Oil Change Prices Guide

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of buying a new car, but after you’ve signed the paperwork and grabbed your keys, it’s important to protect your new investment. Getting regular car oil changes is essential to keeping your car in top operating condition, but those necessary oil changes don’t have to cost you a ton of money. By exploring this price guide for oil changes, you’ll find tips for identifying the most cost-effective oil change for your vehicle.

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In this article

    What’s an oil change and why do I really need one?

    As part of the routine maintenance for your vehicle, you should get an oil change about every 5,000 miles or approximately every 3-6 months. Car oil changes involve draining all of the lubrication oil out of the engine, replacing your car’s oil filter and refilling the engine with fresh oil. As you drive your car, metal shavings and heat from your car’s engine cause the oil to break down. If the oil breaks down too much or gets too full of metal particles, it will no longer properly lubricate and protect your engine.

    Ignoring your oil changes can lead to clogging, overheating, broken seals or other costly repairs. If your vehicle’s engine fails, you may even be put in a a bad financial position where you need to purchase a different vehicle. Regularly maintaining your car’s oil will extend the life of your engine and can save you thousands of dollars in maintenance over the life of your car.

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    Conventional vs. synthetic oil change prices

    One of the biggest factors that determines the price of your oil change is the type of oil you choose to put in your vehicle. As a price guide for oil changes, expect to save money by choosing a basic oil change with conventional oil, but you should also be prepared to change your oil more often. Although conventional oil is cheaper, it also breaks down faster and doesn’t provide as much protection for your engine.

    Conventional oil change prices

    A conventional oil change will typically range from $20-$50, depending on your vehicle’s make and model and the quarts of oil required. Oil change prices with the same service center can vary by geographic location, though conventional oil change prices are fairly standard across the country.

    Synthetic oil change prices

    A fully-synthetic oil change can cost $30-$50 more than conventional oil change prices at the same location, or approximately $50-$100. As a cheaper alternative, many auto servicers offer a synthetic hybrid, or synthetic blend, that typically saves $20-$30 over the cost of a fully synthetic oil change.

    Firestone1Seattle, Washington$40.00$75.00$60.00
    Jiffy LubeMiami, Florida$44.99$99.99$79.99
    WalMartDes Moines, Iowa$29.88$49.88$39.88
    Goodyear Auto ServiceHouston, Texas$34.95$74.95$54.95
    Goshen Car Wash & Oil ExpressNew York, New York$36.95$64.95$46.95

    Oil change prices guide

    Oil change prices can vary significantly based on the additional services included, type of vehicle and type of oil selected. Some servicers have higher standard prices but offer coupons or discounts to entice drivers looking for a good deal. Other maintenance shops have a competitive pricing structure but rarely offer coupons or discounts.

    Local service centers and discount retailers, like Wal-Mart’s Auto Care, tend to have the lowest prices on average, while full-service centers and manufacturer’s service centers tend to be the most expensive. Pricing at manufacturer’s dealerships can vary widely based on the location and make/model of the vehicle. Some dealerships are price competitive with local quick-change service centers; others can charge two to three times as much for the same service.

    ServicerDiscounts OfferedCoupons AvailableOil Change Price Range
    Firestone Complete Auto Care1Savings for Firestone Credit Card HoldersYes$40.00-$80.00
    WalMart Auto CareNoneNo$19.88-$49.88
    Jiffy LubeSome locations offer senior citizens’ or military; discounts vary by locationYes$44.99-$99.99
    Goodyear Auto ServiceDiscounts are available and vary by season and locationYes$34.95-$74.95
    MidasDiscounts and rebates are available and vary by season and locationYes$20.00-$85.00

    What’s included in an oil change service?

    Most quick service oil change shops will include a bundle of services with the oil change. While the workers are changing your car’s oil, they will also perform multi-point inspections to verify that your windshield wipers, headlights, turn signals and brake lights are working properly. Some oil change locations also include fluid refills, an oil filter change and an air filter change if needed.

    Your oil should be changed roughly every 3,000-5,000 miles, depending on what type of oil was used and whether the mileage is primarily city or highway driving. Your car can experience a lot of wear and tear in that time, so routine maintenance checks can help catch small issues before they lead to more costly repairs.

    [Related: Should I Buy a Used or New Car?]

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    How to avoid an oil change upsell

    Although some servicers brand themselves as “quick lube specialists”, most mechanics that perform car oil changes make more profits off the ancillary services they offer. When you take your car for an oil change, the mechanic may suggest tire balancing or rotation, an air conditioning recharge, filter or gasket replacements or  other services that come with an added price tag.

    How can you know when these services are necessary and when it’s merely an upsell?  To answer this     question, it’s essential that you educate yourself on proper auto care and what type of maintenance is typical for your vehicle. If a mechanic suggests other services, ask for proof. For easier tasks, such as light bulb replacements, learn to change them yourself and politely decline the added services. If you’re not confident in your auto maintenance prowess, find a knowledgeable friend or relative who can verify whether the services are needed.

    Knowing your car’s recommended maintenance schedule can also help you identify if a service is warranted, and can minimize the need for more costly repairs. It’s best to check your vehicle’s manual for exact routine maintenance requirements, but generally most car owners should expect the following:

    • An oil change every six months or every 5,000 miles (whichever comes first).
    • Wiper blade replacements every 6-12 months.
    • Tire rotation every 6,000-8,000 miles.
    • Tire replacement every 25,000-50,000 miles.
    • Air filter replacements every 2-3 oil changes or at least once per year.

    Julia Taylor

    Contributing Writer

    Julia Taylor is a freelance writer based in Nashville, TN. She takes complex business, financial, and technical topics and makes them easy to understand. You can find her work published on a variety of business blogs, including Paychex, Kapitus, Sanford Brown, Fortis Educational Institutes, American University of Antigua and Interest.com

    Reviewed by

    • Nashalie Addarich
      Nashalie Addarich
      Insurance Editor

      Nasha Addarich is an editor at The Simple Dollar and a former attorney who specializes in home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, and savings. She is a former contributing editor to Reviews.com.