The Downside of Taking Your Car to a Quick Lube Shop

The Downside of Taking Your Car to a Quick Lube Shop

Today, many car owners have come to believe that changing the oil of any car is a “commodity that anyone can do.” People have become focused on getting the cheapest oil change, rather than a high quality oil change “service.” There is a big difference between just draining and changing the oil and filter (which is all a customer gets at most quick lubes) versus a full oil change service.

An oil change needs to be viewed as the time to not only change the oil and filter, but to put a car on a lift and check out all the major systems. Are the belts and hoses ok, are there any oil or fluid leaks, are the brakes ok, is the suspension ok, etc. The shops that provide a full oil change service generally charge about the same or sometimes less than quick lubes, but despite costs isn’t it worth the extra money to have the complete service and check out?

Quick lubes are also staffed by people who have no formal car mechanic training. Generally they are paid $8 to $10 and hour. So even if they did check out a car, they could not tell if anything is wrong. Even worse they don’t know how to repair cars. They are trained to change oil and filters “fast.” Did you know they are timed to do oil changes very quickly and if they exceed the time they can be disciplined or even let go. A quick lube shop is a high-speed oil change production line. Nothing is allowed to slow the line down. Sometimes things get overlooked during this mad rush to change the oil. There have been thousands of cases where new oil has not been put back in, the oil drain plug not tightened (or even worse the threads were stripped), resulting in damaged and even ruined engines.

Statistics show that regular consumers of quick lube shops spend hundreds and often thousands more on car repairs over the life of a car, than those who have full oil change services performed at full service repair shops like Spencer’s Auto Repair. The reason is that early problems get overlooked at quick lubes and become major problems later. In addition the lack of regular preventative maintenance service (remember quick lubes only change oil and other fluids, they don’t service or repair anything else!) creates problems in cars down the line that cost much more than had they been addressed much earlier.

How many people shop for cheap and fast doctors? Cars are just as complicated as the human body with one big difference. People can talk and describe their symptoms when they are ill, cars can’t! Since the car can’t talk, owners have the choice of performing routine full service maintenance to find problems early, or wait till things break and then pay for very expensive repairs.

Another thing to consider, is the issue of the car owner knowing who is working on their car. Think about it. Would you let any doctor you’ve never met and never selected yourself examine or treat you just because you picked them to be cheap and quick with the office visit? It should not be any different when it comes to car repair? Quick lubes have very high employee turnover and you never know who is working on your car, nor their capability and competence. At a full service auto shop, your are more likely to be working with the same people over a long period and develop a relationship.

Quick lube shops are primarily financial and profit driven, versus being customer focused. Everything is done to spend the least amount of time and money working on a customer car. They have no desire to “waste time” talking with customers or getting to know customers. Even worse, they are not receptive to dealing with any problems that come up as a result of the work they do. The level of complaints and problems customers have with quick lube shops far outnumbers the complaints and dissatisfaction with full service repair shops.

Last of all is the issue of honesty and ethics. Quick lube shops have quota’s on how much they must sell each day. That is why they push wiper blades, and other services on customers in a high pressure way.

For most people, their car is the second most expensive investment they’ve made next to buying a house. For most people a car is a $20,000 or more investment. Is saving $5 to $10 a wise way to save money with this kind of investment? Factor in the value of having a car that is always going to be reliable and safe!

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