Getting an oil change is among the most important parts of routine automobile maintenance. During an oil change, dirty, worn out oil and oil filters are replaced with clean oil and new oil filters. Doing this every three months or 3,000 to 5,000 miles is crucial. Motor oil lubricates the engine's moving parts that rub against each other and absorbs the heat the friction creates. That helps to keep the engine running smoothly. When the oil breaks down and gets dirty, it's less effective and should be changed to keep the engine protected.
The owner's manual details what type of oil the automobile needs and how often it should be changed. Older vehicles with high mileage and vehicles driven in taxing or dusty conditions may need oil changes more often. To prevent yourself from being ripped off, damaging your vehicle or voiding its warranty, follow the owner's manual oil change recommendations.
Basic Information on Getting an Oil Change
When vehicles get oil changes at regularly scheduled intervals, they tend to run better and last longer. However, its essential to use the right type of oil and oil filter. Established oil change professionals usually know and have the type of oil and oil filters most automobiles need. Some vehicles use conventional oil while others require special synthetic oil. Check your owner's manual to be sure before having your oil changed. Sometimes using synthetic oil lets you go up to 10,000 miles between oil changes.
A basic oil change entails changing the oil and oil filter. Many companies also offer to check and change the radiator fluid, transmission fluid, air filter and windshield wipers for an additional fee. Your owner's manual will let you know how often your transmission and rear differential fluid needs to be changed. If your air filter and radiator fluid are very dirty, you can decide to change them during the oil change or go to your trusted mechanic to have it done.
A basic oil change costs between $30 and $50. If you have a high-powered sports car or some other type of exotic automobile, it may cost a little bit more. However, at some oil change establishments, the employees try to sell you additional products and services while you are there. That's fine if your automobile needs them and they are reasonably priced. There are some unscrupulous oil change technicians that try to sell customers high-priced products and services they don't need. The best way to protect against that is to thank the technician, say you will have it looked at, but just want a basic oil change.
Another way to ensure you don't overspend for your oil change is to choose the facility you take your automobile to very carefully. Dealerships are notorious for overcharging for their services. Finding a automotive shop you trust that offers quality oil changes at fair prices and taking your vehicle there, can help prevent you from overpaying for an oil change.
Popular Locations to Get an Oil Change
For many people, the safest, most reliable place to get an oil change is the dealership where they bought the vehicle. They figure if the company made the vehicle, they have the knowledge, the right tools, equipment and supplies and the specially trained technicians to change the oil properly. But there are also a number of auto repair shops, franchises and companies specializing in fast, affordable oil changes all across the country. Some of the best known are:
- Jiffy Lube
- Pep Boys
- Express Lube
- Walmart Tire and Lube Express
- Meineke Car Care
- Sears Auto Service Center
- Grease Monkey
While many see the dealership as the best place to get an oil change, the high cost and the long time it takes drives others away. Instead they take their vehicles to one of the affordable oil change franchises that do a good oil change in 10 minutes of less. If your vehicle has coverage under a manufacturers warranty, take the automobile to an authorized dealer or you might void the warranty. Otherwise, simply find a trustworthy shop to get a good, affordable oil change.