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Should You Get Your Oil Change at a Dealership?

If you’ve bought a new or used car and it’s time to get your oil changed, you’re probably wondering whether you have to have a dealership perform the service. After all, a dealership might charge more for an oil change than an independent shop — and it might be less convenient. So do you have to visit a dealer to get your oil changed? Here’s our take.

Why Not a Dealer?

There are two main reasons why drivers might try to avoid getting an oil change at a dealership. The primary one is cost: Many drivers believe dealerships will charge more for an oil change, even though it’s a relatively simple service that can be performed by just about any mechanic. As a result, many drivers would rather avoid spending more money at a dealership for such an easy service.

The other main reason a driver might try to avoid getting an oil change at a dealership is convenience. While there are dozens of independent "quick oil change" shops all around most cities, the dealer might not be so easy to access — and a dealer may not have an appointment readily available, while a quick oil change shop can often work on a car immediately. Find a new car for sale near you

Benefits of a Dealer

Of course, there are also benefits to visiting a dealership for an oil change. The biggest is the fact that a dealership for your vehicle’s brand likely knows your car better than anyone, which means they’re unlikely to make any mistakes. For example: I once visited a quick oil change shop with a vehicle that had two oil drain plugs. The shop didn’t know about both drain plugs and only opened one — then filled the car with new oil. The result was a massive oil overfill — a mistake the dealership almost certainly wouldn’t have made.

Another benefit: If your car is under warranty, you might want to visit a dealership because you’re worried that changing your oil elsewhere will void your warranty. Although this is a commonly held belief, it’s not true: By law, an automaker can’t void your warranty for going somewhere besides a dealership for service. Just be sure to keep your oil change receipts in case you have to prove the oil was in fact changed.

Our Take

There are benefits and drawbacks for going to a dealer for an oil change. Interestingly, one of the primary benefits most people consider — that dealerships charge more for oil changes — isn’t always true. Since an oil change is such a simple job, most dealerships run fairly competitive rates with most independent shops.

Generally speaking, though, it shouldn’t matter much where you get your oil changed. As long as you keep your receipts and perform oil changes at recommended intervals, you won’t void your warranty if you go to an independent shop — and you might save some time and a little money. Meanwhile, if you prefer to visit a dealer, you might trade a little extra cost and convenience for the additional peace of mind that a trusted dealership — and a mechanic trained for your car — is working on your vehicle.

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Editor’s Note: This article has been updated for accuracy since it was originally published.

Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. if you want to one day sell your new car that you just invested $50k on, why would you want to cheap out and try and save $10 every 4 months on an oil change? when you get your oil changed at a dealership, you have documented maintenance on your vehicle that is on carfax as well. saving $40.00 per year isnt worth the risk of some dude who is stoned off his butt changing your oil on your $50k vehicle who may strip your oil plug, oil filter, over fill/under fill your oil crank case, etc..

  2. If you can change oil, change it yourself. Don’t bring it to dealership.  Why ?  oil change is only 30-40 bucks, they will try everything to make money from your car leaking, etc..that’s why i don’t like to bring the car there. If i do oil change at 10 places , at least 6 places said oil leaking and want to fix for 200-300 bucks… i know my oil is not leaking but they will try to make money from your car. That’s why i hate to take the car for oil change 

    I believe if mechanics find something wrong with the car, they get commission from dealership, too. That’s why you have to be careful …
  3. i was taking my acura to the dealership and they would do a inpection and tell me everything was still good cabin filter etc. The 5th time i went the other technician stated “sir you missing a cabin filter in your car the price is bla bla bla expensive, I told him “wow thats funny because all the other times they stated it was still good” he looked at me blank!!! so i think if you know how to do an oil change do it your self you can actually take time until every drop of oil is out!!   

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