oil.

It is worth keeping the services up to date and recorded to help with resale. If you shop around you will find that charges for a service vary considerably.

"Yearly service" often would include other things. Oil for my car would cost only about 80CHF these days and I like to save money so for me the saving is worth it plus I know then how it's been done. I have done it in the underground parking being very careful not to spill any on the floor. (or kill myself) I would help you but I couldn't do it for you, if you were in Basel. I believe there's a garage called "Do it Yourself Garage" in Zurich. I've used the one near Basel for various things. You'll often find detailed instructions on youtube.

A generic garage I suppose would be like Euromaster. You could save maybe by buying your own oil and filter (or maybe you need to in anycase?)

I would expect "yearly service" to be much more than 300-400chf, unless it's really just the oil replacement (and not other filters, spark plugs etc...)

I do it myself. I have jack, stands but found my self regularly renting the lifts from self mech in dietikon. I buy my oil abroad for 3-4 fr / Liter and all parts online. I also have an oil pump but I have not used it so far. I find oil and batteries super expensive here

I do other stuff myself too but recently started to delegate to the expensive local garage because my gf disapproves.

Is this sunflower oil?

Sorry, OT, but your gf disapproves of your doing useful and money-saving car maintenance?? You've got the wrong girl!

Maybe he pours the used oil down the sink?

A wheel falls off ONE TIME and she won't stop going on about it.

I use this type of oil pump that costs less than CHF 30, quick and clean to use.

You just slide the hose down the pipe where the oil level stick sits, just take out the stick, insert the hose, and pump.

Some people claim this method does not extract all the oil but in reality, there is always some oil hanging around in the oil pump and various other places no matter which method you use.

Several car models are running out there today without a dipstick, quite a challenge

I'm one of those people. I only ever use a pump to put transmission oil in

Better not to attempt a DIY oil change on those models. After draining the oil it is difficult to be sure you have added the correct replacement amount unless the vehicle has an oil level gauge, a low-level warning light is inadequate.

Same issue if the low-level warning light comes on and you need to add oil.

It would help to tell us brand and model... not every garage can do everything... or want to.

It's likely to be a 'generic car'.

Maybe try Konstanz --> one hour drive --> probably gonna spend way less

There are some threads here about DIY places that you can rent

If you want to DIY keep in mind that u might need a special tool (something like a lasso for the oil filter)

Well, it matters... as my top tip only works with German makes: most of them offer airport service... book your next vacation from Stuttgart instead of Zurich, usually much cheaper. Book the airport service and while you pay for the oil change is the parking for free...

Sharing my experience on the topic. I am always doing the oil change on my own. I had different experiences with my 2 cars (old and newer):

Opel Corsa:

Super easy, filter is on the top of the engine. I was able to do it even in my underground parking, as there was no protection from the bottom part of the engine and had direct access to the drain plug. You put the oil in plastic container (a 4-5 liter one that can fit underneath and can be even sealed - like the ones we use for food) or you can buy a special container for oil drainage. You can then dispose the old oil for free in your town's recycling area. You need of course the right tools / wrenches to remove the drain plug and the filter cover. Once you have them it's easy. If you want to do it more comfortably you can go to a DIY garage. More info on that at the bottom of the post.

VW Tiguan:

Far trickier as you need first to take off the protetive plastic under the engine (which means that you need to lift the car). Taking it out is not a big deal, it's just that is more time consuming than my previous car that did not have one. The tricky thing with the diesel Tiguan is that the oil filter is only accessible from below. I was never able to avoid spilling oil in the area around the filter and had to clean it afterwards with the break cleaning spray. For the Tiguan, I always do it in a DIY garage.

Now the garages in Zurich that I have tried are the below:

1) Mataj in Winterhur. This is the best and most friendly personnel from my experience.

2) DIY in Oerlikon. Smaller than the above. Advisable to book before going.

3) Autostop in Wetzigon. Bigger than the Oerlikon one, but a bit smaller than the Winterthur one. Better book here too, as it gets busy.

In all these DIY you have access to the tools you need, and if you have a question they can help you (even give you a hand). You need to do the correspondence in German. The guys will try to help you if you can barely speak German (like me...).

For prices, calculate the volume of oil you need and buy it as well as the filter. The garage will cost you less than 50 for an hour including tools etc.

Hope this helps.