When it comes to vehicle ownership, there are a lot of things that we need to pay attention to or have worked on as the average, non-mechanic owner. There are so many things to keep track of, from finding tires, to getting transmissions checked, or even as simple as searching “where to find a quick oil change near me?” There are a number of different moving parts and components that can suddenly fail or wear down, which can lead to some expensive repairs.
One of the most costly and difficult replacements out there is an engine replacement. The engine is a very complex piece of machinery which is extremely vital for your vehicle’s operation. It is the power center of the vehicle, which is responsible for creating mechanical energy from a fuel source, which is gasoline in the case for vehicles with an internal combustion engine. Without a working engine, your vehicle is not going anywhere. One of the best ways to ensure that your vehicle’s engine is running healthy and will last is to perform regular oil changes. The engine is composed of many different small and intricate parts. These parts work in tandem with each other to create the energy necessary for your vehicle to travel. However, due to the constant movement as well as the combustion of gasoline, engines have a habit of creating a lot of friction and heat as a result. Engine oil aids in two different regards. It helps in dissipating the heat and lubricating the different gears and other components.
However, over time, this engine oil becomes polluted from constant use, due to the build-up of sludge as well as metal contaminants. When this happens, the engine oil becomes less effective and leaves the engine more vulnerable to overheating. The engine oil must be changed regularly, to keep the engine from overheating as well as to keep sludge from building up. All engine oil has a recommended limit to when it should be changed to ensure effectiveness, though, some engine oils are created to last longer, such as synthetic oil. An easy test is to check the color and level of oil in your engine at home, as both are decent indicators of needing an oil change. Typically, the oil should be a golden or amber color. If it is any darker or appears cloudy, it may be time for an oil change. If you happen to find yourself in this situation and need a quick oil change, there are actually quite a few different options available to the average consumer. You can bring it down to a quick oil shop, a local garage, or your manufacturer’s dealership. Here, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of each, so that you can be comfortable making an educated decision.
Quick Oil Shop
This is typically the standard option that most people think of when it comes time for an oil change. There are certain national and regional chains which have carved out a niche in part of the automotive market. They specialize in quick minor servicing such as oil changes and brake jobs. These companies offer quick and convenient servicing and are usually equipped to handle any sort of vehicle.
By being a chain, they are able to offer the same experience regardless of where they are located and are typically able to spread out to many different areas. While their service is definitely quick and convenient, it is not without any faults. Due to the sheer volume of vehicles that these places typically see on an average day, they won’t always treat your vehicle with the deserved TLC. They typically aim for getting the vehicles done as quickly as possible, and while they do sincerely try to be as accurate as possible, they are typically more prone to issues from servicing. Due to being large chains that offer simplistic servicing, but they do not always employ the most qualified people to be technicians. Vehicles are expensive and can be dangerous if not operating correctly, so sometimes paying more for quality service is a good idea. However, the low-time of completion and consistent pricing of quick lube shops keep it as the most convenient option for getting an oil change.
If the quick oil shop is not something you happen to be particularly interested in, but you still want something that is not too far away, then a local mechanic may be the option for you. There are many different mechanics who are self-employed and operate their own businesses. A good mechanic can be a game-changer for a vehicle owner. With most small-time mechanics, prices can be reasonably negotiated, so you may find yourself getting some pretty sweet deals. Often times, small shop owners and mechanics will perform very good work at a reasonable price, as they will want to keep you coming back through the door. For some mechanics, they may not see many customers on average. So when they do get customers, they will go above and beyond in terms of quality of service, all to impress the customer in hopes that they become a regular.
However, there are also some negative aspects when it comes to local mechanics, and finding a new mechanic can be a bit of a mixed bag in terms of quality. While prices are negotiable, they can also be up-charged. Plenty of uninformed and trusting vehicle owners in the past have gone to local mechanics, just to be taken advantage of. You never really know the wholesale value of items, and services can theoretically be priced to whatever they would like it to be. While it can be certainly difficult to determine the quality and integrity of local mechanics, a good idea is to go by word of mouth. Like any kind of service, satisfied customers will have no problem suggesting a good and honest mechanic. If you happen to find a mechanic who has multiple positive reviews from people around you, it may be a good idea to check them out.
While local mechanics and quick service shops can oftentimes bring great value, the quality of service and materials can be questionable. You just really do not know exactly what they are putting into your vehicle. For the consumer who is not afraid to splurge a little bit more to ensure quality and peace of mind, there is no better place to go for an oil change than a dealership. While the prices may be a bit higher, you truly are paying for quality. Most dealerships hire fully licensed staff and train them specifically to specialize in particular brands of vehicles. You would not have to worry about whether or not the person working on your vehicle is familiar with it. They also use the best available parts for your vehicle, ensuring that the parts that are going into your vehicle are factory designed for it.
Just like anything else, however, dealerships are not without their faults. While typical dealership service departments are fairly large, they can oftentimes become very busy, with owners seeking them out for all sorts of different issues. They also are usually a bit pricier than most local places, and are not very flexible with scheduling and availability. Overall, due to both the quality of service and the quality of the parts used, dealerships are the best option out there when it comes time to change your engine’s oil.