At some point in time, every vehicle requires an oil change. There are many reasons why an oil change is important.
Some of the most important aspects that an oil change can help with are the protection against corrosion, the prevention of wear and tear, the cooling of engine compartments, and the improvement in the vehicle’s mileage and lifespan.
If it is time to get the oil changed, you are probably wondering whether it is better to do it yourself or have a professional perform the task at a dealership.
Many of us ask this question as a dealership may charge more for an oil change than an independent garage as well as being somewhat less convenient.
Firstly, there are benefits and disadvantages of having a dealership do your vehicle’s oil change. Let’s take a look at the benefits first.
The benefits of going to a dealership for an oil change
- The dealership for your vehicle’s make usually knows your car better than anyone, including independent shops
- They are less likely to make a mistake with this extra knowledge
- If your vehicle is under warranty, you may be worried that changing the oil elsewhere would void that warranty but this is not true. Therefore, an automaker can not void it for going somewhere other than the dealership for service. Ensure you keep oil change receipts to prove your oil was changed, just in case
- Not as expensive as many would believe. Oil changes are usually a very simple task and most dealerships have pretty competitive rates when compared with independent shops
The drawbacks of going to a dealership for an oil change
- Although many dealerships offer fair rates for oil changes, some can be expensive and this puts many car owners off the mere idea of using a dealership
- Dealerships are not always as convenient to use. There are typically dozens of independent shops around most cities that do quick oil changes. A dealership may be further afield and harder to get to. Furthermore, a dealer is less likely to have a readily available appointment time for you. On the other hand, a quick oil change shop can usually do it immediately
When getting an oil change, it shouldn’t really matter where you get it done. The most important thing to do is to keep your receipts from oil changes as proof if required.
Also, perform oil changes at the recommended intervals from your owner’s handbook or search online for your vehicle’s make, model, and year to find out.
You should not worry about voiding your warranty by going to a garage other than your dealership as this is perfectly acceptable and lawful.
However, going to a dealership maybe a little more expensive and sometimes less convenient but you will get the peace of mind that they will know your vehicle better than anyone.
Trading a little extra cost for the knowledge that your vehicle is in the safest of hands is usually worth it.
Is it cheaper to get an oil change at a dealership?
The price of an oil change at a dealership depends on a variety of factors. One main factor is if the dealership has a special deal on certain services. If they do, the prices can sometimes beat all independent shops.
Furthermore, a dealership is more inclined to keep their prices down if they have a lot of competition from quick change places. Cities tend to have numerous quick change garages dotted around and if a dealership’s prices are higher than these, then they can not compete.
Unlike places in Europe where the do-it-yourself attitude for changing oil is somewhat frowned upon, the United States is more relaxed.
In the UK, most logbooks have to be stamped after a service to show that an oil change has occurred. If a stamp is missing, this could lower the price of the vehicle when being sold. This is not true in the United States.
While the manufacturer’s oil should be used on most oil changes, the dealer doesn’t always have to use this specified oil. However, they must use the manufacturer’s oil for warranty repairs.
If a dealership uses a no-name brand oil, they could charge less but bear in mind that this oil is usually of lesser quality than that with a name brand.
You can always ask for the manufacturer’s oil but this will typically cost more. Nonetheless, there are advantages of using this genuine, recommended oil. One is that it has been tested on your vehicle’s engine before so it is proven to work well with that particular engine.
It is interesting to note that some dealerships regularly inflate their maintenance bills with “unnecessary fluid flushes and replacements.” These words, from a car dealership service manager, confess that regular shop supplies, such as rags and lubricants, could cost 30% less in independent shops.
This is not to say that all dealerships inflate their prices with unnecessary tasks but it is always worth researching a dealership first to ensure they won’t “rip you off.”
While dealerships are generally more expensive than independent garages, they do have the added benefit of knowing the intricacies of your vehicle.
The mechanics in dealerships are usually experts on the make and model of your car while regular mechanics in independent shops may not know as much about your particular vehicle. The added cost is nearly always worth it for the extra experience and peace of mind.
Most oil changes shouldn’t cost astronomical amounts. As we stated, it is usually an easy, straightforward job that most mechanics can do with ease. The cost of an oil change should be similar throughout the United States but you should take the distance and experience into consideration.
If a shop is offering to change your oil for the same price as a dealership that is out of town, you are probably better off going to the local shop. After the cost of fuel and the added inconvenience of driving further away, you could spend more than you should.