What’s Wrong with Quick Lube Shops?

We are 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 we see the benefit of quick lube places: 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 quick lube places charge $38 – $80 for an oil change with an aftermarket filter. How valuable is your time? Only you can answer that question.

Here’s what’s missing from a quick lube oil change:

1. A mechanic. You won’t find a seasoned mechanic at quick lube shop, 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 an employee trying to cash-in on sales incentives to bolster his abysmal pay package.

2. Oil filter designed for your car. Ever wonder how your Subaru can go to the same place that a Dodge Super Duty Turbo Diesel can go to? It could be because that this shop uses “universal” oil filters that cover multiple models and manufacturers. This way they can stock fewer part numbers and still have a filter for almost anything that rolls in the door. Since we specialize in certain vehicles, we stock the factory brand filter designed by Subaru for your Subaru. Plus, in the real world, we see many aftermarket oil filters that develop leaks. For such an important component, we do not believe in cutting corners that might help our bottom line at the expense of your vehicle’s long-term operation.

3. Drain plug washers and proper torque. Quick lube shops usually don’t have the specialty drain plug crush-washers for Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai, and Mazda (each model has a washer designed specifically for its oil pan). Therefore, they’ll install a generic one (see the trend?) or fail to install a new drain plug washer at all. If a drain plug washer is reused, it’s likely to leak, so techs will GORILLA-ARM the drain plug tight to keep it sealed. This will often destroy the oil pan threads or warp the pan’s sealing surface.

4. Anything else your car may truly need. Quick lube shops are equipped to sell you services other than oil changes, but not necessarily those you need, and not necessarily competently. Keeping an older car humming along often requires prioritizing service and repairs. A shop isn’t likely to recommend services they don’t offer, so they recommend service based on their capabilities rather than the priority of the repair. Art’s Automotive is a full service shop with factory scanners and equipment for every make we work on. Our mechanics are not paid any type of incentive to find work to sell and we always have plenty of work. Our recommendations are base on your car’s needs, not ours.

5. Quality fluids. We stock genuine oils and fluids which we buy directly from dealerships. Using the wrong fluids can cause damage and void your warranty. If your late model car’s turbo-charged engine or CVT fails, you will likely need to provide proof of maintenance before any warranty repairs are performed. Are you willing to bet thousands of dollars that your Jiffy Lube receipt with generic multi-vehicle fluid will maintain your warranty? Even if your car is out of warranty, you’re changing fluids to maintain the car, not to break it. Keeping up-to-date with fluid requirements is not as easy as it might sound. It’s not uncommon for a fluid requirement to change after the car has been sold and the owner’s manual has been printed. We monitor the OEM websites and read TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) to keep up with the latest requirements for your vehicle.

6. Resetting maintenance reminder systems. Sure, you can check your owner’s manual and reset the maintenance reminder yourself, but it’s nicer when it’s off after the service. When you bring your car to Art’s Automotive, we’ll reset the maintenance reminder for you. Also, we have the Honda HDS scanner, so we’re able to reset all maintenance items on Honda vehicles with the Maintenance Minder system, even if they are done ahead of schedule. We can also check the maintenance Minder codes and let you know if more than an oil change is required.

Bringing your car to Art’s for oil changes

We know that it takes more effort to bring your car to Art’s. You’ll need to make an appointment and our schedule often fills up a week or more in advance. We’re trying to make it as painless as possible. You can drop your car off before we open using an early-bird envelope, and even pick the car up after hours as a lockout. If you have trouble dropping your car off, we can schedule a morning time while-you-wait appointment and you’ll be in and out in about 45 minutes (oil changes only).