By on November 3, 2010

TTAC Commentator Detroit-Iron writes:

A friend of mine and I were talking about my last Piston Slap question, in particular several people’s dislike of Jiffy Lube. My perspective is that unless you have cars in the shop all of the time or live in one place for a long time, it is difficult to find a trustworthy mechanic. I also believe in general that a good process is less likely to harm a vehicle than trusting to individual diligence. At Jiffy Lube they really only do one or two things and they have a system. They always go for the upsell, but unlike some mechanics they are not likely to recommend any truly expensive unnecessary work (or deliberately break something) simply because they don’t offer it.

Sajeev Answers:

Yes, that is fair. But Jiffy Lube (seemingly?) deliberately strips oil pan bolts and over-torques oil filters. Which makes for a fun time for the owner’s son, when tasked with the next oil change. Sans the leverage-intensive underground service bays, that is. That was my last experience with Jiffy Lube. In general, I believe that not all franchise locations are created equal. Is this a case of one bad apple spoiling the bunch?

More to the point, is an ASE certified master tech at the dealership/trustworthy shop gonna make the same mistakes due to indifference? Truth is, nobody’s perfect when it comes to oil changes. My hands aren’t clean (so to speak) in this matter. Plus, oil pan bolts tend to leak/strip themselves after 5+ years of use.

I’ll put this to the Best and Brightest: are problems with Jiffy Lube and other oil change services a problem with the company, the store/regional manager or the service tech in question? I tend to think it’s nurture, not nature: if someone fosters a hostile work environment, the quality shall suffer. Have at it.

Send your queries to [email protected] Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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59 Comments on “Piston Slap: Justification for Jiffy Lubrification...”

  • avatar

    I think it has most to do with the fact the person doing the job is a minimum wage kid just out of high school (or possibly still there) working in extreeme heat/cold who could care less what happens to your car.  They just want to make it to pay day.  It’s not a long term job, there aren’t lifetime service awards for most oil changes performed.  You are talking about the lowest of skilled labor work.  Lets be honest, a trained monkey could probably change your oil.  They may even do a better job than some places.  The main problem is indifference. 

    I did witness one local repair shop where the owner was grilling a service tech for not wiping excess oil off the frame of a car where he was changing an oil filter.  It was a little reassuring to know the owner was that involved, but that kind of attention to detail is few and far between in the shady business of automotive repair.  Luckily I have a father-in-law that is ASE certified.  As for if ASE certification means anything, his take is absolutely not.  He only did it because it’s required for his work and just because you can pass a test doesn’t mean you care enough to do good work.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Haven’t used Jiffy Lube much other than the two years I lived in Southfield, MI.  The local one was alright.  I’ve been using the local Pep Boys for the 8+ years I’ve lived in Gallup, NM and I’m happy.  I think these things need to be evaluated on a case by case basis.  I always ask lots of long time locals what they think of various establishments.
    My father uses the dealer for most routine maintenance but honestly I think because it lets him poke around at the new and used cars.

  • avatar

    I am through with the quick-change places.  Having heard bad stories from friends, I continued to go to a quick-lube place near my house because of its convenience.  The same employee was always there.  It seemed that every time he told me something that I either knew or highly suspected to be complete BS, but he at least changed the oil and filter.

    The final straw came the last time I took my 94 Ford Club Wagon in.  This is the vehicle that was on its 3rd set of ball joints. The first two sets were Ford parts that were “lifetime lubricated”.  A lifetime was apparently about 40k miles.  The third set was from Moog, and had these amazing things called grease fittings.  I told the lube guy “be sure to grease the ball joints.”  After he was finished, he told me that there were no fittings on the lowers.  I drove home, wondering if I remembered wrong.  I crawled under my car and there they were, big as life.  I drove back and pointed them out to him and watched while he greased them.  After wondering how many previous times he had missed greasing them, I was through.  Still am.

  • avatar

    Gee, you guys are living in the wrong places. The Jiffy Lube near my old house was busted and torn down for running a drug and prostitute ring out of it.

    The upsell there was not your typical one.:P

  • avatar

    Anyone ever had anti-freeze put into their brake system? Just askin’…

    • 0 avatar

      No kidding! It happened to us in a local indi shop run by the Russians in Brooklyn. Good god my friend found out when he tried to change the wheel bearings for us. We were shocked when he told us and thought it was a leak somewhere, but then how the hell can the coolant get to the breaks from the engine area?

