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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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.

Shop Location Conventional Synthetic Blend
Firestone1 Seattle, Washington $40.00 $75.00 $60.00
Jiffy Lube Miami, Florida $44.99 $99.99 $79.99
WalMart Des Moines, Iowa $29.88 $49.88 $39.88
Goodyear Auto Service Houston, Texas $34.95 $74.95 $54.95
Goshen Car Wash & Oil Express New 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.

Servicer Discounts Offered Coupons Available Oil Change Price Range
Firestone Complete Auto Care1 Savings for Firestone Credit Card Holders Yes $40.00-$80.00
WalMart Auto Care None No $19.88-$49.88
Jiffy Lube Some locations offer senior citizens’ or military; discounts vary by location Yes $44.99-$99.99
Goodyear Auto Service Discounts are available and vary by season and location Yes $34.95-$74.95
Midas Discounts and rebates are available and vary by season and location Yes $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.

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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.

Too long, didn’t read?

Oil changes are a necessary part of vehicle ownership. If you are looking for a price guide for oil changes, you may find inconsistent information across the internet. Oil change prices can vary widely based on your car’s make and model and the amount of oil required to fill the engine. In general, you should expect to pay $20-$50 for a standard oil change with conventional oil. You may also opt for an oil change with fully synthetic oil, which lasts longer and protects your engine, although these oil changes generally cost $50-$100.

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Julia Taylor
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

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  • Nashalie Addarich is an editor for The Simple Dollar. She recently made a career switch from the legal field, where she was an attorney in Washington, DC. In her free time, she enjoys learning new languages. You can also find her editorial work on Reviews.com.

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