Oil changes are a routine maintenance service for most drivers. Like holidays, they come and go with almost rhythmic regularity. And in all that routine, it's easy to forget why an oil change is so crucial or why you need this ongoing maintenance for your vehicle.
Whether you're new to getting oil changes or you've been getting them for decades, we've compiled this helpful overview of the importance of oil changes: why you need them, how often you need them, the cost and length of time required to get an oil change, and the pros and cons of getting an oil change at different service centers.
Have questions? Call NJ State Auto Used Cars at (201) 200-1100.
If you're driving a vehicle with an internal combustion engine, it's crucial that you conduct an oil change regularly. Engine oil is necessary to keep your engine running smoothly and as intended. The main job of engine oil is to lubricate the crucial, moving parts of the engine and keep them cool as heat builds up within the engine due to friction.
Over time, engine oil degrades as it collects debris and dirt. Additionally, as the additives in your engine oil deplete, sludge can build up within the oil passages and reduce the ability of the engine oil to lubricate the engine. In addition to severely degraded oil and sludge build-up, insufficient oil levels can lead to serious engine issues and could cause damage to your vehicle's engine. Therefore, it's important to ensure that your engine oil is new, clean, and at an adequate level to keep the engine running properly.
Every car is different, but you should be able to find your vehicle manufacturer's maintenance recommendations in your vehicle owners manual. Typically, manufacturers recommend an oil change every three months or between 3,000 to 5,000 miles of driving, whichever comes first.
Many vehicles manufactured in the last decade have oil life indicators that keep track of this information for you. It might be displayed on your instrument panel as a percentage of the oil life left, a colored status bar that changes from green to red as the oil deteriorates, or it could simply be a light that turns on when your vehicle needs an oil change.
However, when you get a notification for an upcoming oil change, make sure you bring your car in as soon as you hit the recommended time or mileage or when your oil change indicator suggests you need one. Failing to do so could result in costly repairs further down the line.
The time it takes to complete an oil change depends on several factors, including where you take your vehicle, how well-staffed the service center is, the number of customers visiting, and whether any additional inspections or services are being performed on your vehicle.
If you take your car to a quick lube shop, you might be in and out in 20 minutes if there aren't many customers ahead of you. If you take your car to a dealership, expect the service to take a little longer, as dealerships also include other services. such as multi-point inspections, as part of the oil change service.
The cost of an oil change also depends on several factors, including the location of the service, the type of oil used, and whether additional inspections or services are included with the oil change. In general, conventional oil changes range in price from $40 to $80, whereas oil changes that use synthetic oil are a bit pricier at around $70 to $125 per visit.
Where you get your oil changed will affect the price as well. Quick lube shops often advertise low prices for oil changes, but many other service centers, such as the one at New Jersey State Auto, offer equally competitive prices. Dealerships tend to be slightly more expensive because their technicians are trained to do more than oil changes, and they may include added services.
For most drivers, when their oil change maintenance light appears or they hit the mileage on their Next Service Due sticker, the first thing they consider is where to take their car for a service. And for many, price and reliability are the two most important factors when deciding where to get their vehicle's oil changed. So, why should you choose the service center at New Jersey State Auto over a quick lube shop or a dealership?
For one, at a quick lube service center, their priority is quantity. They make money by getting as many customers as possible in and out of their shop. This often means that the oil changes aren't very thorough, and if there are other issues with your car that need attention, you might not find out about them until it's too late.
Additionally, just because they advertise themselves as quick lube shops, there might be a line of customers ahead of you, delaying your service. Even if the oil change itself only takes 15 to 20 minutes, the speed of the service doesn't mean much if the shop is slammed with customers.
If you take your car to a dealership, on the other hand, it's often more expensive and time consuming. Dealerships are often more thorough with their oil changes because they also perform inspections on your car, but depending on how the inspection is performed, this can add precious time to your wait.
If you're located in or around Jersey City, New Jersey, and need an oil change, consider stopping by New Jersey State Auto for your service. As a used car dealership, we're familiar with all kinds of manufacturers and models, and we only employ the best auto technicians. We make it a priority to offer our customers fast, reliable, and affordable oil change services so this routine maintenance doesn't impact their lives or schedules any more than it needs to.