    • 0 avatar

      No, but a Firestone filled the power steering reservoir of my company Escape with motor oil.

  • avatar

    I have had two bad experiences with oil change services, neither catastrophic due to my checking the work. its a simple job that has only about 3-4 steps, if you cant get it right the consequences can be severe. I wont use them anymore unless in a pinch and then only on our Honda.

  • avatar

    Jiffy Lube’s like McDonalds.  It’s the fast food oil change place.  Different days, different employees, different managers can make a good experience or a bad one.  I used to go to the same Jiffy Lube in Farmington, NM when I had my Mazda Navajo (Ford Explorer).  Every time it was done and I was paying, the kid would always tell me that the oil was “really dirty” (I thought dark oil meant that the detergents and dispersants were doing their jobs – to a point) and it was a good thing I came in “just in time before the engine blew up”.  After about the 3rd time hearing that, I asked him if they really changed the oil every time that I brought my vehicle in every 3 months/3000 miles.  He said that they did, and then stopped short, realizing the absurdity of what he had been telling me.  No more.  DIY from then on.

    I change my own oil for our two vehicles and other relatively simple maintenance.  If I want it done right, I do it myself.  And no more lectures about my engine being on the verge of “blowing up”.

    • 0 avatar

      I have own a Jiffy Lube sense 1985, after all the 100 of thousands of cars I have done We only had one engine go out, and we replaced it. We replace free oil plugs that the dealers of tighten too much! Like any other business it is how you run it. How do you guys work or run your business? thank about that and we all be better off, then sitting here Complaining like old ladys:} Come to Jiffy lube in Mn. we Welcome YOU!!!

  • avatar

    I’ve been using various quick-oil-change facilties for the past 2 years since I’ve been moving around a lot and the nearest dealership for my make of car is now 45 miles away.  I’ve never had a problem, but I always do check the oil myself afterwards and look underneath to make sure nothing is leaking.

    Frankly, if it’s convenient, I usually do try to visit the dealer, especially if my car is still under warranty anyway.  I find that the bottom line isn’t actually any more expensive then the Jiffy guys and I like the idea that if something happens down the road I can point to the fact that I had dealer service.  But honestly,  I’m just as sick of their service advisors trying to upsell unneccessary “transmission fluid flushes” and “fuel injector services” on a 20k mile cara as the independent places. 

  • avatar

    I have a 1999 that has had every oil change at a local equivalent here in Canada. I have had oil changes elsewhere as part of bigger work they don’t do, but all stand alone changes done there. In 11 years I have owned the car they haven’t once messed anything up.
    I like having them check out my car, because it really isn’t in their best interest to “make work”.

    Idiots/Horror stories happen anywhere and your oil will likely be changed by a new apprentice at an independent shop or dealer. The thing is when it happens at some kind of chain, it tends to taint the whole chain in guilt by association, but when it happens at an independent, it stops there.

    I will keep going to quick change place. I would prefer if my regular mechanic could offer the same service, but they don’t.

  • avatar

    My local JiffyLube is OK. BUT – My local Mr. Goodwrench charges about the same for oil-and-filter jobs for my Buick, so, why not use him?

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. I have mine done at the local Ford dealership. They cost about the same as anywhere else and they check everything out to boot. Also, the service bay has recently started including the “Quick Lane,” which I’m assuming is a trademark contractor deal because I’ve seen them at dealers of all makes, and their labor rights aren’t out of line with the local competition. As somebody else said I go to the dealer because I like wandering around on the lot and seeing things that I can’t afford, but which are fun to look at.

  • avatar

    It’s like trusting food sold at a convenience store vs a grocery store vs growing your own. It’s all about how much you’re willing to pay vs the risks you’re willing to take vs your own time and competence.
    I’d wager 95% of people never have a complaint with Jiffy. But I’m not going to be in that 5%. The bottom line is that I care about my car a lot more than Jiffy Lube. They’re not paid to check other stuff that might be specific or esoteric on my car, and they don’t have a long-term reputation on the line. So in a sense, JL’s mentality is borne out of our collective “disposable appliance” attitude towards cars. So maybe we should point the mirror at ourselves.

