It’s nice to think that no matter where you take your car for an oil change, you could be sure that you’d get the service you expect without fear of being scammed. Sadly, that is not the case, as many people learn. Don’t get taken for a ride at the garage. Simply know what to watch for.
Oil Change Scams to Watch Out For
If you look for a new lube shop, there are some common scams to watch for. Be aware of common scams so you’re not ripped off and your car isn’t mishandled.
Switching the Oil
Whether your car needs it or it’s a personal choice, many drivers today prefer to use synthetic oil. After all, synthetic oil provides better gas mileage, helps the engine run smoother, and allows longer periods between oil changes. However, some garages say they are using synthetic oil, and charge you for synthetic oil but use conventional oil. Protect yourself and your vehicle by asking to watch the oil change being done. If they put up a fuss about it, then it is possible they have unsavory business practices. Also, if you want to be certain they use the oil of your choice, consider purchasing it and bringing it with you. You can order AMSOIL synthetic oil from Buy Great Oil to be sure your vehicle gets what you prefer.
If the oil filter isn’t changed then the job wasn’t properly done- though you were likely charged for the full service! You can catch this scam by using a Sharpie marker to make a small X on your filter before going to the shop. If the X is still there after the oil change, then they didn’t do the job correctly. Another filter-related scam is for a shop to show you a filthy filter from another vehicle, but say it is from your vehicle. They will then tell you they need to do extra work, use a different filter, or some other lie that will be an additional cost. However, they will put your original filter back in your car without making a single change. Again, look for the X!
Not Doing the Job
Part of many standard oil changes includes topping off fluids. Garages looking for a way to scam will say they are performing these tasks, but the reality is, they didn’t. Or, even more damaging, saying they changed the oil when they didn’t do anything more than take the cap off and put it back on. This, in particular, can be costly as the dirty oil will cause you bigger problems down the road. You can easily make sure the oil was changed by checking the dipstick. If the oil was actually changed the new oil will look clear and clean.
Come Back in 3,000 Miles
Unless you are driving under extreme conditions regularly or have a 20-or-so year-old car, this is no longer necessary. Most cars can go longer than that. You just need to be vigilant about checking the oil and be aware of what your owner’s manual recommends. Also, if you use AMSOIL you can get between 5,000 and 7,000 (and even up to 25,000) miles between changes.
Getting your car’s oil changed doesn’t need to be stressful. Just pay attention to what is happening and make it a point to only go to oil change shops that are reputable. With some basic awareness, you can be sure your vehicle is always ready for the next adventure!