What You Should Expect with Oil-Change Services

Even if you are not mechanically inclined, you know that the oil in your vehicle needs to be changed regularly. Since some people do not pay attention to when this maintenance was last performed, most cars have a light in the dashboard to remind you when it is time. When this happens, you find the latest coupon for an oil change and head to the shop. Before you sign the paperwork to have the job done, there are a few things you should look for and understand.

The Oil Change

If you are paying for the basic service and nothing more, the mechanic will drain the oil from your car and replace it with up to five quarts of new oil. You should be asked what type of oil you want to be used. He or she will also replace the oil filter. This is a very basic service. If this is all the shop offers, you should check around to find a shop that will also lubricate the chassis and do a maintenance inspection for the same fee.

Additional Work

When doing the maintenance inspection, the mechanic may discover the head gasket is leaking or that the O-rings that seal the oil filter are worn. You should be notified of this. It will be up to you to decide whether to have any additional work done to the vehicle. Make sure that your initial paperwork does not give the mechanic permission to do more work. Often this will be limited to a certain amount or percentage of the original cost. You do not want to go pick up the car and find out that you owe the mechanic more money than you have or have wanted to spend.


Some shops will offer to do additional services or maintenance checks for more money. This can include simple things like checking and topping off your antifreeze or windshield-wiper fluid. Do not just agree to these unless it is something you cannot or will not do yourself. Of course, you can also ask to have other services performed if you know something is wrong or needs to be checked.

Having the oil changed in your vehicle is one of the most important maintenance chores to keep everything running smoothly. Since this might be the only time your car is in the shop unless it is not running, take advantage of having a professional look things over. However, be sure that the mechanic only does what is specified in your initial paperwork.