  • avatar

    I have a 2003 Jimmy 4/4 120klms {about 75K miles} with the original ball joints. Jimmys and Blazers are known to eat ball joints….Why?  Because no one wants to take the extra effort to properly lube them. The grease gun has to be firmly on  the grease fitting BEFORE you pump it. Something the fast lube places havn’t figured out.

  • avatar

    Many new car dealers now do quick lube services. I would go there first before going to a franchise outfit like Iffylube. Walmart also does these services, no upsell, but the skill levels/pay are probably just as bad. I have used Oil Stop (Chevron) a couple of times, just watched them and said no to the upselling. They want you to stay in the car and not see what they are doing, but didnt seem to mind too much when I verified the grade (15W-40 Delo 400) and quantity (7qt) of oil dispensed.

  • avatar

    A dealership employee can be just as hung over or focused on the weekend. And I wouldn’t bet that the oil-changer is about the youngest, most inexperienced tech in the dealer shop.
    At least at Jiffy it’s easier to keep a close eye on the entire process which can help detect shenanigans. At the dealer there are 10-20 bays and you’re much more removed from the process. And Jiffy’s “30 minute change” is less likely to take 2 hours in real-time.

  • avatar

    When I was a younger man, I worked at a quickie oil change place owned and operated by a major oil company (rhymes with “Malvoline”). I had to pass a test to get my next raise. The test consisted of doing a full service with a manager looking over my shoulder, checking the items off the list.
    I admit it made me a bit nervous. I neglected to put new oil in the car before the customer started it! I told my manager afterward, “There goes my raise!” He told me I got the raise and I did great on the test because I only missed one out of 40-ish things he had to check off.
    That oughta tell you a lot.

  • avatar

    I used to go to a Castrol shop that did a good job. I always tipped the guys though so maybe that helped. Went there for years and they never screwed up. But they would always try to upsell needless or bad services like transmission flushes.

    It really comes down to the location and not the franchise. All shops are different. Now I always do my own oil changes. A friend’s car was leaking oil for a while. Well I offered to change her oil as it hadn’t been done in a long time and found the cause of her leak. The filter hadn’t been screwed on tight. One half turn and it fell off. Probably due to the fact that her car (an old corolla) has the manifold right next to the filter and there’s no way to put on the filter without burning your arm when the cars hot.

    In any case I recommend always doing your own oil changes. Mainly because you know what oil is actually going in your car. I’ve heard stories about quick change spots that use bargain or even recycled oil when you ask for Mobil 1. But if you don’t like to get dirty, at least find a spot that does a good job and stick with them. Going to random places for oil changes is asking for trouble. And always check your oil level for the next few days after a change, just in case.

  • avatar

    It doesn’t take much skill to change oil, but these shops still often manage to find people who are underqualified.

    My dad used to use them in the winter, since he doesn’t have a garage.  They didn’t put enough oil in his diff and ruined it.  Of course, having SOME oil, it failed slowly, so they denied responsiblity and he had to fix it himself. He’s been DIY ever since.

    My mom still uses them.  One day, I picked her jeep up for her.  They only lubed half the zerks, and it was obvious they didn’t wipe them off before lubing them, injecting all that grime into the joints.

    They tend to use the absoloute cheapest, lowest quality oil and filters, and often won’t check to see if your car has any kind of special requirement.

    They do super quick drains.  I’ve seen them replace the drain plug after the oil stream merely starts slowing down, but before it’s stopped.  (I like to let mine drain for half an hour, but these guys could at least wait until it slows to a drip, rather than a stream)

    They usually tend to over-fill, in my experience.

    There was also some kind of hidden-camera expose a few years back about a major chain.  At multiple branches, they’d upsell all kinds of expensive services, like transmission power flushes, and then never do them.  I’ll try to find a link tonight.

  • avatar

    Quick lube shops mostly do a basic service well…but can’t and won’t go further. I use an independent here in Tampa called Lou’s…good old boys who love cars and care about what they do…when they are not working on your car they are working on their hot rods…at my last service during a tire rotation they found worn out ball joints on my 05 Focus ST with 125K..They are a little pricy on oil changes (I use synthetic) but their thouroughness makes up for it.

