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Oil Change Scams

How to Avoid Oil Change Rip Offs

Yesterday I got my oil changed at a quickie oil change joint because I needed one and had a coupon guaranteeing it wouldn’t cost over thirty bucks. Somehow though, I ended up shelling out over a hundred. Why? Because I was told that if I didn’t also receive the service for this, that, and the other the world and life of my car would come to a crashing halt. Wanting to prolong the life of both I went ahead with the services. But I couldn’t help but question if I had gotten ripped off. It’s one of the reasons I hate getting an oil change. All the upgrades and services offered leave my head spinning. And while I want to keep my car in great condition, I don’t want to shell out money for unnecessary services. Here are some simple solutions to prevent getting ripped off.

Most importantly, of course, you need to guarantee for yourself that the oil change is done correctly. Even though it’s convenient to drop off your car and pick it up on your lunch break, it’s best to watch the oil change being performed. Make an appointment to ensure no waiting. The first hurdle is to pick the right oil. Don’t be duped into picking a higher grade than you need. A safe bet is to stick with what the manufacturer recommends. Synthetic oils don’t break down as quickly as conventional and can protect your engine longer, but are also more expensive and not all cars need them or can use them. Next, make sure you get the oil you paid for. Ask to watch, and step out of the car. This way, you can confirm that if you paid for synthetic oil, it’s not being poured or pumped from a basic can or tank. Make sure the filter is changed. If you’re watching, you can ask to see the old one, or before you go make a marking on the filter. This marking will allow you to verify that the filter was actually replaced. If you’re concerned about sloppy work, be sure that the filter is tightened as a loose one can cause leaks and a big mess.

It’s also important to know what services the oil change place offers. Included in the price of a basic oil change the majority of places provide services like topping off windshield fluid and checking tire pressure. Make sure these services are performed because you’re paying for them either way. Before you go for the oil change, flip through your owner’s manual to see if you’re due for any services. This way you’ll know if you still have 30,000 miles before the air filter should be replaced you can skip this suggestion made by an oil change technician. The same goes for brakes. Also check the manual for what services the manufacturer recommends. Most don’t suggest an oil flush, and therefore you don’t need one. In fact, a flush can potentially cause problems.

By knowing how your car is running you can also avoid getting scammed. So, for example, if the oil technician suggests new windshield wipers but yours worked like troopers in last week’s torrential downpour your scam alert should sound. It’s probably best to avoid any extra services from a place that’s suggesting things you know you don’t need. If this is the case but there’s a service you think you might need, it’s best to take the car to a mechanic you can trust. If you’re looking for a qualified auto repair mechanic, we can help.

These tips should help your next oil change be a little less confusing and hopefully less draining on your wallet. One last tip: that “see you in 3,000 miles” sticker slapped on the windshield before you drove is jumping the gun a bit. Odds are your next oil change doesn’t need to be that soon. See what your car manual recommends. Happy Driving from AutoRepairKey.com!

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