What is the Actual Cost of an Oil Change These Days?

oil change

Oil changes are never “one type fits all cars” and the cost is never the cost advertised. How many times do you see an advertisement for an oil change?

  • $29 for conventional oil
  • $44.00 for semi-synthetic or synthetic blend (same oil)
  • $59.00 for full synthetic oil

Pretty straight forward, right? When was the last time you paid the price advertised? I would venture to say never. Here are the additional items that you will be charged:

  • Over 5 quarts ($6 to $12 per quart additional)
  • Specialty oil for many cars (especially European makes)
  • High mileage oils
  • Canister oil filters ($10 additional)
  • Hazard fee ($2- $4 additional)
  • Sales tax ($2 to $5 additional)

Always ask what the cost will be including all fees and taxes before you visit!  NEVER, EVER use oil in your car that is not recommended for it.

Do your best to be knowledgeable about what oil is recommended for your vehicle. Be informed by checking your owner’s manual; go online or open the hood and look at the oil fill cap. Feed it the fluids it needs, just as you feed your body the nutrition it needs to live a longer, heathier life.

Here is what I have observed as a professional automotive shop owner for 41 years; folks that have a local shop take care of them, will have cars that easily have 150,000 to 300,000 miles on them, because all the correct oils and fluids are being used. Folks that bounce around from shop to shop in order to get the cheapest oil change and do not use the recommended oil and fluids for their car, usually have cars that won’t make the 100,000-mile mark without major repairs.

An oil change is starting to become part of a mileage service, but again check your manual or better yet find one of the many automotive service professionals out there and get to know them, trust them and enjoy a long-lasting car.

An Oil Change and Fuel Economy

Oil Change

Usually, when we talk about fuel economy, an oil change isn’t at the top of the list of discussion. The manufacturers are requiring lighter and lighter weight engine oil in all vehicles. 5w30 and 5w20 are being replaced with 0w16. I can hardly believe it, as 0w16 is like pouring water, it’s so thin.

The reason for the light weight oil is to give better fuel economy to satisfy the CAFÉ (corporate average fuel economy) standards. This standard is set by our state and requires all car manufacturers to average 54.5 MPG by the year 2025. Don’t think for a minute that the changes are going to slow down anytime soon.

Believe it or not an oil change can and will affect your miles per gallon and here is why. Us old guys always grabbed the 20w50 oil for our cars and today two of the most popular oils is 5w20 and 0w30. The comparison would be 20w50 oil will pour like molasses, while 0w20 will pour like water. Thicker oil creates resistance inside the engine, slowing down moving parts and lowering your miles per gallon. A hybrid or very high mile per gallon car can lower mileage by 1 to 2 miles per gallon. We have observed this from some testing that we have done.

Is installing 5w30 oil in a car requiring 5w20 a concern? Yes and no. Yes, because it will affect fuel mileage, sometimes it is noticeable, sometimes not. And no, because using a slightly thicker oil will not hurt the internal engine components at all. Warning!! Thicker is not better, so please don’t use a very thick oil like a 20w50 in a modern car as that will cause issues.

Other ways car makers are working to meet the CAFÉ standards are:

  • Using lighter materials
  • Turbo chargers
  • Gasoline direct injection
  • Hybrids
  • Smaller engine size
  • 10 speed transmissions
  • Synthetic oils in transmissions

With all these changes happening today, preventive maintenance is more critical than ever.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

The Concern With Obsolete Oil

The use of obsolete oil is not something consumers think about when they get an oil change, even if they change their own oil. Lately though, this concern has been brought to our attention. A lawsuit has been filed against a retailer in New Mexico claiming the oil they sell does not meet specification for newer cars. Modern cars are designed with much tighter internal engine clearances than in years past so using the correct oil is critical.

If your star burst symbol oil label does not specify GF-5 SN it is not suitable for most cars newer than 2011. The labeling on the oil contains “obvious and unambiguous language” regarding its intended and appropriate use. I am sad to report many shops don’t understand the consequences of incorrect oil labeling.

ALL cars have specific oil that needs to be used or damage will occur! This is why some cars’ engines have 200,000, 300,000 or even 400,000 miles on them while others only get half that many miles. The use of incorrect oil can also dramatically lower fuel mileage and cause damage to systems that result in the increased emissions of toxic substances and damage to emission control systems, including catalytic converters and oxygen sensors.

If you have heard the term “sludge” and I hope your never do in relation to your own car, it is caused by two things; waiting too long to change the engine oil or using incorrect oil for that specific application. Be warned also that European cars have even stricter additive packages that if not adhered to, will really wreak havoc on the internal parts of the engine.

Here is a link I hope you will use to educate yourself on engine oils:
Motor Oils and Lubricants

The automotive industry has no standards for servicing your car. Any shop can add any oil with no consequences, so it is truly a consumer beware industry when it comes to fluid standards.

I recommend knowing what oil is recommended for your car and asking questions when you arrive at your trusted automotive shop. AAA shops have to adhere to higher standards and are held accountable for their actions. Be an informed consumer, not one with a broken car.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!