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the Price of an Oil Change

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$ 50
Nov 2008
Austin, TX
Chevrolet Cavalier
Oil change with oil quality upgrade  more... close row
$ 75
Jan 2007
Akron, OH
Basic oil change with synthetic oil  more... close row
$ 35
Nov 2007
Moorpark, California
Toyota Corrola
Oil change and free car wash  more... close row
$ 26
Oct 2008
San Diego, CA
Toyota Celica
Oil change with manipulative mechanic  more... close row

Description of service

I went to a drive-through oil change place near a shopping center where I had some errands. I told the guy I needed an oil change, asked him also to be sure to check the tire pressure because I was about to leave on a 500mi road trip. He did those things, and also topped off my wiper fluid.

Review of Service

I wanted to save time by running a quick errand while my car was being worked on, but when I returned at the time my car was supposed to be done, the hood was still open and several of the parts were sitting on a shop towel on the bumper.

The guy who had checked me in said he was very concerned. He showed me a computer screen that listed several maintenance items for my car, and how often they were recommended. Manual transmission fluid, he said, should be flushed/replaced every 12k miles or calendar year. Fuel filter, he said, should be replaced every 30k miles. He also said it looked like my belts needed replacing and expressed concern about radiator fluid or coolant or something.

I have always driven used Toyotas and I take very good care of them, so I was more than a little surprised at the information he was giving me. He was very careful to warn me that these things should have been done long ago, and that I was seriously risking ruining my car by neglecting them. He pointed out with shock the caps and fluid systems that had never even been touched, where he said he had to break the "factory seal" just to open them. He also said that he thought that driving 500 miles without having this work done was very risky, even going so far as to say that I "might" make it there safely, but he would be "surprised." The work he recommended would cost $350 or so, and take about 20 minutes to complete, he told me.

Clearly, I am no mechanic, but I am also not stupid. I asked the guy if I could make a quick phone call as I decided what to do. I called my regular mechanic--a trusted man who has worked on every car my family has owned in the past 30 years. He laughed when I read him the list of things that the technician had said were so urgent. It turns out that some of the things he wanted to replace were designed by Toyota to never need replacing. Not only that, but the fluids he wanted to flush and replace also didn't need to be treated for the life of the car, as long as the chambers were full.

I was furious that the technician would try so boldly to manipulate me. I know that I put myself in that position by acknowledging the upcoming road trip, but this is obviously no excuse for such unscrupulous behavior on the part of the technician. When I returned to the office, I asked him to finish up, do no further work, and I would take the car to my regular mechanic to address his concerns. I paid as quickly and as politely as I could manage, but it was difficult for me to even make eye contact with the guy, let alone be polite.


Well, obviously, don't believe everything you hear. Once you find a mechanic you can trust, don't hesitate to call them for advice. They should be happy to give it to you, knowing that they are keeping a valuable customer.

I know this particular chain claims to not pay their employees on commission, but there must be some incentive structure to incite their employees to act like this. Be warned.

$ 20
Apr 2008
Bellflower, California
Saturn L300
Half price coupon for oil change  more... close row
$ 35
Aug 2007
Alameda, CA
Toyota Corolla
Oil Change while you wait  more... close row
$ 53
Dec 2008
Eastern, Iowa
Chevy Impala
Extra price worth it for good oil change  more... close row
$ 30
Mar 2008
waupaca, Wisconsin
dodge neon
Oil change with advice for other services  more... close row
$ 25
Mar 2008
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ford Ranger
I received a "while you wait" oil change  more... close row
$ 20
Feb 2008
Nashville TN
Chevy G-20 Van
Great experience with oil change  more... close row
$ 30
Jan 2008
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Routine oil change at non-chain shop  more... close row
$ 15
Dec 2007
Amarillo, TX
This price included a basic oil change  more... close row
$ 32
Apr 2007
Alameda, CA
Toyota Corolla
Drive Thru Oil Change  more... close row
$ 38
Mar 2008
Farubault, MN
Pontiac Montanna
Oil change while you stay in the car  more... close row
$ 17
Dec 2007
Greenwood, IN
Hyundai Sonata
Cheap oil change, disappointing service  more... close row
$ 19
Mar 2008
Garland, TX
Fast and cheap oil change  more... close row
$ 40
Mar 2008
Cedar Rapids, IA
Incomplete Oil Change and Service  more... close row