I ate my wafer...


Quick Lube Places...oh how I hate them.

So, I was driving to class yesterday and saw a one of those tragically funny things: a dead car stalled in traffic about 200 yards from a Quick-Lube place (hint to Lansing dwellers...it was on Grand River), with a couple of service techs from the oil lube place milling around it, and a trail of oil leading back to the Quick-Lube place.

I'm guessing that they forgot to put on an oil filter, though I suppose they could have figured out some other way to screw up.

Anyway, I know that I complain about it too often as is, but here's the standard quicky-lube rant:

A. Most quick-lube places have a target amount to upsell each and every customer. That is, the management typically pressures the staff to sell unnecessary, or barely necessary services on top of the oil change. There's a variety of flavors of this, but typical ones included flushes of various kinds, new air filters, etc. To be a bit blunt,I suspect that unscrupulous quicky-lube places love targeting women for the upsell crap. (I'd say that my male and female friends actually fall for the speil about equally, but the women get hit up more often.) Some of the particularly shady minions go beyond lying as to the necessity of a service and lie about whether it was performed or not.

B. A lot of quicky-lube places are technically incompetent, and a good number of engines meet an untimely death at the hands of their troglodyte minions.

C. Even if they don't immediately kill an engine, there's a tendency for the quicky-lube folks to OVER-tighten oil filters, strip drain plugs, etc. Usually the oil and filters used are pretty much the cheapest, marginal parts around (*cough* FRAM's cheap store-branded filters*cough).

D. The oil lube places have sold Americans on an pointless short oil change interval, which is both wasteful on a personal level, and environmentally bad. (On a related note I'd like to compliment the various automakers that have installed oil life monitoring computers of one kind or another.) When a car is under warranty, follow the owner's manual and keep records, but after that, generally speaking, most cars can run 5,000 miles or so on "SM" rated oil without a hitch, and probably 10,000 miles on any real synthetic. (I think it is really cool that Mobil is actually telling people this right on the oil bottle now, and backing it up both technically with good chemistry, and practically by warranting the engines.)

So, what's the solution? Well, the best of all worlds is to change your own oil, closely followed by establishing a relationship with a independent mechanic that you trust, even if you have to pay an extra $20 per oil change. If you insist on using quicky-lubes, you need to watch them like a hawk, and if they suggest ANY extra services you probably should consult someone else first. Heck, call me while you're in the waiting room at the quicky-lube. I'd much rather get a phone call than have to bite my tongue when my friends tell me about how the quiky-lube tech talked them into a flush.

(Note, most of the links above are in reference to Jiffy-Lube, but that's mostly because it was fast to google. Jiffy Lube is probably no worse than the competition, though that doesn't say much.)


  • Where was this post three years ago before I learned this the hard way?



    By Anonymous jake allen, at 9:21 AM  

  • I suppose if Amber ever gets her license, I'll be handling the maintenance on it too.

    By Blogger Finite, at 2:14 PM  

  • Here in Boston, Jiffy Lube prices are about 2 times more expensive than the rates I get at my local privately-owned full-service shop. The mechanics there are very knowledgeable (Jap cars are their speciality, so that's good for me), they always charge lower than anywhere I can find and, actually, remind me a lot of you, Bob.

    By Blogger S.F., at 12:41 AM  

  • I drove past my local quicky place recently and observed the "mechanic" happily blasting 110 psi compressed air through some victim's pleated paper air filter......then turn the filter over and blast away from the opposite direction
    I told my mother to stop going there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:30 PM  

  • I hear you. I work at a pennzoil here in riverview and I hate it. I see the over torqued filters and half-a$S work people do. If you do go to these places, tell them you want an oil change and ONLY an oil change. Consult a mechanic for any other work. P.S. Always tell them to date the filter with a marker and show you the old one every time.

    By Anonymous John, at 11:48 PM  

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