This post is compliments of my sister. She says that every time she gets her oil changed, she never knows if she’s getting ripped off or not. What do you say when they say you need a new air filter? What kind of oil do you request? Should they do a radiator flush, too? Well sister and others, read on to learn how not to get ripped off when you get your oil changed.
When to Get Your Oil Changed
I get my oil changed every 3,000 miles without fail. If your car gets driven less than twice a week, then you shouldn’t wait until 3,000 miles you should get the oil changed every 3 months.
This “every 3,000 miles” rule applies no matter what kind of oil you get. Regular stuff, synthetic, God’s blend…whatever you get, change it every 3,000 miles!
Where to Get Your Oil Changed
If you can do it yourself, do it yourself. If you can’t then I suggest firstly getting it done at your dealership. Got a Toyota? Go to Toyota. Got a Ford? Go to Ford. (If you go to those places, take note that they’ll try to sell you extra stuff – see below).
If you can’t go to the dealership, then I suggest big, corporate places. I hate promoting corporations, but in this case, it’s the way to go. Places like Walmart, Jiffy Lube, and Sears are all good places. I actually used to work at a Walmart Tire Lube Express and can say from experience that those guys are well trained and they aren’t interested in selling you tons of extra stuff. They’re interested in a high turnover – get your car in and get it out fast.
What to Ask For
You want a “basic oil change” which should include them changing the oil and the oil filter, and nothing else.
The oil they use should be whatever the manufacturer recommends. This is very important. Most cars come with a 100,000 mile warranty, but if you’re not using the manufacturer recommended oil, your warranty gets voided. Read that again, if you don’t use the manufacturer-recommended oil, your warranty gets voided! (How can the manufacturer tell if you’ve been using their recommended oil? I have no idea).
What an Oil Change Should cost
When They Ask You to Buy Other Stuff Don’t Get Taken on a Ride
- Air filters get changed every 9,000 miles. If they come out with your air filter and it looks a little brown, so what? It’s okay. When it’s black or at 9,000 miles is when you change it. Note: Don’t get pulled into buying expensive air filters that filter out more contaminants. They do filter out more, but the cost is that they restrict air flow to your engine – which is bad news. Don’t go expensive on air filters!
- Cabin air filters are separate sometimes in vans. Don’t get taken in with this either. My family hasn’t yet changed ours and it’s just fine.
- Transmission fluid should get changed every 70,000-80,000 miles. If they say you need more, say thanks but no. Go to the store, buy your own, and fill yourself. But make sure you’re past 70,000 miles, anything sooner than that and you’re being ripped off.
- A radiator flush should be done maybe every 50,000 miles, so when they say you need it, chances are, you don’t.
- Only buy new wiper blades if you’ve noticed that your blades aren’t working well in the rain.
- Only let them vacuum your car if you can’t do it yourself for some reason.
- You can buy your own window washer fluid for cheap and fill it up yourself, you don’t need to pay them to do it. It’s the easiest thing that you can do under the hood. Go ahead, pop your car’s hood, I bet you can find where the window washer fluid goes.
My truck has 140,000 miles on it and I have yet to touch the radiator or transmission fluids because they haven’t needed it, so don’t ripped off!
See the update/tune-up to this post that offers a few more tips on services you don’t need!
Thanks to the folks who suggested captions for the bathroom pic in the Blue Collar Roundup – Didn’t Make the Cut Edition. The best caption is … *annoying drum roll* … it’s a tie! Between:
“She said size doesn’t matter. She lied” from Kathleen at Frugal Portland, and
“The dividers are being removed to promote public interaction. Thank you for understanding” from Debts n Taxes.