How Much Does an Oil Change Cost?
The cost of an oil change can vary widely, depending on the kind of car you drive, the type of oil that’s used, where you have your oil change performed and where you’re located. Still, if you want a better idea of what to expect before you head to the mechanic, we’ve pulled together some figures for your review.
How much is an oil change?
While the amount you pay for an oil change can vary, the average cost of an oil change can range from $35 to $125, depending on a number of factors, including:
Conventional oil vs. synthetic oil
A typical oil change usually includes the cost of four or five quarts of oil, plus a new oil filter and labor costs. The biggest differentiating factor in that equation is the type and quality of oil used. Older models typically use conventional oil, but some newer brands may require synthetic oil, which can be more expensive upfront. Still, since synthetic oil tends to last longer, you may be able to make up some of the deficit over time.
If you’re unsure what type of oil your car requires, you can always check your owner’s manual for more information, including how often your oil should be changed. While it may be tempting to cut corners and use a cheaper type of oil, doing so can cause engine problems and potentially result in higher auto repair costs in the end.
Lube shops vs. dealerships
In terms of where to go for your oil change, you generally have two options: You can go to your car’s dealership or choose a local lube shop chain instead.
As a rule of thumb, dealerships may make more sense if you have a specialty vehicle. The dealership where you bought the car is more likely to know the ins and outs of your car and be aware of any quirks that might come up during the oil change. A dealership may also make more sense if your car is under warranty and some routine maintenance is covered.
However, in exchange, you may give up some convenience and affordability. Depending on where your dealership is located, you may have to travel farther than you would if you went to your nearest quick lube shop.
In some cases, dealerships may also charge more to cover labor costs or because they use a specific brand of oil. It’s worth noting, though, that most dealerships do run specials on oil changes, so it’s worth checking for one before you make an appointment.
The next factor that will play a role in determining the cost of your oil change is your location. In this case, the difference is mainly tied to the cost of living. Put simply, if you live in a more expensive area, you can expect to pay more for this service.
To give you a better sense of what to expect, according to Your Mechanic, the estimated price for an oil change on a 2019 Subaru Outback in Birmingham, Ala., is $105.67. In New York City, meanwhile, the same oil change will likely cost you closer to $145.35.
The car’s year, make, and model
The type of car that you drive can also make a difference. For instance, if you drive a luxury vehicle, the manufacturer may recommend using a premium type of oil, which can add to your total bill. On the other hand, if you have a larger vehicle, it may end up requiring more than the four or five quarts of oil that come with a standard oil change.
Oil change prices at chain shops
Now that you know what factors affect the price of an oil change, it’s time to get into some specifics about pricing. Here’s a selection of prices from popular chain retailers to give you an idea of what to expect.
|Oil change retailer||Oil change service price range|
|Jiffy Lube||$49.99 - $109.99*|
|Goodyear||$41.01 - $137.31*|
|Firestone||$50.52 - $108.64*|
|Walmart||$24.88 - $54.88*|
*Since vehicle year, make, model and location all play a role in the pricing for an oil change, we used a 2019 Subaru Outback located in Philadelphia (19102) for the basis of comparison. Your pricing may vary.
Oil change prices at dealerships
Since dealerships are the other major players in oil changes, it’s also important to provide a comparison of their pricing. Here’s what you can expect to pay with some of the leading retailers.
|Dealership||Oil change service price range|
|Ford||$50 - $100*|
|Toyota||$89.95 - $109.95*|
|Mazda||$69.95 (Synthetic only)*|
|BMW||$99.99 - $179.99*|
*We used Philadelphia, PA (19102) as a location for the basis of comparison when obtaining price quotes.
Breakdown of oil change costs
If you take your vehicle to a service center for an oil change, they can charge you for a variety of items, including:
- New oil filter: Cost can vary depending on your vehicle.
- New oil: Oil can be expensive depending on the volume and the type of oil you need. There are two types of oil: synthetic and conventional. Synthetic oil tends to be more expensive by a magnitude.
- Disposal of oil and old filter: These fees can change based on the state and location where you’re getting your oil changed. Each state (and in some cases, the locality) sets its own process for proper, environmentally-safe disposal of these items.
- Labor costs: Labor costs are broken down hourly and depend largely on location. The more affluent a location, the more you can expect to pay for labor.
Any additional items and taxes
When a mechanic performs an oil change, they also check other items on your vehicle. You might need an oil gasket replaced to prevent a leak, or they may offer to change your air filter. These all come with additional costs that range widely. Be sure to go over the estimate and invoice before agreeing to any additional maintenance.
How to avoid paying more for an oil change
While getting your oil changed on a regular basis is vital to ensure the health of your vehicle, there are a few common “upsells” that some mechanics and shops may try to get you to purchase.
Mechanics and oil change shops might try to upsell you on the items below when you take your car in for an oil change. By keeping the following in mind, you can negotiate with the mechanic and find out if you really need to spend additional cash on these items.
- Cabin air filter replacement
- Engine air filter replacement
- Coolant flush
- Tire rotation
- Brake pad or rotor replacement
- Wiper blade replacement
This isn’t to say that these services aren’t necessary, nor are they not recommended — still, it’s best to consult your car’s manual and take into consideration the conditions you drive your vehicle under to get a better idea of when to perform all of these services. For example, AAA recommends that your engine air filter should be replaced every 20,000 miles if you live in the suburbs or a nonpolluted area, but it should be checked regularly.