I am well aware of the value of convenience. This article will set out to compare, properly, the 15 minute quick lube with a quality oil change from Art's Automotive.
Here's how I see the benefit of Jiffy Lube: they will accommodate your schedule because they allow all-hours drop in oil changes and you may not need to get out of the car. These days, they are not even that cheap. I see most Jiffy Lube places charge $30-35 for their "not pure trash" line of oil and filter. How valuable is your time? Only you can answer that question.
I can help illuminate what is missing from a Jiffy Lube oil change:
1. A mechanic. You won't find a seasoned mechanic at Jiffy Lube, kind of like you won't find a seasoned chef at Mcdonald's. And the way the Big Box chains are run, it's all about the numbers, so unfortunately you can never know if the 'Up-Sell' is a valid recommendation, or simply make-work.
2. Parts designed for your car. Ever wonder how your Honda can go to the same place that a Dodge Super Duty Turbo Diesel can go to? It's because they don't care about what filter goes on your car, or the oil that is specified for the vehicle. As long as their computer says GenericFilter14 fits your Honda, they'll slap that puppy on there. Never mind it also "fits" 400 other vehicles, but fails to meet Honda's factory specifications.
3. Drain plug washers and proper torque. Jiffy Lube techs will often fail to have the specialty Subaru or Nissan crush washers (they only fit that type of car). Therefore, they'll install a generic one (see the trend?) or fail to install one at all. As a result, they GORILLA-ARM the drain plug tight to keep it sealed. This will often destroy the oil pan threads or fail to properly seal. In an effort to reduce the rampant litigation against incompetence and gross negligence, you may notice how they slather yellow paint on the drain plug. This is not a specialty sealant, but rather an obnoxious technique aimed at "proving" the drain plug was installed professionally! Yikes.
4. Anything else your car may truly need. Jiffy lube is equipped to sell you services but not necessarily those you need. They rely on the "wow, take a look at how dirty this appears" to convince you to make decisions about your vehicle you may not be prepared to make. Furthermore, they are forced to remove the air filter on every vehicle for the up-sell. As a result, they break things or fail to install it properly when putting it back together.
5. Quality fluids. Your car has a specialty fluid for every major system: transmission, engine oil, clutch, brake, power steering, differential, coolant, etc. Jiffy Lube has Coolant-brand Coolant, and Transmission-fluid-brand Transmission fluid. Again, this generic outlook is to make sure they don't lose a sale on WHATEVER comes through the door. There is a reason why we stock every brand's specialty fluid: it's because Honda and Toyota engineers, for example, know better than Jiffy Lube corporate white collars.
Did you know we can schedule oil changes while-you-wait? Ask for one the next time you need. They are popular, so know your schedule in advance. You can be in at 8:30am, and out by 9:15am with a quality, professional oil change.