Updated March 8th, 2017

Sterling, Virginia - Getting your vehicle's motor oil changed is one of the most common--and essential--types of routine vehicle maintenance to extend the life of your car. The classic rule of the 3,000 mile/3-month oil change interval may not be necessary with many of today's modern vehicles; recent technological advancements in engine performance have enabled cars to go further between oil changes without suffering any ill effects. To find out what would be optimal for your particular vehicle, it is best to look in the owner's manual find the oil change schedule that is recommended by the manufacturer.

Getting an Oil Change: What is the Typical Cost?
* The typical cost of a regular oil change will be somewhere between $20-$150, and will vary slightly based on factors such as the type of vehicle, how many quarts of oil, regular or synthetic, whether the maintenance is being performed by a dealership or an independent shop. For example, the number of quarts of oil needed for a SUV with a V-8 engine will require more quarts of oil than a small sedan with a 4-cylinder engine. As a general rule, an oil change will typically cost more at a dealership than it will if you were getting it performed at a retail chain or independent shop. Many auto maintenance shops will bundle other services in with the oil change, such as multi-point inspections, topping off various fluids, or changing the air filter. 

* If you choose to use synthetic oil in your car, your oil change will typically cost over $100, or even more. This is due to the fact that synthetic oil is considered to be more resilient than regular engine oil, which is one of the reasons why it is often used in high-performance engines. Synthetic oil is comprised of various man-made chemicals that enable the oil to handle higher temperatures, and it can last a longer time between oil changes without breaking down or becoming too dirty. 

* Some people opt for the do-it-yourself approach, in which case you will only need to pay for the oil itself, which will cost roughly $10 - $50 depending on how many quarts of oil you're going to need. This is not a recommended route to go unless you have some good experience working with cars. Although performing an oil change is not a highly complex job, many people choose to leave it up to professionals due to time constraints, or a reluctance to perform any maintenance on their car without being adequately trained. 

What is Typically Included in an Oil Change?
* The average oil change job involves more factors than you might think. Along with the cost of the oil itself, you are also paying for the labor, shop supplies, the new oil filter, and any seals, gaskets or O-rings that may be required. In addition, the cost of the oil change includes paying for the disposal of the old engine oil. 

* The labor cost for an oil change is charged differently than for other maintenance jobs. Technicians are paid in increments of two or three-tenths of an hour, which typically amounts to about $15 to $20 of the total cost of the job. The rest of the cost is realized by way of oil, filter, sales tax and disposal costs.

* As mentioned earlier, it is very common now for cars to be able to go up to 7,000 miles between oil changes due to advances in engine and oil technology. Consumer Guide Automotive offers a comprehensive guide of recommended oil change intervals, indexed by manufacturer.

* Many auto shops will include additional services such as free multi-point vehicle inspections or tire rotations along with the regular oil change. Inspections are used to alert you to any major issues relating to the various systems of your car (e.g., heating/cooling, suspension, transmission, etc.), but it also provides a way for the shop to make extra sales via additional repairs. More often than not, a technician will review the maintenance history of the vehicle and recommend any type of routine repairs or maintenance that may need to be performed. 

The Best Way to Shop for an Oil Change
When shopping for an oil change, a major difference that should be noted between dealerships and independent shops is that a car dealership will specialize in the various models of only one particular vehicle manufacturer, while independent shops perform maintenance on several different types of makes and models. It is also very common for dealerships to charge more for their services than an independent establishment. For the best deals, it's best to do some thorough comparison shopping, and also look for any coupons or special promotions being offered on the Internet or in the newspaper.

*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair. Copyright Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto 2017 www.hoganandsonsinc.com