We all have probably used a Quick Lube Shop at some point, they are fast and convenient after all. We have all also heard horror stories about some of these places and the consequences of having your car serviced there. Today we will go over some of the pros and cons of visiting a Quick Lube, what services you should have done there and which services to avoid.
First up, the Pros.
– Fast and Convenient:: There is no doubt that these places can get you in and out in a fraction of the time a full service shop can, in many cases you don’t even have to get out of your car. In addition their locations are plentiful and easy to find.
– Pricing: This is both a Pro and a Con, I’ll cover the Pro part here though. Pricing at these places is very very good when it comes to things such as having headlights or other small bulbs replaced and minor things like air filters and cabin air filters(the filter that works for your heat and AC inside the car, not every car has one).
– State Inspections: More and more of these places are licensed to do state inspections now. This can be a great thing. Most full service shops don’t like to take in that many state inspections, they generally don’t make much money off of these and it takes up a techs valuable time he could spend on higher paying job. If you have ever had to scramble to find a place to get your car inspected before your plates expire you can see why having the Quick Lube as an option is nice.
Next, the Cons.
– Up selling: If you have ever been to one you know how aggressive some of these places can be when it comes to selling you additional services. These shops are are trying to maintain an average ticket price of around $100 depending on the shop. There is no way around this, it’s going to happen every time you go there. Your best recourse is to stay educated as to what is truly needed and what is unnecessary. Once they see you have some idea of what you are talking about they generally back off.
– Pricing: While some of their items are priced very well, others are going to be on the high side. There is a price to be paid for convenience. Your oil changes themselves are going to be well above what you can get at a full service shop. This can be offset by taking advantage of early bird specials or coupons. Most of their fluid services are going to be comparable in price to say a Firestone or Goodyear type of repair shop, but keep in mind in may cases you are paying the same price to have a service performed by a less experienced and knowledgeable technician.
– Experience and Knowledge: Lets be honest, it doesn’t take a great deal of automotive background to get hired onto a Jiffy Lube of Valvoline oil change shop. There isn’t anything wrong with that, everyone needs to start somewhere and have a chance to gain experience. But this is something to consider when you are thinking of letting them service major components of you vehicle, even if it just a fluid change.
OK, so, bottom line. If I just need an oil change and I’m in a hurry, or maybe I have a headlight or other small bulb burned out, or in need of a state inspection, I have no issues taking my car to a quick lube. If however I need any other major services done like a transmission flush or a coolant flush, Ill probably take the time to make an appointment at a full service shop.
*One thing to always remember at any shop. They will insist to you that “The manufacturer recommends x at this mileage” ( x being whatever service they are trying to sell you). DO NOT believe this without verifying yourself. Look at your owners manual, if it doesn’t tell you to do it, then you don’t need it. More on this in an article about what I like to call “Wallet Flushes”.