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Why that $15 Oil Change Might Not Be the Best Deal

By: StaffAugust 27, 20211 min

While auto shops sometimes offer $15 oil changes, it’s important to remember that they lose money on these jobs. There’s no way a store can purchase all the material they need, pay their workers and still have any profit left over. So why do they offer these deals in the first place if they’re guaranteed losses? There are three main ways mechanics make the $15 oil change worth their time:

Many shops use inexpensive oil changes to get customers into the doors so the mechanic can sell them on services and repairs. Many stores will push hard for everything from an expensive wiper replacement to an unnecessary brake job. If you’re in the shop for a $15 oil change, make sure you let the mechanic know that you don’t want an inspection. And if the mechanic does try to push a repair, always get a second opinion from a mechanic you trust.

To save money, some mechanics will buy low-grade oil that will quickly deteriorate inside your engine. Since bad oil can shave years off the life of your car, it’s important to find out what kind of oil the shop will be using in your vehicle. You may also want to consider requesting synthetic oil that is designed to offer better protection longer.

The worst lube shops cut corners to move vehicles through the process as quickly as possible. They may not take enough time to drain the oil all the way, leaving dirty oil in your car for another three months. Some may neglect to change the filter, leading to your brand new oil quickly getting dirty. Others employ inexperienced workers who make mistakes like stripping the drain plug, leading to costly repairs. Because the oil change is so important, you should leave the job to mechanics you trust. So is the $15 oil change worth it? It depends. Are you willing to stand up to a shop that won’t take “no” for an answer? Will you check the job to make sure it’s done right? Have you spent time researching the shop’s reputation? If you spend the time to make sure your oil change is done right, you may find the $15 job is more trouble than it’s worth.

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