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October 07, 2010


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Problem is: many drivers today using "self serve" gas stations to neglect to CHECK the oil and other vital fluids and tire pressures, light bulbs, etc., thus, the 3K~/3-4 month interval is good for those who don't/won't/can't do these type of self checks on a "weekly to monthly" timeframe. For them, 3K miles checks are vital as often a fluid will be well underfilled and another problem will exist that can be caught and fixed before a major problem results. For those of a mechanical mind, just going with the severe service interval of your owners manual will work just fine as you SELF check all the other underhood/undercar operations and the tire pressures (often!) too....I do these checks for friends/neighbors and before doing so I often found low oil and other fluids, torn wiper blades, burnt bulbs, etc., and grossly underinflated tires (severe safety hazard and gas consuming if not checked/adjuasted COLD regularly).


Do oil change shops check tire pressure? I don't get the sense that they do. They can't up sell you on that so I would be surprised if they did and if they did I would expect them to tell me how they were helping me out. I have never been told your tire pressure was low so we pumped them up.

So are you saying they actually do check tire pressure on an oil change?

pease tell ME were I can get a $15 oil change. that wouldn't even cover the oil filter and the oil recycling fee.

Kris --

I paid $15.99 at my local Goodyear service shop a couple months ago. They accept competitive coupons. ;-)

My wife pays $9.95 per oil change at her dealership -- part of the deal when we bought her car several years ago.

My Goodyear in MN offers 5 for $80 cards as well.

$15 to $20 is pretty typical. I think a lot of places are willing to break even or lose money on the oil change if they are able to sell you a $5 air filter for $50.

It depends on the oil change place. Mine checks all fluids even transmission, tire pressure, brake lights and turn signals. Of course I do not go with the cheap oil change because I get semi synthetic oil which is recommended by my cars manual.

If I did get the cheap oil then I would get it changed every 3k but that is based on my driving habits. Short trips.

I get my oil done every 5000 cause thats what my car manual says to do. I think the normal rate is like $30 or so but they always have $5 or $10 coupons, so I pay $20-$25. Cheaper places are $20 but they just do the oil and nothing else. The places I go check everything including all fluids and air pressure. Which is a handy convenience and useful for many people like Jeff pointed out. But then they try and upsell you everything they can at high profit rates even though your car doesn't really need it. I've even had them tell me that I NEED to change something that my autos owner manual explicitly tells you that you do NOT need to change. Its OK as long as you know to tell them 'no' to everything that they try to upsell you.

I usually just leave the window sticker, but add 2,000 or 3,000 miles to the mileage that the oil change shop suggested.

my usual oil change shop is close to $30 AFTER a $15 coupon - but they do check everything: lights, tire pressure, fluids, plus the usual oil/lube/filter.

they are HORRIBLE about upselling, though. in fact, they tried to convince me to buy a new air filter that I had just replaced myself a week or two earlier. he even said: "yours looks pretty good, but we can replace it for you for $___ (whatever crazy price it was)".

I do my own maintenance. It takes me less time to perform the service than a quicky lube joint and costs about half what y'all are paying with the discount coupon. Oil changes, adding air to tires, replacing filters or topping off the washer fluid aren't rocket science. After all, these places hire the dropouts who didn't pass the tests to become certified mechanics.

Oil change intervals are dependant upon vehicle usage. One size does not fit all.

If you really want to see a good oil change interval CUSTOMIZED to your engine, then get an oil analysis from Blackstone Labs. The small investment might help you out and spot any engine problems before something potentially fails catastrophically.

Most All the shops here in the NW do chcek tire pressures, however, tires are PROPERLY set ONLY when cold (after aLL NIGHT SITTING) SO THE PRESSURE THE SHOP SETS 'EM IS PROBABLY A FEW LBS OFF DEPENDING ON THE TIRE TEMPS...but, I've seen 'em busy and they don't check other items like bulbs, air filters etc., so WATCH the process and ask questions! And, every 12'f temp change is 1 lb~ is pressure so in the fall (especially) weekly tire checks are MORE important as avg temps drop. As a former Truck/bus driver, we often checked theh tires every other day or so, you've seen the truck tire carcasses on the highway, HEAT (underinflation) is #1 blowout cause, and drops fuel mileage a LOT. Keeep 'em as the owners manual suggests at the full load pressures and the oil "full" for proper luberication which helps mileage and use the PROPER viscosity...Personally my Jeep gets annual oil changes (about 5-6K miles) and tire rotations and all fluids (differentials, xmission, xfer case along with underhood fluids) every 6K miles with a synthetic (since true synthetics do not absorb water) and most (brake fluid especially as it is hydroscopic) other fluids are/is changed every 30K~ miles...I get to see close up in/under the vehicle and can spot any problems are checked at least 2x a month when cold.

I drive constantly, so I would be getting an oil change almost every month if I followed the 3000 mile rule.

I generally get mine changed every 6000 miles or so, and I also get my tires rotated on the same day. It works for me...

@lurker car: I agree the job is simple, but unless you have a good setup and the right equipment, most people won't do it often enough to be quicker than a lube joint.

The challenge to most people will be draining the old oil, which can be messy.

My father-in-law had a pit in his garage, and I used ramps to raise the vehicle when I did it. But truth be told, after doing many of my own over the years, I decided that dropping the vehicles off at the local mechanic and forking over $25 was worth it to me to skip the mess and the hassle. And even after doing as many as I did, I don't think I was quicker than taking it to the shop.

People definitely should check all fluids and pressures themselves though.

Actually, I end up changing the oil in my Pontiac a lot less than 3000 miles sometimes. That's because my round trip back and forth to work is about 4.5 miles. This means that the miles go on very slowly. I don't like to leave the oil in for more than six months at a time, so sometimes I have it changed as soon as 1,500 miles!

I agree with @jeffinwesternwa in that most people (including myself at times) don't regularly monitor their fluids and so a trip to XYZ quick lube every few months is probably a good idea even if the oil and filter could typically last longer.

I change every 3,500 miles per my car's warranty requirements. No flexibility there.

In any case, maybe the more advanced synthetic oils don't need to be changed as often and can last 7,500 - 10,000 miles, but have filters similarly advanced to support that?

Hm. I'm sure I pay too much, because I do get the oil changed about every 3,000 to 3,500 miles (or whenever I think of it, which is often longer between changes than that). I figure $750 is a small price to pay for being able to delay having to buy a new car for several extra years. The beloved Dog Chariot is now 10 years old with almost 100,000 miles and is still running trouble-free. Chuck, the Mechanic Par Excellence, says it should continue in fine fettle for another 50,000 miles.

Being the girlie type, I don't have much interest in changing the oil myself. But if I did feel any such impulse, it would have gone away the time Semi-Demi-Exboyfriend, who ALWAYS changes his own oil, refilled his truck's oil reservoir with nice, clean new oil, turned on the engine, and...SPLATOLA! Oil all over the garage floor!!!!!

He'd forgotten to put the cap back on.

That was my garage floor, BTW, as he was living with me at the time. Couldn't get very mad at him, because it took him a couple of hours to scrub the oil up, using a double-whammy solvent he'd picked up at the airbase. Heeeee!

Chuck's Auto Repair prices never looked so attractive. :-D

Then how about the other metric that is thrown around - 3000 miles OR 6 months.

Is the 6 months also no longer relevant?

SB --

Consult your owner's manual.

The "6 month rule" is in my wife's owner's manual and since she drives very little, it's often the trigger for her getting an oil change.

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