Oil changes are a fact of life if you are a car owner. Unfortunately, it can be easy to overlook this bit of necessary maintenance, since the effects of a missed oil change aren’t always immediately apparent. Getting into the habit of delaying or ignoring oil changes is a big mistake, though.
While your car may still have an appropriate level of oil, the oil has collected engine dirt in it over the many miles it has cycled through the engine. This forms a sludge that can clog the components in the engine or the filters. This results in poor performance that will ultimately result in engine breakdown. In the short term, it affects your car’s performance and gas mileage.
If you are putting off oil changes because of the cost, then look no further. The following guide can help you cut costs so that you are saving money on oil changes while keeping your car in excellent condition.
- Check Your Owner’s Manual
A common misconception is that your car requires an oil change every 3,000 miles. While getting an oil change this often won’t damage your car, it is money that you don’t have to spend. While 3,000 miles used to be sound advice, newer engine technology combined with the exceptional qualities of modern synthetic oil have lengthened this recommendation for many car models.
Be aware that the standard stickers provided by many mechanics still state “3,000 miles or three months.” Many late model cars can go 5,000 miles between oil changes, with some models able to go up to 10,000 miles or more. The only way to know for sure is to check the information in your owner’s manual or to contact the manufacturer.
- Ask About Special Discounts
There are a variety of discounts on oil changes that you can qualify for, depending on your specific situation. The following are a list of a few that you should watch for or ask about:
- Military discounts
- Senior discounts
- Student discounts
- Discount days – many mechanics offer discounts on days that are historically low in business, for example.
- Watch for Coupons
Coupons for oil changes can be one of the most reliable methods for securing a discount and saving money. There are many places that regularly put out coupons, so make sure you check everywhere. Options include the following:
- Coupon mailers, both the value pack style and the magazine style, often include special coupons for nearby oil change shops.
- The phone book may have coupons inside, and oil changes are popular services in many yellow page coupon sections.
- Coupon apps on your smartphone may offer deals for local oil changes.
- Online coupons, including those that you print and those that are emailed to you, are another option. You may need to perform a task, such as by liking the mechanic’s page on social media, to receive these coupons.
- Ask to be put on a mailing list to receive regular coupons directly from the business.
- Text alerts from the mechanic may contain discounts if you opt to sign up.
Don’t be afraid to ask if there are coupons or where the mechanic tends to place their coupons. They are usually happy to let you know so that you can keep an eye out for them when your next oil change is due.
- Stay On Top of Routine Maintenance
It can be tempting to only have the bare bones oil change performed to save money, but this is false economy. Skipping or cutting corners on routine maintenance will simply result in a higher cost later when your car prematurely needs a repair.
A basic oil change requires that the old oil is fully drained from the car. Then, the oil filter is replaced. Never skip the filter replacement, as this is a vital necessity to avoid clogs. Then, the oil is replaced with new. Keep in mind that the cost is for a standard amount of oil. If your car takes more oil, the cost of the service may be higher.
- Combine Services
Combining services is another excellent way to save money. Many shops offer a full-service oil change, which includes the following:
- A check and topping off of major fluid, including transmission, steering and washer fluid.
- Tire pressure check
- Air filter replacement
- Wiper place replacement
- Light and battery check
- Belt checks
The best place to get an oil change may also offer seasonal deals and coupons. For example, you may be able to get a major discount if you combine your oil change with the winterization of your transmission, or with the purchase of new tires.
While oil changes may seem like basic maintenance, they are integral to the smooth and reliable operation of your car. Knowing how to save money on this vital service can help you stay on track with proper car care.