For a long time, I’d ask people, “does it matter where you go to get an oil change?” I thought it didn’t matter until, well, circumstances made me realize it did.
Anyways, I learned (the hard way) that it’s important to go to the best places whenever you want to get an oil change. I’ll answer some important questions regarding big box oil changes to prevent you from learning the hard lessons.
Big Box Oil Changes
Big box oil changes? What are those? Basically, a big box oil change is what you get when a big-box retailer decides to go into the oil change business.
Are they any good? I’d say they provide a satisfactory level of service. So, you can trust them to do a great job changing the oil in your car.
Does Walmart do Oil Changes?
Speaking of big box stores going into the oil-changing game, Walmart is at the forefront of it all. So, yes, Walmart also does oil changes. Oil changing is good business, the kind Walmart wouldn’t want to miss.
However, there’s a catch; not all Walmarts do RV oil changes. Nonetheless, they have dedicated Lube and Tire shops attached to the side of most of their outlets.
Is an Oil Change from Walmart Good?
Popular opinion shows that Walmart oil changes are an excellent value. In my opinion, Walmart Lube and Tire shop is one of the best places to get an oil change. Although they use Lube techs and not mechanics, it doesn’t affect their reviews.
They have well over 2500 auto care centers all around the US, and you can barely find any complaint regarding their services.
What Type of Oil & Filter Does Walmart Use?
Walmart Oil changes use Quaker State Oil generally. The Quaker State Oil is a part of the SOPUS Shell Lubricants line located just outside of Texas.
SHELL products are the owners of SOPUS. And for those who care to know, SHELL products is a US subsidiary of Royal Dutch Oil.
However, the type of filter Walmart uses depends on your vehicle’s year/make/ model. But they usually go for any Fram, Supertech, or Delco Filter oil.
Can you get Mobil 1 Synthetic Oil at Walmart’s Service Center?
I like Mobil 1. You’ll hear me mention it frequently.
Yes, you can. As long as it’s in stock.
$52.88 at my local Walmart.
Does Costco do Oil Changes?
Costco is another big-box retailer whose name always pops up right next to Walmart. Costco was also into the oil-changing business for a while, but they stopped some time ago.
The reason for the change is speculative. However, we can blame it on the fact that their business model focuses more on providing bulk goods and not personalized services.
Regardless, Cosco still provides some automotive services such as tire and battery sales/service. You can get any of those at their warehouses. Also, they have mixed reviews regarding their tire services, so you want to check them out properly before patronizing them.
Does Sam’s Club do Oil Changes?
Sam’s Club, like Costco, doesn’t provide oil change services. However, they are involved in the car oil business in other ways as they sell motor oil. You can get a wide variety of motor oil from any of Sam’s Club’s online stores or walk-in shops. But you’ll have to do it yourself or get someone to change the oil in your car for you.
Average Prices for Oil Changes at Big Box
Generally, the price of oil change at big box stores ranges between $20 and $50. However, most times, the price also varies depending on the options the big box services provide. The popular options include the pit crew, standard oil change, High mileage, and power & performance oil change.
There are two main types of oil you need to be conversant with when changing your vehicle oil. Typically, when you get to the lube techs, they’ll ask you if you want either conventional oil or synthetic oil. In other words, the two main types of oil you need to be aware of are conventional oil and synthetic oil.
Conventional Oil Change
Conventional oil, also known as mineral oil, is a product of crude oil and is the most popular oil type. Conventional oils lubricate conventional internal combustion engines.
It works by providing lubrication for the moving parts of the engine at high temperatures. Generally, the work of a lubricant, whether conventional or synthetic, is to prevent the engine from wearing down quickly.
Synthetic Oil Change
Synthetic oil is very much different from conventional oil. While conventional oil is derived from crude oil, synthetic oil is made by mixing specific chemicals. Manufacturers combine useful chemicals with contaminants to create synthetic oil.
By nature and composition, synthetic oil is better than conventional oil. Conventional oil provides adequate performance. But, synthetic oil lasts longer. However, synthetic oil is costlier than conventional oil.
Is there a Reason You Shouldn’t Get Your Oil Changed at a Big Box Location?
There’s no particular reason you shouldn’t change your oil at a big box store. A big box store (Walmart) is one of the best places to get an oil change.
However, you should always consider your options carefully and choose the best location that works for you. Because it’s a big box location, it doesn’t mean you have to go there; other centers can also offer satisfactory service.
Quick Lube / Local Service Centers
Speaking of other centers, it’s not a bad idea to check out some local service centers. You may find one of them to be the best place for you to get an oil change.
Quick lube stations are convenient and don’t always cost a lot. Plus, they work fast to get your vehicle back on the road in no time. Some of the popular local service centers include:
- Jiffy Lube
- Grease Monkey
- Valvoline Oil Change
- And other quick lube chains
However, there’s a little bit of downside to visiting quick-stop oil changes. They have higher turnover rates and don’t always get the best reviews. Most times, they cannot employ experienced technicians. So they suffer in terms of experience and technicalities. Also, since they specialize in quick service, they sometimes sacrifice quality service for speed.
For example, they’re susceptible to common problems such as oil filters getting stuck and grease fittings going bad. They can mistakenly escalate these common problems into big problems as they rush to complete the job quickly. So, in my opinion, these locations are best when you’re in a pinch, or you’re certain of the quality of their service.
Local Mechanic Shops
Auto repair shops are also some of the best places to get an oil change. This is because they usually hire certified technicians or at least people with relevant experience. Since private individuals own them, they’re often trustworthy businesses.
How Much Does Each Option Cost?
Interestingly, quick lube centers typically charge more than big box stores. Their service prices generally range between $40 and $100. Local mechanics prices often range between $35 and $65
Pros & Cons of a Big Box Oil Change vs. Quick Lube/Service Center
|Big Box Oil Change
|Big box stores often offer better quality services Big box stores also charge cheaper rates in comparison to quick lube service centers
|Big box stores often offer limited services. They are limited on the type of oil offered.
|Quick Lube/Service Centre
|They have low-skilled labor, which equals cheaper services They tend to use universal or generic oil grades
|Generic oil isn’t recommended for certain vehicles Low-quality oil filters Less guarantee of service quality
Pros & Cons of Using a Dealership
Here’s what you need to know:
- Dealerships are well known to provide better services as they have more qualified technicians. Also, the technicians at the dealership are more familiar with your car, so they’ll be able to work on it better. Therefore you can trust them to do a good job.
- Most dealerships also give customers a courtesy car while they work on the customer’s car. They usually do this for customers who are in a pinch and need to get somewhere else fast. So, you may get a courtesy car to wherever you need to go while your car is getting an oil change.
- Getting an oil change from a dealership is going to cost a significant amount of money.
Are There Any Cars That Require Oil Changes at the Dealership Only?
High-end luxurious or limited edition vehicles may require oil changes at the dealership only. Nonetheless, oil changes at dealerships are a good idea as you’ll have technicians who are very familiar with your car attend to you.
Where Is the Cheapest Place to Change Your Oil?
There’s no exact answer to that question. However, many big box stores offer discounted services. Plus, their services are generally good value for money. I’m not discrediting quick lube and local oil change shops. It’s best to get an estimate from all the oil change locations near you to know the cheapest one for you.
Is it Cheaper to Get an Oil Change From the Dealership?
No, getting an oil change at a dealership can be quite expensive. However, dealership locations are the best places to get an oil change. You’ll also get perks such as a free car wash and some vehicle diagnostics. In addition, dealership technicians will often be able to tell if something is wrong with the vehicle.