Changing the oil in a vehicle is a necessary part of maintenance that all car owners have to deal with on a regular basis. Keeping your car well oiled by following the recommended maintenance schedule is the single most important thing you can do to extend the lifespan of your car. It does this by lubricating moving parts, preventing corrosion and cooling and cleaning the engine.
Below you will find advice on how often you should change your car’s oil, a guide on how to do it yourself and a list of coupons offered by a variety of service centers.
In This Guide
- Current Coupons List
- How Often to Change it
- How to Save Money
- How to Do it Yourself
- Average Cost
- Finding the Right Service Center
Current List of Coupons as of September 10, 2013
Below you will find a list of coupons that are currently being offered by automotive care companies nationwide.
- Bankston- $27.99 Standard by Bankston (now AutoNation) (exp: 1/1/2013)
- Big O Tires – $5 Off basic or $10 off premium change, other offers vary by location (exp: 10/31/2013)
- Express Oil – $7 off Express full-service (done in under 10 minutes) (exp: 10/31/2013)
- EZ Lube- $10 off full-service change (exp: 10/31/2013)
- Firestone- $10 off standard & $20 off synthetic oil and filter change and more offers from Firestone (exp: 1/1/2013)
- Goodyear- $5 and $10 off conventional and synthetic & several auto maintenance service offers (exp: 9/30/2013)
- Grease Monkey – Various coupons, $3-$6 off regular and $10 off synthetic. Select the location nearest you to see their offers (exp: 9/30/2013)
- Jiffy Lube- $5 off Jiffy Lube Signature Service (typically costs around $25-$30) (exp: 1/1/2014)
- Meineke – $19.95 basic change, $29.95 preferred, $49.95 supreme and more (exp: 10/15/2013)
- Merchant’s Tire – $19.99 basic including battery check, brakes check, fluid top off and tire rotation with up to 6 quarts (exp: 9/30/2013)
- Midas- $19.99-$30.00 and various other offers depending on the store. Select the location nearest you to see their offers.
- Monro- $19.99 including tire pressure check and rotation (exp: 7/31/2013)
- Mr. Tire- $21.99 change, tire rotation and pressure check (exp: 9/30/2013)
- NTB- $19.99 basic including tire rotation, battery, brakes and belts check and up to 6 quarts (exp: 1/15/2013)
- Oil Can Henry’s- Save $8 to $15 ($19.99 to $24.99) on their famous 20-point full-service in addition to other specials depending on location selected
- Pennzoil – $5 and $10 off Pennzoil 14 point full-service and other deals (12/31/13)
- Pep Boys- $24.99 conventional, $5 off high mileage and $10 off synthetic changes including 5 quarts and 25 point check and other offers (exp: 7/31/13)
- Quick Change- $5 off conventional, $7 off premium and other offers featuring Valvoline
- Sears Auto Center- $21.99 (reg. $29.99) conventional or $8 off high mileage/synthetic (exp. 4/6/2013)
- Take 5 Oil- $5 off various other service discounts
- Tire Kingdom- $19.99 conventional and various other service offers (no expiry date)
- Tires Plus- $19.99 standard, $34.99 high mileage and $49.99 full synthetic blend (exp: 7/31/2013)
- Valvoline- $5 off conventional, $7 off synthetic or synthetic blend. Individual locations offer different specials (exp: 9/25/2013)
- Victory Lane – $5 off complete service at participating locations. Select the location nearest you to see their offers (no expiry date)
If you know of a coupon or discount that isn’t on this list but is currently being offered, it would be great if you let us know through the contact page so that we can add it to this list and share it with our readers!
Unfortunately, the heat of the engine causes oil to break down overtime and small bits of dirt and debris can contaminate it, causing sludge to build up which makes it much less effective. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle and how far you drive on a yearly basis, you may have to get it changed 2-5+ times every year. In addition to this, some people (families) are responsible for the maintenance of multiple vehicles. It should be now be clear why being able to save a few dollars on every change can really add up and why so many people are looking for coupons.
How Often Should Engine Oil and Filters Be Replaced?
Most vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing the oil and filter every three months or 3,000 miles. Others recommend a schedule that may be as infrequent as every six months or 6,000 miles. Improvements made in recent years to the technologies used in cars and oil have made both much more efficient, allowing newer vehicles to follow the six month/6,000 mile schedule. Cars older than 6 years or so should still follow the 3,000 mile schedule. The recommended frequency depends not only on the type of vehicle and style of driving, but also on the type of fluid and filter used. It is recommended to swap out synthetic fluid every 6,000 miles and those that are petroleum-based every 4,000 miles. Check your vehicle’s maintenance manual for more specific recommendations and any additional requirements.
