Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where should i take my car to get the oil changed

Performing routine maintenance on a car or truck is important to keep the vehicle running at its peak performance, however no maintenance routine is more important than changing the vehicles engine oil and filter. Premature engine failure due to lack of changing a car or truck’s engine oil could potential cost thousands of dollars in engine repairs. It may be a bit of a surprise as to what’s the best option for an oil change, the dealership, and independent fast lube facility or simply doing it yourself.

The Dealer

Most people perceive the local dealership as being to expensive to change their car or truck’s engine oil. Although some repairs may be more expensive at the dealership, oil changes may be an exception to the rule. Most dealerships understand that customers visit a service facility more often for oil changes than for any other reason. Since most dealers want consumers to visit their dealership more often, they will often price an oil change service at a very competitive price to get them coming back.

The dealer also knows the vehicle best. They know what’s the best oil and filter for the vehicle. On the down side, dealerships tend to be much slower than facilities that specialize in oil changes like fast lube facilities. Since dealers do a variety of repairs, they are often not geared to getting vehicles in and out in a timely manner.

Dealership Pros

  • They normally give you the correct weight and API rated oil.
  • Price competitive.
  • Oil change can be performed in conjunction with other (warranty) repairs.
  • Oil change will adhere to manufacturer’s guidelines for warranty requirements.
  • Most dealers perform a comprehensive inspection report.
  • Vehicle history recording and recall awareness.
* The length of time it takes to perform oil change service.
* Potentially longer waits on the service drive for vehicle to be written up.

The Independent Fast Lube Facility

It seems that there’s a fast lube facility on every corner these days, so an independent facility is probably much closer than a dealer. Independents also strive to get a vehicle in and out in a timely manner. Their facilities and processes are geared and focused towards a fast service, which customers certainly appreciate. A word of caution; make sure that the oil they use is what the manufacturer requires as far as oil weight as well as the oil’s API rating. The correct oil specifications can be found in the vehicles owner’s manual. Just as important, insure that the oil filter meets or exceeds the vehicle manufacturers recommendations.

Independent Pros

* Price competitive
* Length of time to complete oil change
* Length of time it takes for vehicle write-up.
* Location

Independent Cons

* Oil and filter may not be specific to vehicle requirementsInability to perform other needed repairs/services
* The Do-It-Yourself Method


Changing your own oil and filter helps to insure the job’s done correctly, but it can be a real hassle. Getting rid of the waste oil and filter can be a problem. The waste oil can be taken to certain auto parts stores or other oil change facilities. Crawling under a vehicle is also pretty uncomfortable. Using a car jack makes the job more comfortable, but safety can be an issue if the car jack fails.

Since dealerships and independent fast lube facilities buy oil in bulk, the oil is much cheaper. Buying oil by the quart can cost more than what an oil change facility actually charges.

Do-It-Yourself Pros

* Better choice for oil and filter.
* Performing the oil change at your convenience.
* Reassurance of work performed to your satisfaction

Do-It-Yourself Cons

* Simply doing the work yourself
* Not saving much, in some cases could be more expensive
* Vehicle records/history


If cost is an issue, it’s best to shop around. The dealer price may be surprisingly low. Be careful using a coupon. Read the fine print, the amount of oil is often limited. Hazardous waste and taxes are usually extra. The type of oil is often listed on the coupon; make sure the vehicle manufacturer recommends the oil listed on coupon.

If time is an issue, the independent is probably your best bet. Some people like the idea of all the vehicles history being recorded at the dealership. There are certainly many factors to consider when deciding on where to get you oil change.

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