  • avatar

    I have found that all the Jiffy Lubes I have tried in my LA area do the same upsell thing with unecessary services.  The work is OK and I would always check what they did, but got tired of having my time wasted on the routine.  And it was infuriating to see what they would do to the other customers, mainly women.
    I think that competitors have noticed and are offering this too at dealers and independents.  Too bad; the quick in and out thing is a great idea and they are killing it for themselves.
    Have been doing my own services of this kind for years with Mobil 1, K&N filters etc. and I can stretch that oil out to around nine months before performance is affected.
    But the manual gearbox is just too hard for me to get to in my garage so I have an independent mechanic do it for me.
    Oh well.

    Too bad. I realize that most people are not comfortable doing these things themselves nor do they have a good place in which to do the work. I take the used oil to a depot in Marina del Rey since the Pep Boys etc. are not too thrilled at all to take yours from you. Everyone can buy a small compressor though to keep their tires filled properly since you can bet that any of the pros that do this just eyeball the pressure and you will have grossly overinflated tires. Even my trusted tire and suspension shop does this. They are very good so I just thank them and bleed the tires myself when I get home!

  • avatar

    The mechanic at my dealer said that the only time he sees problems with low mile Subarus is if they have been to JL.  Now I am a little worried.  I have a horror story that I am sitting on to share for a future Piston Slap.
    I don’t like changing it myself, mainly b/c I don’t know what to do with the used oil and it is a pita, and non JL’s take way too long to do it.  I have been told to leave it with them for the day, or that they can get to it sometime this afternoon.  Who has time for that?

  • avatar

    I brought a Toyota Corolla wagon into a Jiffy Lube about 20 years ago for an “all fluids” service—I declined each time I was offered a viciously delivered opportunity to buy additional services. When I realized they forgot to fill the wiper-washer fluid for the tailgate wiper, I brought it back and they insisted that such a tank did not exist. I demonstrated and they reluctantly filled it, even attempting to charge me additional since they were putting more fluid in. At that point another customer pointed out that my car was dripping oil, which it had never done before, right there in front of Jiffy Lube.  Quick inspection revealed the drain plug had been installed without a washer and at an angle, stripping the threads.  I had them top off the oil and brought it to the Toyota dealer a few blocks down where a competent mechanic set a new drain plug with washer after sorting out the threads (not sure what they did, but it worked).
    I’ve never been to Jiffy Lube since, and I’m pretty sure the guy behind me who noticed the drip hasn’t been there either.

  • avatar

    Personally, I am scared to death of CarX. Once they installed a second gasket which caused oil to come out gushing from under my car as I was driving away. A different CarX location also failed twice to report to me uneven tread wear pattern caused by bad ball joints. The problem was spotted by Midas techs first time I went there. Where I live, Midas and Firestone seem to be doing a good job at oil changes, so I am sticking with them until I find a good mechanic. In my opinion it is far better to have oil changes done by people whose main revenue comes from mechanical work, because they are the ones who are good at spotting serious mechanical problems in your steering or suspension. The minimum wage kids at Jiffy never do that. I don’t mind the fact the people at Midas or Firestone also want repairs business. They never recommended me work that I didn’t need. Their quotes can be quite horrible and change by location. They were always right on. This is one of the reasons I refuse to do my own oil changes. I am not good enough to tell mechanical problems while working underneath a jacked up car. Of course, once there is a problem, I always ask for a second opinion, and shop around. You’d be surprised how much price spread can be between two Firestone or Midas shops, 5 miles from each other.

    • 0 avatar

      PS: I also have never seen new oil that looks as dark as the one straight out of CarX shop. It turns out that they use a crappy Mobil1 blend, that’s rated for 3000 miles at most and not even available in stores. (Cheapest Mobil 1 you can buy yourself at Walmart is rated for 5000 miles). But hey! It’s only $15.99 for the oil change!

  • avatar

    I’ve had decent work done at my local Jiffy Lube, and they’ve pointed out potential problems to me without wanting to charge me money for them.
    I still prefer AAA, but my wife likes Jiffy Lube more for some reason.

  • avatar

    One of the quick change chain stores here (years ago) had an issue with the branded oil filters bursting.  I had my car at the dealership for a broken rotor and they had three cars sitting there that had been towed in and they all had the branded oil filters that had split the casing.  All three were late 80s Chrysler 4 bangers.

    • 0 avatar

      This may have been a problem with the engine oil pressure relief valve sticking – the oil filter and/or its gasket is usually the first thing to blow out. 

