Lube, Oil & Filter Service
Why should I leave my car at a full-service repair shop to get my oil changed, when I can get it done while I wait?
The best thing for your pocketbook and for the well-being of your vehicle is to take your car to a reliable shop to get the oil changed. Leaving (yes leaving) your vehicle for an oil change gives the shop time to test drive and generally inspect your car.
You should have your oil changed every 4,000 – 5,000 miles or 4-6 months, these are opportunities for a qualified mechanic to peek over your car’s major vital parts. Oil change ads in the newspaper are loss leaders anyway, so don’t think you are going to get your oil changed and be out of there for $12.95.
I will bet they’ll find something to sell you. How many times have you been offered engine flushes, transmission flushes, cooling system flushes, air filters, etc., only to leave the “quick oil change” facility with a $300.00 bill!! Those newspaper ads cost a lot of money to print, and there is no profit in an oil change for $25–let alone $12. I would rather pay a little over a period of time to a qualified, honest, mechanic for proper maintenance than one large sum for drastic last minute repairs due to neglect and oversight. If the shop that you trust tells you to replace a tire, don’t wait! Have them replace it and be done with it.
Shops use a term called PM (preventive maintenance). PM can consist of many things. First and foremost is changing the oil and filter and lubrication of the undercarriage, rotation of tires, brake, belt, hose inspection,testing antifreeze protection, and a thorough road test are the basics which usually take an hour or so…NOT 9 minutes. Wreckers tow numerous vehicles in because they won’t start, and the major cause is loose or dirty battery terminals.
Battery terminals and battery water level should be checked during an oil change, but the quick lube places are too fast and inexperienced to provide proper PM service. The quick lube people check the fluids and air filter because this is about all they are qualified to repair. Many of these mechanics are usually part-time school kids or backyard mechanics working their way up the mechanic ladder of life. If you visit these places very often, do you see the same mechanics? They probably got fired for over tightening & stripping drain plugs! (We change one oil pan a week from these places due to stripped oil drain plugs.) The service writer is usually the owner and they will remain because these places are profitable, but the mechanics will usually only stay a few months.
Changing fluids on a car is pretty easy, fast, cheap, and very profitable for the “quickie oil changer” place. They do a good job of showing you the “dirty/bad” fluid that is in your car and the harm it is doing and so on. They have a nice check out our list of the things that are profitable for them to replace or repair, but not necessarily what should be checked during a PM visit.
They too are in the business of making money. Does your dentist check your eyesight? No, he provides a service he was trained for. Also, don’t classify all mechanics as the same. A mechanic is only as good as his capability will allow him to be. Would you rather be inconvenienced a few hours every 3-4 months taking your car into a full-service repair shop, or hassled every 6-8 months because something that should have been caught during a PM broke on the way out of town with the kids in the car?
Believe me, it will cost you much more than cleaning the battery terminals. Do you go to the express doctor or dentist? The people who know what they are doing take longer in their diagnosis, and usually charge more than the others, but isn’t it worth it? Take a deep breath, I know it’s just an oil change, but it could be much more. Remember,like most things in life… “You do get what ya’ pay for”