Yes, we do change oil
Art’s Automotive is a full service shop. We’re mostly known for out ability to tackle tough projects, but we won’t shy away from a simple oil change just because it’s not very profitable. Small jobs like oil changes, 5K and 7500 mile services, and other minor services make up the bulk of the service a car will need during its lifetime. We think it’s important to keep in contact with our customers and with their cars, and performing these periodic minor services is a good way for us to stay in touch.
We don’t change the way we do things just to keep our prices in-line with the x-lube shops. We only install top quality oils and fluids. For motor oil we use Castrol, Eneos, or Redline oil. None of these are cheap and it’s impossible to put much of a markup on these brands and remain competitive, so we keep the margins as slim as we can.
So we must make our money on the filters, right? Nope, not really. We use only genuine filters. The oil filter we install will come from the Toyota, Honda, Subaru, or Mazda dealership parts department. We don’t mark these parts up beyond dealer list price, so we’ll only make 20% -25% profit on them. If we need to top up any fluids during the oil change, those will be genuine too. Everything we put on your car, right down to the drain plug washer, is the same as was installed when the car was new.
We don’t just use better parts, we use better people. No disrespect to any other shops, but we have a great crew. Our mechanics have a LOT of experience with Japanese vehicles. As you might imagine, talented technicians aren’t cheap either. Some talent-heavy shops in our position simply refuse to do oil changes and small services because it sucks profit from the business.
5K services are our loss leader
We feel like it’s something akin to advertising: it doesn’t make money, but it pays off in other ways, like maintaining our relationship with our customers and managing public perception of our pricing. This philosophy may be part of the reason Art’s Automotive doesn’t advertise, except for an occasional sponsorship for a sports team or theater group, yet we’re always busy.
Come in for an oil change, leave with your oil changed
We had a first-time customer come in one day. He was a very funny guy. As he was introducing himself he said, “I’ve been taking my car to [redacted] Toyota, “Where every service is a major service!”” By this he meant that he could never get just get a 5K service done. Every time he took the car in, there was a list of things that “needed” to be done. The final straw was a recommendation for struts that had already been replaced on a previous visit.
We’re not looking at your oil change appointment as an opportunity for a fishing expedition. Of course we’ll let you know if we see any problems, but we’re not looking to fill our day with your car and we’re not looking to recommend a bunch of profitable “preventive maintenance” of spurious value.
It’s probably important to mention here that a 5K service doesn’t include a full inspection. Your car cannot live on a diet of oil changes alone, at least not for long. It should get a real inspection every 3rd oil change. Free inspections offered at many shops are usually worth what you’re paying. If you’d like a better explanation, click here.
As far as repair recommendations, we only recommend fixing problems that will affect your vehicles performance, safety, environmental impact, or longevity. If there is a “problem” with your car and its repair will provide little benefit to you, we’ll let you know about it, but we’ll also let you know you don’t really need to fix it.
We think we provide a good value. Low cost basic maintenance with high quality parts and seasoned mechanics. We’re willing to do the service you asked for without trying to sell you additional work. The only down side is that you’ll need to leave your car with us for the day.
If you live in Berkeley, Oakland, or Emeryville and think this sounds good, call us to set up an appointment.
Call to set up an appointment: 510-540-7093