Today, you have many things (too many things!) vying for your time and attention. But remember, to accomplish everything on your to-do list, you depend on your vehicle. One of the most important things you can do to help keep it running smoothly is preventive maintenance, including oil changes. Looking at your jam-packed calendar, you naturally want to know: “How long does an oil change take?”
- Expect an oil change to take 20-45 minutes.
- You’re keeping up your vehicle’s preventive maintenance schedule. If you have been following the manufacturer’s recommendations for service, and the oil change is part of regularly scheduled preventive maintenance, experienced technicians should be able to perform your oil change quickly.
How Long Does An Oil Change Take?
The duration of an oil change depends on several factors. Are you changing your own oil or taking it to a shop? Oil change professionals, especially those at “quick lube” shops, change oil every day and are generally good at changing oil quickly; but you might take a little bit longer if you’re changing oil yourself, especially if you only do this as often as is needed by your vehicle.
If you bring your vehicle in, expect to wait between 15 and 45 minutes for an oil change. If you take your vehicle to a quick lube shop and can be seen immediately, the process can take as little as 15 minutes. Longer estimates typically account for wait time due to customer backlog: the other customers who scheduled their service or got there before you did.
A repair shop may take a bit longer, so expect a wait time between 30 and 45 minutes at these locations. Finally, DIY oil changes typically take between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on your tools, experience, and garage setup.
Another factor is what kind of car you drive. Many cars have oil drain plugs and filters that are easily accessible on the bottom of the vehicle, but not all cars do. If your car’s plug is less accessible, it might be a bit more difficult and time-consuming.
Why Do Repair Shops Take Longer Than Jiffy Lube Shops?
There are two main factors that make a Jiffy Lube shop faster than a repair shop. First, a Jiffy Lube shop specializes in oil changes, so the setup may be geared toward rapid oil changes. Second, a repair shop typically performs other routine inspections and tune-ups, so it can take additional time as they check your tire pressure, coolant level, and other maintenance areas.
Determine whether you need additional maintenance inspections or not before choosing the best professional to service your vehicle. While a repair shop may spot other issues that need immediate attention, a Jiffy Lube shop typically performs an oil change much more quickly and affordably.
If you consistently have your oil changed at a Jiffy Lube location, consider scheduling routine inspections at your local auto repair shop for preventative maintenance and other fluid top-off.
How long does an oil change take if you do it yourself?
Quick answer: probably longer than 45 minutes. Let’s say you perform your own oil change. That means you would likely do just four oil changes in a year.
Here’s something else that makes a do-it-yourself oil change take longer: disposing of the used oil. Just dumping it is not only bad for the environment but also illegal. So, do-it-yourselfers need to collect the dirty, used oil and safely transport it to a recycling or disposal center.
When you consider that it will likely take you longer to perform an oil change and that your time is valuable, you may decide that the money you save by handling your oil change yourself isn’t worth it.
How Often Should I Change My Oil?
While the old rule of thumb has always been 3,000 miles or three months in between oil changes, this is a general, and outdated, idea. While it’s essential to have oil changes that keep your vehicle running efficiently and keep your warranties valid, many vehicles perform well after 3,000 miles.
Some vehicles need oil changes even more frequently. If you only drive your vehicles at low speeds and are frequently starting up your engine, you may need an oil change as often as every 1,000 miles. Vehicles that consistently drive only 10 miles or less can collect condensation in the system, which causes oil to break down faster.
On the other extreme, many vehicles can safely drive for up to 10,000 miles. When you run synthetic oil and drive longer distances on a newer vehicle, you may be able to drive up to 10,000 miles before changing your oil.