The oil change is far and away the most common automotive service. Every repair facility offers them and oil changes have become a very price driven, commodity item. With so many shops from the dealerships to chains to independent shops offering low priced oil changes it can be difficult to see who offers the best value. Sure it might seem that lowest price is best, but is it? And what are really getting for your money?
Let’s look at a few facts:
- Every business has overheads and costs, and the automotive business is a very high overhead business, requiring highly skilled technicians along with expensive equipment. A business won’t last long by undercharging for services.
- Good quality materials cost more that lower quality items. Good quality oils and oil filters do a superior job of protecting your expensive engine.
- Now there are ways for a business to reduce the costs of doing an oil change. One is by using the cheapest oil that you can buy and the lowest cost oil filter. Note what you are getting: low quality for a low price.
A better way is to build an efficient oil change business as is seen in most quick lube shops: install a pit so cars can drive in and out quickly and employ low skill level and low paid employees to do the service. This certainly lowers the cost of the service. Advantages are a low cost, quick oil change so what are the disadvantages? I’ll cover that in a moment.
In general auto repair shops most low priced oil changes are offered as a reason to look at your car and sell you more work. If the shop isn’t making money from your oil change hopefully they will find some problems with your car and make money doing other work. This is not a particularly trustworthy and honest way to do business.
Here’s how a proper oil change should look. First off the oil change should be part of a maintenance service. Every time your oil is due for service it is an opportunity to inspect your vehicle. As your car ages parts wear and many of these parts will affect your safety. Finding wearing parts early and repairing them saves you lots of money.
Our maintenance service for the most part are priced low though we never seek to compete with the ridiculously low priced oil changes. Instead what we offer is huge value: High quality oils and very high quality filters; licensed and highly experienced technicians; a thorough visual inspection every time of underhood and undercar components.
The biggest advantage that we offer comes from the way we do your maintenance service: all are done on 2 post hoists and this offers us the opportunity to spin and wiggle your wheels. From doing this we often find many concerns: tight brakes and loose steering and suspension parts. Finding these and identifying them could save your life. If you take your car to the quick lube over and over you’ll never receive this benefit.
Hopefully this will help you realize that not all oil changes offer equal value. Usually with a cheap oil change you receive an inferior product and may well be comprising your safety and spending more money on missed repairs or repairs that are not needed.