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How Much Does an Oil Change Cost?

How Much Should Your Oil Change Cost?
Austin Kilham
Austin KilhamUpdated April 3, 2023
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Following a regular maintenance schedule helps keep your car running smoothly. This includes getting your oil changed to ensure that your engine stays in good working order. How much is an oil change? It typically costs anywhere from $35 to $125, depending on the kind of oil your vehicle needs. Here’s what you need to know about getting an oil change and the oil change cost.

Picking the Right Oil for Your Vehicle

There are different types of motor oil on the market, including conventional and synthetic. To figure out what your car needs, consult your owner’s manual. It will tell you whether to use conventional or synthetic oil, and it should also list the recommended oil weight, which is the thickness of the oil. The type of oil your car needs will affect the price you’ll pay for an oil change.  

What Is Synthetic Oil? Do I Need It? 

Synthetic oil is a motor lubricant made with chemical substances and crude oil. In general, synthetic oil provides more protection to a car’s engine, reducing wear and tear, and also helps it perform better than conventional oil does. Synthetic oil tends to be more expensive than conventional oil, so the synthetic oil change price may be more. However, if it helps extend the life of your car, and your engine, it may pay for itself.Follow the recommendation in your owner’s manual about the type of oil to use for your car. Recommended: How to Save Money on a Car: 13 Tips

What Is Included in a Standard Oil Change?

When you get your oil changed, a mechanic will drain the old oil from the vehicle and replace it with the new oil. They will also change the oil filter. This is usually part of the oil change cost.Some mechanics may offer other services at the same time. For example, they might check the oil gasket and brake pads to make sure they're in working order, top off other fluids, such as the windshield washer fluid, and check tire pressure. You may have to pay extra for these things, so be sure to find out beforehand what’s included and what’s not. Recommended: 12 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

How Much Is an Oil Change?

At this point, you’re probably wondering, how much does an oil change cost? An oil and filter change using conventional oil usually costs between $35 and $75, depending on where you live and the mechanic you use. Synthetic oil is more expensive, so you can expect to pay $65 to $125 for a synthetic oil change price. The good news is that synthetic oil tends to last longer, which means fewer changes over the life of your vehicle. 

Additional Costs to Be Aware of

A garage could use an oil change cost as an opportunity to try to upsell you on other services like replacing an air filter, doing a coolant flush, rotating the tires, or replacing the wiper blades. Some of these services can add quite a bit to your bill. For instance, a coolant flush may cost between $100 and $150.Check your owner’s manual to find out how often these maintenance tasks typically need to be done. That may help you determine if the service is genuinely necessary. If you do need to have these services done right away, and you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for them, you might want to consider small personal loans as a way to help pay for them. You can shop for top personal loans with different lenders to find the best rates and terms for you. Recommended: Options for Getting a $2,000 Personal Loan

How Often Do I Need an Oil Change?

You may have heard that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles or every three months. That old rule of thumb no longer applies because automotive technology is more advanced today. Many manufacturers now recommend that you get an oil change every 7,500 to 10,000 miles, or every six to 12 months. It’s important to note that oil becomes less effective as it ages. So even if you don’t drive your car that much, you still need to keep the oil fresh. Follow the recommendation in your owner’s manual In addition, it might be useful to get into the habit of checking your oil level once a month or so. Your car may have an electric oil monitor, as many new cars do, which makes it easier. And check the color of the oil. It should be brown or black. If the oil has a milky appearance, coolant might be leaking into it. If there are particles floating in the oil, there may be some kind of engine damage. In these instances, take the car to a mechanic.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Change Your Oil? 

Changing your oil is important for the proper operation of your vehicle. If you don’t change the oil, the engine will likely start to run hotter and less efficiently. Eventually the engine parts will begin to wear out. Neglect an oil change for too long, and your engine could stop working entirely, which means you would need to replace it. How much does an engine replacement cost? It’s very expensive. Typically, replacing an engine starts at about $4,000 and could be as much as $10,000. Keeping up to date on oil changes may help you avoid that kind of expense.  Recommended: Drivers Confess: What They Really Do Behind the Wheel

Can You Change Your Own Oil and Does It Save Money?

You can learn to change your own oil and save money in the process. In fact, you could save between $25 and $75 per oil change on average, depending on the oil you use. However, you’ll have to learn how to do the job properly. You’ll also need to dispose of the used oil correctly by bringing it to a certified motor oil collection center in your area. Weigh whether the potential savings are worth the extra time and legwork needed to carry out these tasks.Recommended: What Are the Pros and Cons of Personal Loans?

The Takeaway

Regular oil changes are a relatively low cost way to keep your car in good working order and potentially prevent expensive repairs down the road. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual about how often to get the oil changed and the type of oil to use.If your car does need additional repairs, a personal loan is one way to cover the cost. Lantern can help you explore personal loan options to find the right one for your needs. In our online marketplace, you’ll get offers from multiple lenders all at once, making it quick and convenient to compare rates and terms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to exit my car during an oil change?
How long does an oil change take?
Do I need a reservation for an oil change?
Do electric cars require an oil change?
Can I add oil to my car until I get an oil change?
Will my car tell me when I need an oil change?
Photo credit: iStock/Petr Smagin

About the Author

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham is a writer and journalist based in Los Angeles. He focuses on personal finance, retirement, business, and health care with an eye toward helping others understand complex topics.
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