Everyone knows how vital oil changes are to the health of your vehicle. It also happens to be one of the least complicated maintenance tasks. It’s no surprise that many vehicle owners associate this task as quick and simple, so taking the vehicle to a quick lube shop is not uncommon. It’s convenient, it’s fast, and it’s usually cheap. But is it really the best solution for your vehicle’s longevity? Let’s explore the pros and cons of using a quick lube shop.
Pros of a Quick Lube Shop
- No appointment needed. Typically, you can drive up to a quick lube shop without an appointment and get your oil changed. This fits into many schedules that are already stuffed to the brim with things to do, so it’s a selling feature for these companies.
- You can stay in your vehicle. At a quick lube shop, the service is literally just that: quick. At most shops, you can stay inside your vehicle for about 20-30 minutes, then drive away when you’re finished.
- There is a shop in virtually every neighbourhood. Chances are that your commute time to a quick lube shop will be short. They are found at most major commercial centres near residential areas.
Cons of a Quick Lube Shop
- Low skilled labor. This is the main disadvantage of any quick lube shop. Meeting a certified technician at a quick lube shop is like bumping into a French cuisine chef at Wendy’s. By regulation, quick lube shops are not required to have a certified auto technician on location, and they are free to hire anyone capable of breathing and lifting a wrench, even if such an individual has never previously opened a vehicle hood. Would you be comfortable with someone with such impeccable credentials doing anything to your German car?
- Generic oils and fluids. Most quick lube shops use generic, universal grades of oil, including one type of mineral engine oil for all domestic vehicles, and one type of “synthetic” for all import vehicles. They simply cannot and would not store oils recommended or approved for each car brand. Every German OEM will have their own very specific requirements for fluids that go into their cars. Fluids that meet such requirements should be OEM-approved. This becomes critical if your vehicle is still under warranty. In case you have a problem with your engine the selling dealership will ask for proof of regular maintenance. Do you think they will be satisfied with an invoice, saying “Full synth euro oil” without any further specifics?
- Low quality filters. Have you ever wondered how quick lube shops manage to stock filters for all brands and models of cars? They have universal generic “filters” that fit most cars, albeit poorly. If they stocked vehicle-specific filters, they would need a warehouse for storage space. The problem with these generics is that they are no-name and often of the lowest possible quality. As our experience shows, rather than protecting your engine, these generic filters may cause damage as they fall apart during operation.
- Overly tightened seals, causing damage to drain plugs. We frequently see drain plugs that have damaged threads. The culprit, just like with filters, is that even if the person who changes your oil ever bothers to install a new seal, they would have to use a universal/generic one. To compensate, they would tighten the plug as much as possible, and in the process destroy the thread in the oil pan. To repair it, the oil pan must be removed, which in some cases can be a 10-15 hour job.
- No vehicle inspection. A quick lube shop’s main service is vehicle fluids replacement. They are motivated to recommend it to you every time you visit them, even if such a fluid change may not be necessary, or possible. Whereas a qualified auto technician, while performing a quick inspection during an oil change, will be able to point out anything that requires immediate attention as well as other services that can be postponed to a later date.
- No service interval indicator reset. One might consider it no big deal if the ‘Service Due’ light is still on when you drive away from the quick lube shop. However, it is an important step to reset this indicator after service, something most quick lube shops don’t do. In some modern German vehicles, this information is used by the engine computer and can noticeably affect engine performance. In extreme cases you cannot even measure the oil level without connecting a professional OEM-specific scanner.
Some of the cons listed above can lead to costly repairs in the future. You may save money at the time of your service, but in the long term your German vehicle is not properly maintained and is likely to need major service later.
As a full-scale repair facility, we cannot match the speed or convenience of a typical quick lube shop. However, at AutoGermany we are experts in German auto maintenance and offer the most efficient, high-quality service for your vehicle possible.
For your convenience, we offer after-hours key drop service. Alternatively, we can always schedule your visit at a time that is most suitable for you, and if you choose to wait, we have a cozy waiting area with free WiFi, coffee, and cable TV.
At AutoGermany, we use top quality fluids and filters specific to your vehicle, which work to keep your vehicle in top condition. We strive to be your Edmonton auto repair experts with our quality parts and trained staff to give you the best auto repair experience.
Check out our online reviews to see how our past clients have enjoyed our work.