How Much Does an Oil Change Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

Being consistent with regularly scheduled maintenance, such as tune-ups and oil changes, is a great way to extend the life of your vehicle.  The cost and slight inconvenience of an oil change is a very small price to pay compared to the car trouble you could have if you neglect this service.

step 5 by ** RCB **, on Flickr
step 5” (CC BY 2.0) by  ** RCB **

How much does an oil change cost?

The cost of oil change can vary from $20 to as much as $80.  This range in price depends on the year, make and model of your car and which type of oil you choose.

For example, Uncle Ed’s Oil Shoppe offers a basic oil change for $40, a high-mileage oil change for $58, and a diesel oil change for $70.  This is one of the more expensive oil shops around.  Maximum or synthetic oil changes can cost $35 to $55.

Another company, such as BrakesPlus, charges $26.99 for a standard oil change.

A dealership could charge anywhere from $30 to $60 for a basic oil change.

Because most people get a basic oil change, which includes regular, not a synthetic oil, the average cost of an oil change is about $30.

Because you are supposed to get an oil change every three months or 3000 miles, whichever comes first, you should get approximately four oil changes per year.  This translates to a cost of about $120 per year.

Those who want to do it on their own will pay about $5 to $10 per quart of oil.  Depending on the amount needed, most DIY jobs will be less than $20.

Company NamesOil Change Prices
Average Car Dealership$20 to $60
Firestone$20 to $25
Jiffy Lube$30 to $40
Midas$30 to $40
Mobil$25 to $30
Pennzoil$20 to $30
Pep Boys$35 to $40
Sears$26 to $30
Shell$27 to $35
Quick Lube$20 to $25
Valvoline$30 to $45
Walmart$18 to $25

* The price estimates above are for a basic oil change only.  If you want to have a premium, synthetic or diesel oil change, the prices can be 20 to 50 percent higher on average.

Oil change overview

The final cost will include the oil, labor, shop fees, oil filter, additional parts and disposing of the older oil.

Shops will commonly offer three oil options:  conventional, high mileage and synthetic.  Conventional oil offers protection against deposit buildup and wear protection, while a high mileage oil is designed for cars that have more than 75,000 miles.  This type of oil addresses the needs of these high-mileage engines.  Synthetic oil can help prolong your engine’s life and helps it perform better at all temperatures.

Most oil changes include up to 6 quarts of oil and a new basic oil filter.

Most garages also check tire pressure and add air if needed.

Some mechanics also check the other fluids in your car to let you know if there are any other services you need.

Some shops may also perform a complimentary auto inspection.  This will include checking the following: fluid levels, filters, car’s battery, wiper blades, steering system and lighting systems.

Most changes will take less than 30 minutes.

What are the extra costs?

If your car needs a more complex filter than the basic one, which many foreign and new cars do, the filter will cost between $5 and $20 more.

If you need more than the allotted 6 quarts of oil, you will be charged $3-$10 per extra quart, depending on the type of oil you have chosen.

Additional repairs may be done if the mechanic spots other issues.  This could include the patching of tires, tire balancing, radiator flush and more.  For example, some may recommend a tire rotation, which can be an additional $15 to $35.

Tips to know:

An oil change is recommended every 3,000 miles, but some newer cars recommend this service every 7,000.

Always look for a coupon because they are out there.  Even if you don’t find one for the company that you’re heading to, ask if they will accept competitor coupons.  Companies, such as Valvoline, commonly have $5 off their services.

Common fixes that a mechanic will bring up to you include an oil filter, air filter, transmission flush and engine coolant flush.  While these things need to be changed often, be sure to know when they should be changed.

Get the price up front.  Oil change companies commonly can scam people with their tricky pricing.  It doesn’t hurt to ask what the fixed price is going to be before they start their work.  Also, ask them what’s going to be included with the oil change.  Some companies set themselves above the rest by doing additional things such as window washing and more.

How can I save money?

Most oil shops offer coupons and savings in the paper or through their websites.  Many oil change companies may also give coupons if you sign up for their e-mail newsletter.  Since an oil change has wide profit margins, many dealerships are willing to do anything to get you through the door.

Many garages have a loyal customer program, such as a free oil change after ten oil changes.

Some mechanics will tell you many other things that you need to have done to your car and try to sell you other services while you are getting your oil changed.  Make sure these are legitimate needs before paying for them.

Consider changing the oil yourself.  The job isn’t the hardest thing to do but may require a few hours of your time.  Visit various resources on the web that show you how to change your oil.

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