  • avatar

    I like to do things myself and do them when it’s convenient for me. Which means no Jiffy Lubes or dealerships for oil changes. I use a Pela extractor to do my oil changes, so I do it all above the engine (TDIs have top mounted oil filters). Takes about 20 minutes or so to fully extract the oil, so while I’m doing that I can check fluids and whatever else needs to be checked over. Then when the extraction is done, I install a fresh Mann filter and the appropriate amount of Rotella T 5W40 or M1 Turbodiesel Truck and update my maintenance spreadsheet.
    I guess it basically comes down to the fact that I don’t like idiots touching the most important part of my car.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    If you aren’t going to go the DIY route, find a local independent shop with a good reputation and people you trust, then have them do all your work including routine oil changes. You are a lot more likely to have them go the extra mile for you when you need it if you are a regular customer.

    Check out the NBC4 TV reports on Jiffy Lube scams:


  • avatar
    Jonathan I. Locker

    If I am having work done to my car, I tell my local mechanic to also do an oil change…gets it out of the way.
    But if no work is needed, I use the local Jiffy Lube.  I have a coupon and it ends up costing $25.  The thing I do like about this franchise is that they are finished in 10-15 minutes flat.  I do not know of any other mechanic shop/auto dealer that can have me in and out without an appointment that fast.  And after checking their work, I have not had nor seen any issues.

    • 0 avatar

      Doesn’t that say something. How can you do a good oil change in 10 minutes? When you have a real mechanic do it, he will also check your car out, and he knows what he’s looking for. Not some kid making minimum wage. Most independent shops like a Firestone or Midas will even offer you a better price on the service than Jiffy Lube. The reason those shops do oil changes is to stop  you from taking your car somewhere else. Jiffy Lube makes money on the oil change.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    Forget the oil stuff (I usually DIY)–just find me a place that will mount/balance/rotate my tires and actually use a proper amount of torque on the lug nuts.  Time and again whenever somebody else takes off a wheel, they use an impact wrench and the result is I have to use a breaker bar to get off the wheel the next time.  If you ever get stranded with a flat tire after one of these guys does this, forget about being able to get on the spare by yourself. Not to mention the danger of getting warped rotors.

  • avatar
    M 1

    Plus, oil pan bolts tend to leak/strip themselves after 5+ years of use.
    I can’t begin to count the number of 50+ year old cars I’ve been under on which the OEM plug still works just fine, thanks. In fact, I can’t think of a single stripped plug that I have ever actually encountered, and for various cars in my garage I’m changing out something like 48 quarts of oil annually — and easily 80+ quarts in years where I feel the urge to go play at track days.
    Zero stripped plugs.

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    I’m well past 50.  Over the years I’ve done a fair amount of work on my own cars.  Not because I really enjoy it or anything but because a: I can’t afford to have everything serviced by someone else and b: I don’t like paying for other people’s mistakes.  Back in the day I spent a fair amount of time with points and plugs and carburators and starters, etc.  My back has been giving me fits since I was just over 30.  Since cars have advanced so, there’s not nearly as much I can do.  But for crying out loud, changing the oil in your own car is the about only thing left where you can become intimate (bond) with your ride.  I will continue to change my own oil and filter until they pry the oil filter wrench form my cold, dead hands.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    I know a Marine that will refuse to ride on a single engine small plane that has no visible oil streaks on the fuselage, his point being he’d rather know there is at least some oil left.

    Quick-Lubes. Dentists. Doctors. Prostitutes. Border Guards. Lawyers. Taxi Drivers. Airlines. Presidents. You know what? Chances are we’ll get screwed by most of these, in no particular order, at some point in our lives but we have to be aware of what’s going on around us to know for sure.

    If you have to ask, you’ll get a different opinion for each time the same service is rendered.

    We happen to know what over-torquing the %$#@ drain bolt means, but we’ll never know for sure what the good doctor means when he/she writes DFKDFC in our records on the emergency room, do we?

    Point is, for every JL-type horror story there is probably thousands of stories of oblivious people that happily enjoy a stale donut while their cars got a lube job. And that is all they will ever remember about the experience.

  • avatar

    So I usually change my own oil, but living in the NorthEast, I use the neighborhood Valvoline QuickieLube for the winter oil change.  Its worth $30 to not be on my back in a driveway covered with ice and snow with my hand covered in hot oil.

