Owning a car means keeping up with maintenance and ensuring that everything is in working order. In other words, you want a well-oiled machine. In order to do that, you need to get your car’s motor oil changed regularly. However, whether you change the oil on your own or take it to a mechanic, you are going to have to pay something. So, how much is an oil change? And what should you expect? Let’s find out.
Please note that prices may change from those listed in this article and should be checked.
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How Much is an Oil Change?
The typical cost of an oil change is generally between $20 and $100 in North America. That is a huge range, though. The following things influence the cost of an oil change:
- The make, model, and year of your vehicle. Compact sedans do not need the same amount of engine oil as a large luxury SUV or a commercial pickup hauling motor homes. The demands on the vehicle, as well as the engine type, mileage, and even the weather, may alter what oil is placed in your specific car, truck, or SUV.
- The kind of oil you are using. Conventional oil is by far the cheapest. Full synthetic oil will contain more additives to protect your engine from wear and tear. In the middle are blended oils, which are designed to provide the benefits of fully synthetic engine oil but at a reduced cost.
- Your geographical location. Your location in the world will impact how much an oil change costs. Labor rates depend on where you live, so if you take your car to a service center, keep this in mind.
- Who is doing the oil change. Do you plan on doing the oil change yourself? Going to a specialist? What about a lube shop? The expertise and specializations of some mechanics influence how much you are charged.
- Rules and regulations. In some states, you are charged extra for the lawful disposal of used oil and oil filters.
Cost of an Oil Change at Popular Retailers
Here is an average cost breakdown of oil changes, so you can see the difference:
|Oil Change Price Range
|AAA-Owned Repair Centers
The bottom of each price is conventional oil. The top end of the range is fully synthetic. Keep in mind that these prices are also influenced by the location, vehicle type, location, and mileage. These prices do not reflect any additional costs, such as disposal fees or taxes.
Price Difference in Conventional vs Synthetic Oil Change
The average cost of an oil change usually factors in the four or five quarts of oil, a new oil filter, and the cost of labor. The biggest determining factor, though, would be the kind of oil you receive. Are you getting conventional oil? A synthetic blend? Or what about a high mileage full synthetic?
The kind of oil that goes into your car depends on the year, make, and model. Most newer models are only running on synthetic these days, so do not ask for conventional as a way to cut corners. Even though the average price difference between conventional and synthetic motor oil is average around $30, you do not want to skimp on the lifeblood of your vehicle.
Dealership vs Lube Shop Oil Change Price
For some vehicle owners, it may be wise to take your car, truck, or SUV to the dealership where you bought it. This is a good option for those with more exotic or luxury brands. Knowing that the mechanics at the dealership are specialized in your car’s make and model can give you some peace of mind.
However, oil changes from the dealership do tend to cost more than your run-of-the-mill lube shop. The dealership tends to use a special brand of oil and will have a higher cost-per-hour for labor. Lube shops are far more competitive. As such, it may only cost you $20 more than it would change the oil yourself.
How Can You Avoid Paying More For an Oil Change?
If you are getting your car regularly serviced at a lube shop or dealership, then you may run into some common upsells that increase the price of your visit astronomically. Below are several services or items that a mechanic may try to upsell. Keep these things in mind, because you may not always need them or could DIY them and save money.
- Engine air filter replacement
- Cabin air filter replacement
- Tire rotation
- Wiper blade replacement
- Brake pad replacement
- Rotor replacement
- Coolant flush
While these services are necessary once in a while, it is important to consult the owner’s manual of your vehicle. The manufacturer’s recommendations help you gain a better understanding of the intervals at which to perform these services. For instance, AAA states that the air cabin filter should be replaced every 20,000 miles. Yet, in non-polluted areas, your cabin air filter will last for much longer.
Final Thoughts on the Cost of Oil Changes
How much does an oil change cost? Between $20 and $100. The range depends greatly on who is doing it, the vehicle, and the oil that you are using. Doing the oil change yourself is the cheapest way to have this service done, but you can pay for the convenience at a lube shop or dealership service center. Keep this price range in mind when shopping for a new car or when deciding which services to get and when!