How much does an oil change cost? Well it depends of a lot of factors like your make and model, the type of oil you’re going to put in your engine, where you’re going to get your car serviced, how quick you want it to be done and so on.
To save about 50%, you could also do it by yourself. It’s not rocket science and it does not take very long.
As a dividend growth investor seeking early retirement, I need to save a lot every month to make my dream comes true. Servicing my car by myself is something I have done tons of times. In fact, unless it’s winter time, I usually do it myself.
Car servicing can be expensive if you always go to the garage so let’s clarify all of that out see how much does an oil change cost and how to save.
When do you need to change your oil?
If you don’t change your oil as recommended by the manufacturer, this could result in serious damages to your engine. An oil change will help keep your engine clean and maximize its performance and durability. And with how much an oil change costs, it’s not worth it to not do it.
On most makes and models, you’ll need to change your oil either every 3 months or every 3000 miles. But on newer model, synthetic oil is usually used or necessary. It’s more expensive, but it will also last longer and you’ll only have to go service your car every 6 months or 6000-7000 miles on average. Refer to your owner’s manual for more guidance.
How to select the oil type I need for my car?
If you get your owner’s manual (it’s usually in your glove box), they will tell you in there what is the recommended oil type (oil viscosity) you will need and how much oil you’ll need to service your car.
Or, if you don’t have your owner’s manual handy, you could make a search here.
How much does an oil change cost at the dealership?
A car dealer will usually charge you more than an independent shop for the same service. At the dealer, you can expect to pay between 40-70$ per oil change. They will usually guarantee that they will replace your oil and your filter by the ones recommended by the manufacturer.
If your car is a lease, some dealers might tell you that you are OBLIGED to go to the dealership for your oil change. This is not true in most cases. Make sure to read the small prints on your lease contract of to contact a customer protection agency near you for help.
How much does an oil change cost at an independent shop?
Independent shops usually cost less than dealerships but don’t expect to save that much here and if you pay less, you might also obtain less for your money. They might put you a lower quality replacement filter, and lower grade oil. So, if you go at an independent shop, it’s very important to ask for which replacement part and type/brand of oil they’re going to use to make a true comparison. We’re talking about your engine. It’s not time to be cheap here.
You could usually get an oil change for 25$-70$ at independent shop if you take the time to shop around a little.
How much does and oil change cost at a 5 or 10 minutes fast oil change shop?
Usually, you won’t really save if you go at a fast oil change shop. They often use that strategy to attract customers, because most people hate to “lose” time for an oil change. Some shop might even charge more for their fast service.
Be careful and make sure that they put back the cap on your engine head. Fast service does not always equal high quality.
Beware of cross sales
It is very possible that you’ll end up with a 100$ or more bill if you go service your car and don’t make sure you only ask for an engine oil change.
Some will try to sell you a transmission oil change at the same time. Others will want to change all your air filters and trust me, some are very expensive.
It is not true that you have to change your air filters every time you make an oil change!
Read your owner’s manual. There’s a section where they talk about the recommended maintenance you must do on your car. Keep in mind that these are recommendations, not obligations.
How much does an oil change cost if I do it by myself?
If you’re a little handy and if you really want to save money, do your oil change by yourself! It’s not much more complicated than to fill your windshield washer tank and it will usually cost you between 15$-20$ to service your engine with a brand new oil filter and a new fill of good quality engine oil.
You can also buy your oil when it’s on sale and stock pile some.
The first time you’ll do it, it might take you maybe 30-45 minutes and you might have to buy some inexpensive tools, but then, with experience, you’ll be able to do that within 10-15 minutes maximum.
Here’s a great tutorial by Mobil 1 :
Image courtesy of Supakitmod