    One thing that makes the trip worthwhile is that the cover of the air filter on an 11 year old Caravan is difficult to remove without a specialized tool.  So when the guy pulls out the air filter to show me how dirty it is, I smile and ask if he wouldn’t mind putting in the new filter I just happen to have here on the passenger seat. 

    That tends to minimize all the upsell attempts going forward.

  • avatar

    I used to go to JL long ago when I was in a hurry.  Now I don’t go.  Ever.  The last time I went, they damaged the air filter housing after they yanked out the filter to show me how dirty it was…

    Now I either DIY or go to my local mechanic with whom I’ve developed a trust and relationship.  It really is the best way to go.  The peace of mind that comes from cultivating a good relationship with your mechanic is like finding the right doctor, dentist, lawyer…etc.

    I only noticed a couple of days ago that my windshield wipers were replaced.  They were pretty old so it was a pleasant surprise to see fresh wipers.  A couple of weeks ago I had my car serviced to have some bushings for the stablizer bar replaced on my SUV.  Seems my mechanic was kind enough to check the wipers and change them out, free of charge.  I would never get that kind of thoughtful service from JL. In addition, the cost of an oil change from him is actually cheaper than JL (and he uses good synthetic oils) and I know he won’t scam me.  Why would I ever consider going to JL for anything?

    • 0 avatar

      I have a regular mechanic I’ve been going to for years. I started going to him when he fixed a trivial problem for a friend free of charge. He’s done similar things for me many times over the years. Turns out, now I work for him part time, doing simple time-consuming crap (like say, pulling a leaking cylinder head which turned out to be cracked) to free him up for the more complicated or difficult jobs. The irony of him paying me to do what I’ve  been paying him to do for years is not lost on either of us.

  • avatar

    My father taught me to wrench on our family fleet when I was ten. Years later, when I acquired my own car at 83K, I naturally did all my own minor and some major work on the car. Oil changes were always done on the “poor man’s lift” or rather in the gutter of the crowned street along which we lived. Nearly ten years and over 200K of owning that car, I finally got around to replacing all the seals on the engine one day in a shop with an SAE certified buddy of mine. He pulled the valve cover off my B230 and he let out a low whistle. I asked him if anything was wrong and he replied “Hell No! This thing looks brand new.”
    The one time my father took a family vehicle to JL for time’s sake and he ended up having to replace the drain plug the same day at the dealer. They had stripped it using and air wrench to tighten it down.
    My sister experienced the same thing after we noticed oil spots in her parking space at home where there had been none before. The next time she needed a change, I insisted we do it on the poor man’s lift. Turns out the Jl people had torqued her filter on so tight during the last change, I ended up needing to drive a screwdriver through the old filter to break it loose.
    The lesson to me was JL sucks more than a two bit lady of the night. Learn to do your own oil changes and buy Mann filters. Your engine will thank you.

  • avatar

    For many years I took my restored early ’60’s Mercedes Benz to a local Jiffy Lube. It tended to stick out amoungst the typical 15 year old Toyotas that they were servicing. They always fawned over the car and did great work, often with a couple extra guys inthe pit checking out the underside.

    To simplify, I would supply my own oil filters….

  • avatar

    You can buy good synthetic oil and a decent filter at wal mart and change your own oil for about the same price as taking it to a  monkey lube shop.

    • 0 avatar

      So long as you have a place to do it, yes.
      At one time I lived in an apartment complex that expressly forbade you from wrenching on your own ride. Hello Jiffy Lube…

  • avatar

    I suspect dealers employ the same people to change oil as at the quick lube places. A Honda service advisor once told me I’d have schedule an appointment when I asked that they also look a brake pads for wear during an oil change. He went on to say that he didn’t trust “those guys”. Made me want to ask, but I can trust them to change the oil?
    I’ve also arrived home and had my Jeep drip from oil due to the guy changing the oil at the dealer let the oil drip down the skid plates and didn’t clean it up.
    I now change my own oil.

    • 0 avatar

      Obviously the oil change you do yourself will always be the best. I have worked for dealers and independent shops. The larger dealers do have a kid to change the oil, but if he screwed something up there was always one of us real techs to fix it, and nobody ever used RTV to hold in a drain plug they stripped out.

