Just an Oil Change? Who Does That?

Just an Oil Change? Who Does That?

You have heard me say it before. I believe in doing what is good for the car, the client, and my company. So, when I am faced with the request of “can you squeeze me in for an oil change,” I will not say no. I will, however, take an opportunity to teach you why this is not good for you, me, or your car.

There are many types of oil filters on the market. Traditional spin-on, cartridge style, extended life and more. The heart of your vehicle deserves the right filter, not the cheapest.

About 2 years ago, I stopped doing oil changes and started performing oil services—at a minimum. It isn’t because I do not want to do an oil change, or I want to charge more money. It is actually far from that. Your car is not designed to just have the oil changed—especially with the change to Synthetic Blend Engine Oil, Full Synthetic Engine Oil and Detergent Engine Oil. Service intervals are changing.

Unless your car is still using Conventional Engine Oil, you are not coming in to see me every 3 months or 3,000 miles like you used to. While I miss you terribly, that is okay. The new minimum is every 5 or 6 months or every 5,000 miles—but we are going to dig a little bit deeper. Have you every opened your glove box and read your owner’s manual? The material is not exactly captivating, but it is informative—especially if you want to get the most out of the life of your car. In it, you will find what services get performed and when. These services are broken down by time, mileage, and in some cases by indicator. I mention this to you because it is the system I use to determine what service I will recommend when you come in to see me for your “Oil Change.” I have your car’s entire owner’s manual in my computer database, including Technical Service Bulletins and Safety Recalls.

The fluid samples on the left show brand new fluid. The fluid samples on the right are fluids taken from a vehicle. Test strips are used to tell if the fluid is still healthy, beyond using just sight and smell. Your owner’s manual tells you when to change these fluids. Change them before they become dirty and can no longer do their job!

Nowhere in your owner’s manual will it ever tell you to only do an Oil Change. That, my Automotive Family, is why I stopped doing them. Now, let’s talk about some of the chain stores that specialize in Quick Lubes. I have heard, both in my shop and on shop owner forums that clients can get Oil Changes done cheaper. Here is what you are actually getting: your Engine Oil Filter replaced, your Engine Oil replaced, Fluids topped off, and in some cases your carpets vacuumed and your windows cleaned. I am a mom and I love having clean carpets and windows that I can see out of (please forgive me my child, your hand drawings on my windows are great, but mommy needs to see). Those added “benefits” do not add life to your car. They do not let you know what may be needed soon so that you can prepare your budget for upcoming car expenses.

Let’s look at price versus time too while we are at it. The Oil Change shop Near Me may charge, let’s say $19.99 (with a coupon NOTED MOST CARS to get you in the door) to $55 for a quick 20 minute service. Let’s average that: $37.50. That works out to an hourly cost of $112.50.

Here is what you get from me when I perform an Oil Service (at a minimum) or a Factory Scheduled Maintenance Service: a 2-mile pre service Test Drive, Battery Test, Fluid Sample Comparison, Digital Vehicle Inspection that covers 30 or more points on your car with pictures sent to you with a full health report, the Engine Oil Filter replaced, the Engine Oil replaced, Maintenance Reminder Light reset, Tire Pressure adjusted, and a 2-mile post service Test Drive. You receive a full estimate of items that require immediate attention and items that will need attention soon so you can stay on top of the health of your car.

A link to your very own, customized vehicle health report is sent to you by text or email. You see what we see, with pictures and explanations. Red indicators let you know something needs your attention now! Yellow indicators are things you can plan for. Green indicators mean everything is great–and that is right where we want to keep you!

I take longer—about 45 minutes. I cost more. In fact, my service starts at $55 to $110 (without a coupon). Let’s average that: $82.50. That works out to an hourly cost of $110.00. It looks like I am not more expensive than the cheap guy down the road with the coupon after all—and you get more for your money that is…


I can make you these solemn promises. I will never be the least expensive shop. I will always have your best interests in mind when I custom build a maintenance package, recommend a service or a repair for your car. I want to be your partner in the life and health of your car. I want to be your Automotive Home. Come in as a new client. Leave as a new friend. Return as Automotive Family.

We want to welcome you to the family. Visit my website and reserve your oil service!

I Can Speak Fluent Car. What’s Your Super Power?

Did you know your car can talk? It isn’t necessarily a spoken language like English, Spanish, French, or Italian, but it does have a lot to say if you know how to translate what it is trying to tell you. Let me explain.

When I inspect a vehicle, I use all of my senses. Okay, not all of them–taste-testing is not recommended. I replace that one with common sense so I still use 5 of them when I evaluate a car. I put all of the information together to process not just what the car needs, but find out why does the car need it.

Why would that last part be important—“why does the car need it?” It is great to be able to determine what is wrong with the car. However, if you cannot find the underlying cause—why it went wrong in the first place; you will be replacing or repairing the same things again and again.

A few weeks ago, I had two new clients come in for inspection. Both cars had a lot of black residue on the mufflers. You have probably seen that before yourself and wondered what is the black stuff on my exhaust? Technically speaking, it is carbon build up. A little bit of it is considered normal. However, in both of these cases, the build-up was more extreme. My eyes translated this to mean a couple of things: a possible rich running condition or misfire condition. To take care of my client properly, I would want to pay close attention to how the engine performed during my test drive, if the check engine light was on, and make sure to ask when the last tune up was performed. One client had just had his tune up at his 50,000 Mile Factory Scheduled Maintenance Service. One client was due for his tune up at the 150,000 Mile Factory Scheduled Maintenance Service. By catching and correcting the excessive soot, I am helping prevent wasted gas expense and premature failure of the catalytic converter and oxygen sensors.

During a test drive, a car pulls to the right while driving down the road. First instinct would be alignment, right? Let’s see what else the car has to say. I detected a slight burning smell and felt a shimmy or vibration when braking. I also saw the right front rim was darker than the other three. On the lift, the right front wheel does not spin freely by hand either. It is a seized brake caliper. Why did I give you all of that information? My client may ask me for an alignment because his or her car is pulling to one side. What the car says may be something different. Using my sense of smell, feel, sight, and touch I could understand that the car did not need an alignment. It needed the brakes repaired.

I could tell you so many different ways your cars speak to me, all of them fascinating…at least to me. It is why I love what I do so much. Discovering and interpreting what the symptoms mean; diagnosing and pin-pointing the causes; repairing the problem and what caused the problem to begin with; taking care of my clients and their best interests…I get it. I understand cars.

This is one of my favorite work stations

If you car needs someone to talk to, I’m all ears…and eyes, nose, hands…You can click on this link to my website and request a reservation now.

I love this mug too…Yes, I can drive a stick shift. Thanks for reading along! Come see us soon.