Is an Oil Change REALLY “Just” an Oil Change?

We have it engrained in our brains and entrenched in our habits that regular oil changes are the one piece of automotive maintenance that is important and that it should be really, really cheap. A whole industry has even sprouted over providing The All-Important Oil Change; think Jiffy Lube®, Speedee Oil Change™, etc. We see signs everywhere offering “$30 oil change!” “Oil Changes: Only $19.99!”

That’s great, I am a proponent of maintenance! However, an oil change is not just an oil change. It is not just a matter of screw off filter, drain oil, install new filter, add new oil, and wam bam, 20 minutes you’re out the door. Well, it might be like that at some other shops…

At Paul’s we know that an oil change is as important as getting your brakes fixed or your coolant flushed, and we give it the same level of expertise and attention to detail.

We use the regular oil change as the perfect opportunity to check the safety of your vehicle. So, when you come to Paul’s for your oil change, or as we like to call it our “5,000 Mile Service,” know that you are not just getting an oil change. You are getting a complete mileage service by a skilled and trained technician with years of experience, high quality Castrol oil, a tire rotation, brake inspection, and a complete safety inspection.

And why does this make a difference?

I have seen many, many times customers go somewhere for a $19.99 oil change and end up in our shop a few days to a month later. Over the years we have found that, bargain oil change shops are not always looking out for the best interest of the vehicle or the customer. This is what may happen with a cheap oil change performed by an inexperienced technician:

  • Adding wrong oil and/or the wrong sized filter. This can create oil leaks, burning oil, reduced vehicle mileage, and engine damage. The oil filter is what keeps the oil clean and needs to be swapped out with every oil change. Installing the wrong size filter is also a common mistake. Just because it threads on, doesn’t mean it’s the right size. If it isn’t the right size, it might leak oil or not be able to filter oil properly as it cycles through; both of which put your engine at risk.
  • Adding not enough oil or too much oil. Too little oil messes with the hydraulic pressure and lubrication of the parts inside the vehicle. This can cause the internal components of the engine to experience too much friction, and potentially damage itself. Overfilling your oil can cause the engine oil to foam up inside and reduce the hydraulic pressure. It can even put extra pressure on the pressure-crank case system which causes the engine seals and gaskets to leak.
  • Adding low quality oil. This is one way bargain stores can charge so little for oil changes. Moving parts wear down over time at varying rates; low quality oil tends to increase the rate of degradation. High quality oil enables the lowest amount of degradation to the parts and thus extend their lives. This can make a big difference on critical components in a car, such as the engine and transmission, which will save money on repairs in the long run. High quality oil also leads to greater fuel efficiency, thus increasing the mileage of your car.
  • Overtightening the filter or drain nut. Overtightening the filter or drain nut can can tear the threads out of the oil pan which usually means replacing the oil pan at the cost of about $600.
  • Not tightening the filter enough. This leads to the oil filter leaking and the engine losing oil.
  • Not Changing Out the Oil Filter O-Ring. The O-ring needs to be changed along with the oil filter. When you buy an oil filter, it also comes with a new O-ring that goes on top of the filter to provide a seal. This O-ring wears-out and breaks relatively quickly, which is why it needs to be changed out with the filter cartridge regularly. If not replaced at the time of the oil change, the original O-ring will blow-out and break the seal upon starting the engine, then cause a leak/the engine to stall. 

So, know that a great deal is involved in an oil change and we have the expertise and quality oil to make sure you get the most out of this routine maintenance. Oil changes are like anything else: you get what you pay for; and at Paul’s Automotive, you get the best!

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