Last updated March 4, 2020 by Chris Teague
We found oil change prices from $20 to $100. Here’s how to find a professional, cheap oil change at a service center near you.
Oil change prices we found at national service centers:
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Oil changes are among the most common maintenance items that our vehicles need on a regular basis. They can be expensive depending on both the quality and volume of the oil, but in most cases, they’re a quick stop, and stress-free to finish. You can ease some of the hassle and cost by understanding the most important points around scheduling and paying for oil changes.
Let’s take a closer look at oil changes and the best ways to make them less painful:
How Much Does An Oil Change Cost?
Expect to pay $20 to $75 for most oil changes. The saying that you get what you pay for holds true here. You can roll into a budget oil change shack and roll back out with a $20 oil change, but you should do some research. Express oil change shops are perfectly fine, but spend a few moments reading reviews before heading in.
That said, a typical oil change will range in cost from around $20 for a typical five-quart oil change with a filter, using conventional 10W30 or 10W40 oil. But an oil change can easily top $100 or more for a full-size diesel powered pickup that takes seven quarts of more specific, synthetic lubrication.
How much is a synthetic oil change?
The short answer is that synthetic oil changes cost much more than standard oil changes. Prices have certainly come down as synthetic becomes more and more a requirement from auto manufacturers, but a five-quart bottle of Mobil 1 is still going to run around $30 even if you do the job yourself. Five quarts of synthetic, a filter, lubrication, and disposal is easily going to cost $45 at a quick lube franchise.
Do I need a coupon to get a deal on an oil change?
You do not need a coupon to get a good deal on an oil change, but they certainly don’t hurt. Many dealerships will offer free or reduced-price oil changes to customers that are in the shop for other reasons and often give out oil changes as part of new vehicle promotions. Independent shops will also offer specials and discount periods around major holidays to get people out for an oil change. We’ve even got a section of this website devoted to coupons at these places: Car Talk’s Top Parts and Services Coupons
When to Change Your Oil
As you probably know, your vehicle comes from the factory with a recommended oil change interval, which means that the company’s engineers have already thought through the process and determined that oil changes need to happen regularly. Most vehicles have an oil warning light or will use the check engine light to alert owners to the fact that an oil change is needed soon. You should try to get your oil changed very soon after seeing that warning, but it’s a good idea not to wait until the light comes on if you can help it.
Depending on the kind of oil you’re using (synthetic, high-mileage, etc.), you may experience differing oil life ranges. Some vehicles come with an extended oil change interval of 10,000 miles, but most people will find a sweet spot changing their oil around 5,000 miles.
Where to Get an Oil Change
Your first choice in oil change vendors should be the guy that owns the garage up the street. Local guys need to make their boat payments, too. Plus, your local mechanic is generally your neighbor who lives in town, not some faceless corporation that pays the guy actually changing your oil as little as possible. Check in with these guys before you get lured in by any discount coupons from the big guys. Your neighborhood mechanic can often meet or beat a big retailer’s price, and also provide all your other automotive service needs, too.
That said, maybe you noticed you needed an oil change while you were at work and it’s more convenient to do it near the office. The big oil change vendors are fine in a pinch.
Wal Mart Oil Change Prices
Most Wal Mart stores are considered “super”, which means that most also have an automotive repair facility attached to the store. Like discount providers, Wal Mart heavily marks down the prices of their services to attract people to the shop. Offerings may differ from area to area, but generally, the retailer offers a few different tiers of oil changes that range from basic to the “power and performance” oil change. Costs range from around $30 to over $50, depending on the service.
Jiffy Lube Oil Change Prices
Jiffy Lube has locations in several areas, but are completely absent from entire states, like in Maine. Their pricing structure is similar to Wal Mart’s in that their basic oil changes start between $20 and $30 and range up to around $75, all of which depends on the region and oil change selected.
Valvoline Oil Change Prices
Like Jiffy Lube, Valvoline has locations in many areas across the country. Their “drive-thru oil change” is often discounted, and the company offers coupons that can be printed from its website. Oil changes also include a multi-point inspection and a top-off of other fluids. Prices start at around $40.
Take 5 Oil Change Prices
Take 5 is a lesser known oil change company that has locations in 18 states, from Wisconsin to Texas. Like Valvoline, Take 5 offers a drive through service that does not require an appointment. Another upside for Take 5’s services is that drivers don’t have to leave their vehicles to get an oil change. Pricing starts around $40.
Firestone Oil Change Prices
Firestone offers nearly any automotive service imaginable, so oil changes are well within their wheelhouse. Like Valvoline, Firestone includes a multi-point inspection in the price of their oil changes. The company uses Pennzoil products, which means they have everything from basic to high-mileage oils. Firestone doesn’t advertise their pricing directly online, but the company does offer regular discounts and printable coupons.
Midas Oil Change Prices
Midas doesn’t just offer brakes and mufflers anymore. The company has locations across the country and offers all types of oil changes. A full synthetic change will cost between $45 and $75, while a synthetic blend oil change will cost between $30 and $50.
Pep Boys Oil Change Prices
Pep Boys is a massive national chain store with locations nearly anywhere there are people. The shops offer a wide variety of automotive services, one of which is oil changes. Like some of the other companies on our list, Pep Boys offers an array of oil change packages, from basic to very expensive. Luckily, the company also offers printable coupons and online appointments to make things very convenient.
Q: How do I get the best deal on an oil change?
A: Shopping around helps, but keeping an eye on coupons and regular discounts is even better. It also helps to ask about discounts while getting other maintenance work performed. Stopping by the shop for new tires? Ask about oil change discounts. Your local newspaper is a great place to find coupons, as are the websites of the shops themselves.
Q: How often do you really need to change your oil?
A: How often you need to change your oil will depend on quite a few factors. The age and type of your vehicle play a big role in answering this question, as does the type of oil your vehicle requires. In general, you can count on needing to change your oil every 7,500 to 10,000 miles on the very high end and 3,000-5,000 on the low end.
Q: Who does oil changes?
A: Nearly any auto repair or maintenance shop does oil changes. As with anything in life, you should shop for a location that you are comfortable with and trust instead of just the cheapest price.
Q: How long do oil changes take?
A: How long an oil change takes will depend completely on where you go and how busy the shop is. An express lube shop can knock out an oil change in well under half an hour, but you may wait an hour or more at a busy dealership. If time is a concern, make an appointment and try to visit the shop at off hours, such as in the middle of the workday.
Q: Do I need regular or synthetic oil?
A: There are vehicles that require or strongly suggest the use of synthetic oil, but for everyone else, the added cost of synthetic oil may not be worth the payoff. Read your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the types of oil that are recommended.
Q: Will they try to sell me extra stuff?
A: In some cases, corporate shops like Valvoline or Wal Mart have goals to sell a certain number of products and services to their customers. Most independent shops do not but it’s still a good idea to know what you need before heading in for an oil change.
Q: How common are problems?
A: Thankfully, oil changes are among the simplest automotive “procedures” you can have done, but that doesn’t mean they are risk-free. If the technicians forget to replace the oil pan plug or don’t properly install an oil filter, leaks can occur which badly damages the engine and other components.
Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers, and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.