How Much Does an Oil Change Cost?

Having your oil changed regularly is an important preventative maintenance step to keep your vehicle operating at peak capacity. Some car owners elect to change their own oil, but this should not be done unless you have the technical knowledge to do it properly. It's also a huge mess and a hassle to deal with, so instead many drivers seek professional oil change services. The cost of these services can vary based on a few factors, but this article should give you a solid idea of what to expect when you go in for an oil change.

Average cost of oil

The average cost of oil varies based on whether you need conventional or synthetic oil, with the latter being more expensive. For a five-quart bottle of conventional oil, you can expect to pay around $28 per bottle. If you're buying synthetic, you will spend a bit more- around $45 for a five-quart bottle on average.

Average cost of oil change services

If you are driving a car that takes conventional oil, you can expect to spend between $35 and $75 for a professional oil change. If you're using synthetic oil, expect to pay $65 to $125 for a change, though this number can be higher for luxury vehicles. This price includes the oil and the service and can be more expensive if you also need a filter change.

How long does an oil change take?

On average, oil changes are a quick procedure. Most dealerships and mechanic shops can change the oil in your car in 20-45 minutes. However, this may be longer if there are multiple vehicles ahead of you or the shop is short staffed. Most mechanics and dealerships will have an area where you can sit and wait for your oil change to be finished, and it's rare that it takes longer than an hour to finish. Take a book or a laptop to keep you entertained while you wait, and it'll be finished before you know it.

Is it cheaper to do an oil change yourself?

On average, it is cheaper to do the oil change yourself but only marginally so. You will likely only save around $20 if you do it yourself. However, this is not recommended if you don't know what you are doing. While it can be a great way to get started with self-maintenance, it should only be attempted with the proper knowledge. If you make a mistake while changing your own oil, such as not securing a bolt tightly enough, it could cause oil to leak and create the need for a much more costly repair in the future.

Why do oil changes cost so much?

If you drive a luxury vehicle, or one that requires fully synthetic oil, you might be shocked that an oil change can run you over $150. The reason oil changes can be so pricey is primarily driven by the cost of the oil itself. More expensive oil, such as fully synthetic, costs the shop more to purchase. Therefore, they must charge a higher price to offset that cost. You also must factor in the price of labor at the shop. For most mechanics, the cost of labor is around $80-$100 an hour. Because oil changes are very quick, the labor cost incurred is rarely longer than a full hour. However, the shop still must pay their employees for the time spent working.

How long can a car last without an oil change?

The standard metric used for cars that run on conventional oil is 5,000 to 7,500 miles. For cars that use synthetic oil, they can go longer between changes, typically 10,000 to 15,000 miles. Every car is different, so make sure to consult your driver's manual to find out exactly how often you should be changing your oil. It is possible to change your oil too frequently, and it's also possible to go too long between oil changes and put your car at risk.

Why is it important to keep up with oil changes?

Changing your oil regularly is essential to maintaining proper and optimal vehicle function. Keeping the oil changes on schedule will give your engine the proper lubrication it needs to run properly. Also, having your oil changed clears out any debris that has accumulated, which over time will wear down and weaken your engine. If you don't keep current on your oil changes, you run the risk of improper lubrication contributing to a vehicle that overheats, which spells serious problems for your engine.

Can I add oil to my car without a full oil change?

Technically, you can add oil to the car without getting it changed. However, this is not recommended for several reasons. If the oil currently in the car is old and full of debris, adding more oil will not address the issue. Leaving the old oil in can cause it to become thicker over time and will not allow for proper lubrication. It's best to empty the oil completely and replace it rather than top it off.

Now that you know how much an oil change costs, you should be better prepared when it's time for a service. Remember, while you might save a little money doing it yourself, you can also do a lot of damage to your vehicle if you don't know how to do it properly. The price of an oil change is certainly worth keeping your vehicle in proper order and running its best.