How to Save Money on a Change
Here are a few ways you can reduce the cost:
- Automotive maintenance companies will offer coupons via advertisements on television, radio, and in newspapers and online (like the ones listed at the end of this article). They typically offer discounts on other maintenance services as well.
- Shop around. National retail chains (Walmart, Meineke, Midas, Sears, Jiffy Lube, etc.) are typically less expensive than independent mechanics and car dealerships. They are also more likely to offer discounts on their services.
- Using synthetic fluid – even though it is more expensive – can reduce costs overall because it lasts longer and can handle tougher conditions and higher temperatures so you can drive longer/further between changes.
- Purchase it when it is on sale and bring it to shop (call ahead and ask if you can do this).
- Changing it yourself can save you anywhere from $20 to $70. It might take a little while to learn, a bit of practice and a few extra car maintenance supplies, but if you invest now you will save a lot of money in the long run.
How to Change A Car’s Oil
Changing it is a straightforward process. The process varies slightly based on the make and model of the vehicle, but the basic steps are the same for almost all vehicles. While we cannot cover every last detail for every type of vehicle, we will outline the general process so you can to do it yourself. You’ll need the following supplies:
approved disposal container
First check your owner’s manual to find the type and amount you will need. Make sure you get the right viscosity. Take note of any special requirements defined by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Drive the car around a bit (maybe to the store to get oil) to loosen everything up and heat it up so it flows more quickly. Let the car sit for a few minutes so that it is warm (not hot) so you don’t burn yourself when you’re working. With the vehicle on a level surface, find a proper lift point and raise it up using the floor jack if you need better access (this isn’t always necessary). Support it with the safety stands, then proceed to position the drain pan beneath the drain plug & filter (or the drain plug first if they are far apart). Loosen and remove it using the appropriate wrench. Take the filler cap off to let it run out more quickly and remind you to put more in before starting your car. Clean and inspect the drain plug to see if it needs a replacement washer. Once all of it has drained from the drain pan, re-install it. Tighten it to the proper torque specifications, located in your car’s maintenance manual. Then, find and slowly loosen the filter. It will drain from the filter for a short period of time. Once the flow has diminished, continue to loosen it until it is able to be carefully removed from its housing. Check to make sure that the housing does not have a rubber gasket or O-ring left behind from the old filter. Dip your finger into either the used or the new oil, and lubricate the gasket on the new one, then proceed to screw the filter into the housing, following the instructions provided on the packaging.
Now, remove the drain pan from beneath the vehicle. Raise it enough to safely remove the jack stands, then slowly lower it until you can move the jack into a safe location. Locate the oil cap on the top of the engine. Remove the cap, insert the funnel, and dispense the required amount into the engine. Once completed, replace the cap. Use the dip stick to check the level. If the level appears in the marked safe zone on the dip stick, replace the dip stick, enter the vehicle, start the car, wait 30 seconds and turn it off. Wait one to two minutes after turning it off and check the level again. If it is near the top of the marked safe zone, your work is complete. If the level is near the bottom of the safe zone, add one half quart, then check again. Be sure that you do not over fill it. Finally, locate a facility that accepts used fluid and discard it there.
Average Prices and Factors That Affect It
The average cost to change a vehicle’s engine oil and filter is around $20-$40. Other than the oil itself, this price includes the labor, shop supplies used, filter, gaskets/o-rings/seals and usually the cost of disposing of the used fluid as well. The cost primarily depends on whether the work is done by an independent mechanic, a car dealership or a retail chain that specializes in changes. Another factor is whether the engine needs synthetic or regular, and what type of filter is needed. A change using synthetic oil usually costs around $40-$70. Depending on how many quarts you need (it costs about $5-$10 per quart), doing the work yourself will only cost you $10-$20.
Tire rotation and balancing are recommended by some manufacturers to be done at a similar time interval to oil changes. While these procedures are not nearly as important, they improve the ride quality and extend the life of tires, shocks and bearings. Balancing is typically around $12 per tire and should include tire rotation. Tire rotation alone is $20-$30.
Finding the Right Service Center and What to Watch For
Finding the right service center for your vehicle is a simple task, but there are things to watch out for. First, it is always convenient to have a vehicle serviced close to home so it can be retrieved easily once service is complete. Watch out for and avoid companies that have a bad reputation due to careless employees or poor customer service. Ask your friends or family to refer you to a good shop or look for reviews online. To be on the safe side, it is always wise to choose a national chain that offers warranties for their work on your vehicle.
A “free inspection” is sometimes provided as part of a change to check for other problems your car might have, but be careful as this is sometimes a way for shops to convince you that your car requires additional work and that you should pay them to fix a problem, or two, or three. While low-cost chains might be great for swapping out old oil, it is usually a good idea to leave the more complex repairs to a mechanic you know and trust.