Where To Get An Oil Change

Looking for a good deal on your auto's next oil change? Check out these options for quality service at an affordable rate.

Having your car maintenanced several times a year can add up to a bundle of expenses. It may be tempting to skimp on your oil change to save a few dollars. But keeping your engine well lubricated and the oil reservoir fresh can add years to the life of your car.

Since your oil should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, most car owners typically need four or five of these services each year. But where is the best place to get a good deal? After all, you don't want to pay top dollar at a dealership or mechanic's garage. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Major department store automotive sections. Chain stores like Sears and Wal-Mart sometimes include automobile departments that offer oil changes for less than twenty dollars. The logic behind the low price is that customers waiting for their cars to be serviced will shop their stores and purchase other items as well. You also may be able to get more maintenance work done at less cost than a regular garage might charge. Often there is no waiting, but call ahead to be sure.

2. Dealership deals. While the random dealership oil change can be pricey, buying several at one time can save you money. For example, if an oil change usually costs $22.95, a dealership may offer a book of ten coupons for $16.95. That means you will need to come to the same place for this service each time, but the savings will be worth it.

3. Neighborhood specials. Keep your eyes open when driving around your community for local oil change service centers that feature promotional deals. Sometimes you can get a discounted service during an entire month, providing scheduling flexibility. At other times the discount may apply at various times all year round. Call ahead to ask if the center anticipates a sale day in the near future.

4. Local service stations. Smaller automobile centers may provide less costly oil changes, or they may offer a discounted price when you purchase additional services, like new tires or a radiator flush. If you can develop a relationship with a local center, chances are you can expect a good price at lower-than-average rates for routine services like an oil change.

5. Ask a friend. Perhaps you know someone who works on cars for modest fees as a side job, or who may be willing to exchange services, like typing or home cooked meals, for an oil change. Even if the mechanic prefers cash, it is likely that he or she will charge less than a professional or national auto service center. Ask around among your coworkers and neighbors to find someone who is reliable that may be willing to handle this job for you.

Take time to find a competent auto care professional to manage your oil changes. Even if you save just five dollars for each service, that means you're saving twenty dollars or more each year that can be used for something more fun instead.

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