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 the Oil
- How to Save Money
- How to Change a Car’s Oil
- Average Oil Change Cost
- Finding the Right Service Center
Current Oil Change Coupons List as of September 10, 2013
Below you will find a list of coupons that are currently being offered by automotive care companies nationwide.
- Bankston Coupons- $27.99 Standard Oil Change by Bankston (now AutoNation) (exp: 9/30/2013)
- Big O Tires Coupons – $5 Off basic or $10 off premium change, other offers vary by location (exp: 10/31/2013)
- Express Oil Coupons – $7 off Express full-service oil change (done in under 10 minutes) (exp: 10/31/2013)
- EZ Lube Coupons- $10 off full-service change (exp: 10/31/2013)
- Firestone Coupons- $10 off standard & $20 off synthetic oil and filter change and more offers from Firestone (exp: 9/30/2013)
- Goodyear Coupons- $5 and $10 off conventional and synthetic oil changes & several auto maintenance service offers (exp: 9/30/2013)
- Grease Monkey Coupons – Various coupons, $3-$6 off regular and $10 off synthetic oil changes. Select the location nearest you to see their offers (exp: 9/30/2013)
- Jiffy Lube Coupons- $5 off Jiffy Lube Signature Service oil change (typically costs around $25-$30) (exp: 1/1/2014)
- Meineke Coupons – $19.95 basic oil change, $29.95 preferred oil change, $49.95 supreme oil change and more (exp: 10/15/2013)
- Merchant’s Tire Coupons – $19.99 basic oil change including battery check, brakes check, fluid top off and tire rotation with up to 6 quarts of oil (exp: 9/30/2013)
- Midas Coupons- $19.99-$30.00 oil changes and various other offers depending on the store. Select the location nearest you to see their offers.
- Monro Coupons- $19.99 oil change including tire pressure check and rotation (exp: 7/31/2013)
- Mr. Tire Coupons- $21.99 oil & filter change, tire rotation and pressure check (exp: 9/30/2013)
- NTB Coupons- $19.99 basic oil change including tire rotation, battery, brakes and belts check and up to 6 quarts of oil (exp: 9/30/2013)
- Oil Can Henry’s Coupons- Save $8 to $15 ($19.99 to $24.99) on their famous 20-point full-service oil change in addition to other specials depending on location selected
- Pennzoil Coupons – $5 and $10 off Pennzoil 14 point full-service change and other deals (12/31/13)
- Pep Boys Coupons- $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 Coupons- $5 off conventional, $7 off premium and other offers featuring Valvoline
- Sears Auto Center Coupons- $21.99 (reg. $29.99) conventional or $8 off a high mileage/synthetic change (exp. 4/6/2013)
- Take 5 Oil Coupons- $5 off various other service discounts
- Tire Kingdom Coupons- $19.99 conventional oil change and various other service offers (no expiry date)
- Tires Plus Coupons- $19.99 standard, $34.99 high mileage and $49.99 full synthetic blend (exp: 7/31/2013)
- Valvoline Coupons- $5 off conventional, $7 off synthetic or synthetic blend. Individual locations offer different specials (exp: 9/25/2013)
- Victory Lane Coupons – $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 that make their way into the engine contaminate the oil, causing sludge to build up which makes the oil 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 the oil 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 oil change can really add up and why so many people are looking for oil change coupons.
How Often Should Engine Oil and Oil 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 oil change frequency depends not only on the type of vehicle and style of driving, but also on the type of oil and oil filter used. It is recommended to change synthetic oil every 6,000 miles and regular petroleum-based oils every 4,000 miles. Check your vehicle’s maintenance manual for more specific recommendations and any additional requirements.
How to Save Money on an Oil Change
Here are a few ways you can save money on an oil change:
- Automotive maintenance companies will offer coupons for oil changes 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 oil – 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 oil when it is on sale and bring it to shop for the oil change (call ahead and ask if you can do this).
- Changing the oil 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 a car’s oil 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:
oil drain pan
oil filter wrench
approved used engine oil disposal container
First check your owner’s manual to find the type and amount of oil you 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 the oil 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 the vehicle up using the floor jack if you need better access (this isn’t always necessary). Support the vehicle with the safety stands, then proceed to position the oil drain pan beneath the drain plug & filter (or the drain plug first if they are far apart). Loosen and remove the drain plug using the appropriate wrench. Take the oil filler cap off to let the oil run out more quickly and remind you to put more oil in before starting the engine. Clean and inspect the drain plug to see if it needs a replacement washer. Once all of the oil has drained from the drain pan, re-install the drain plug. Tighten the drain plug to the proper torque specifications, located in the vehicle’s maintenance manual. Then, find and slowly loosen the oil filter. Oil will drain from the filter for a short period of time. Once the flow of oil has diminished, continue to loosen the oil filter until it is able to be carefully removed from its housing. Check to make sure that the oil filter’s housing does not have a rubber gasket or O-ring left behind from the old oil filter. Dip your finger into either the used oil or the new oil, and lubricate the gasket on the new oil filter, then proceed to screw the filter into the housing, following the instructions provided with the oil filter.
Now, remove the oil drain pan from beneath the vehicle. Raise the vehicle enough to safely remove the jack stands, then slowly lower the vehicle until you can move the jack into a safe location. Locate the oil cap on the top of the engine. Remove the oil cap, insert the funnel, and dispense the required amount of oil into the engine. Once completed, replace the oil cap. Use the dip stick to check the engine oil level. If the level appears in the marked safe zone on the dip stick, replace the dip stick, enter the vehicle, start the engine, wait 30 seconds and turn the vehicle off. Wait one to two minutes after turning the engine off and check the oil level again. If the oil level is near the top of the marked safe zone, your work is complete. If the oil level is near the bottom of the safe zone, add one half quart of oil to the engine, then check again. Be sure that the engine is not over-filled with oil. Finally, locate a facility that accepts used engine oil and discard the oil there.
Average Oil Change Costs and Factors That Affect It
The average cost to change a vehicle’s engine oil and oil filter is around $20-$40. Other than the oil itself, this price includes the labor, shop supplies used, oil filter, gaskets/o-rings/seals and usually the cost of disposing of the used oil 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 oil changes. Another factor is whether the engine needs synthetic or regular oil, and what type of oil filter is needed. A change using synthetic oil usually costs around $40-$70. Depending on how many quarts of oil you need (oil 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 an oil 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 oil changes, it is usually a good idea to leave the more complex repairs to a mechanic you know and trust.