  • avatar

    November 3rd, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    No kidding! It happened to us in a local indi shop run by the Russians in Brooklyn. Good god my friend found out when he tried to change the wheel bearings for us. We were shocked when he told us and thought it was a leak somewhere, but then how the hell can the coolant get to the breaks from the engine area?
    I heard that Cubans uses water in their brake system, as Brake juice is hard to come by for Civilians.
    Perhaps this Ruskie did his traning in Cuba.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    C’mon guys.
    if I were a woman living in a condo I would have someone change the oil. — The dealer who I was gonna turn the leased car over to every 3 years.
    Being a MAN with a GARAGE I have a mityvac thing and its fast and easy. 30 minutes every 20th Saturday all included except the time at Walmart buying Mobil 1 jugs and on internet ordering Mann filters.  Plus I think its fun. Otherwise I would have dealer do it just like my sisters do.
    Poke around under the hood to see what is going on while the hood is up. You can usually find some little thing to put back right or replace or top up. Pull out the dead leaves. Vacuum the airbox. Tighten clamps, look or old vacuum lines.
    Every third change, get underneath to see what is going on down there.
    Save the oil in a dedicated well labeled gas can and take it to the recycle place once a year.
    If I knew a competent mechanic, maybe things would be different.
    Where I live the money is in finance and healthcare and government so thats where smart people work. none seem to be mechanics.
    Sajeev might want to do an article on the mechanic scene in, oh, Syracuse NY vs. Boston. Grizzled expert veteran independents, vs knucklehead franchises.
    Prove me wrong about Boston and I will be thankful.

  • avatar

    Years ago, I would use the Jiffy Lubes during the winter months, as the house I had at the time didn’t come with a garage. Needless to say, I’m one of the many with stripped drain plugs and scare tactics employed upon. Also, one of those folks who swore never again. But since my last accident it’s become painful to shimmy under a car, even with it on jack stands or ramps.
    So, I use the Fast Lane at one of two GM dealers in my town. The Chevy dealer does an oil change and checks all the fluids and a general visual inspection for $25 and under 30 minutes. The PBG (now BG) dealer does the same service but adds a trip through the carwash for an additional $1. They use the good Mobil oil and I prefer the GM oil filters. Hard to beat, and it blows the $40 JL oil change (in my area) out of the water.
    I have a mechanic that I do trust, and he does all of the stuff I can’t do in my garage. AJ’s and my kids went to school together and he lives down the street from me, so he’s got incentive to do things right. To be honest, he has repeatedly gone the extra mile for me, so when my new cars come off warranty, he gets to work on them.

  • avatar

    My son was one of those high school kids working for minimum wage at Jiffy Lube.
    He now changes the oil in all our vehicles, from a 1959 Alfa Romeo to his BMW 318is.  He’s also become a pretty fine wrench when it comes to Fiat clutches or BMW wheel bearings.

  • avatar

    When in college, I recall my mom came home after a Jiffy Lube oil change and I noticed a trail of rainbow blotches coming all the way down the rain slick street and into our driveway.  I checked her Acura down in the garage and sure enough there was a growing puddle of oil on the floor.  The kid had only tightened the drain plug half-way.  If it hadn’t been a short drive my mom probably would have ran the engine dry.

    When I bought my used 190E Benz, the first time I tried to change the oil myself, I could not release the oil drain bolt.  I finally had to take it in to an indie mechanic who found the bolt and oil pan threads all stripped due to too many sloppy quickie lube oil changes.

    Although I kept my cars away from the quick lube shops, my wife was still taking her Saab there.  They top off your fluids with the cheapest stuff.  When we took a trip over the Cascades in winter, to our great alarm we could not clear the dirty windshield because the windshield washer fluid had frozen solid in the resevoir.  I had never had that happen before because I, or my mechanic, refills my car’s resevoir with anti-freeze washer fluid.  I now insist my wife take the Saab to an independent mechanic for regular fluid changes (don’t have time or facilities to do this at home any more).

    I have my trusted independent mechanic change the oil on my Mercedes 300D.  Yes, it costs a little over twice as much as a quickie lube shop.  I know that he does it right and doesn’t try to upsell me on services I don’t need.  I also consider it an automotive checkup where he’ll go over the car that I know he’s familiar with and look for any problems or update me on any upcoming maintenance needs.  It’s like my regular preventative visits to the doctor or dentist. 

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