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Are there advantages go getting your car's oil changed at the dealership from which you purchased the car versus a "quick change" place like Jiffy Lube or Wal-Mart? I've used all three, and I feel the car is treated better at the dealer. Wal-Mart tends to leave a mess (oil in the seats, carpet, etc.)

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3 Answers

Honestly, I have worked at three different types of places.

  • First, it was aquick lube place in California. These can be good, if they have good management. The bad comes in when you have bad management, and they can "sell" things and not do them. These focus mostly on services they sell, and really glance at all other things.
  • Second, it was a place like Sears/Midas, this place offers a wider range of services/repairs. I believe these places are more worthy of your trust, as the chain is large and customer service is important as even one bad report can really damage their image. Again, they don't usually look at your whole vehicle, but glance at it a little more in depth.
  • Finally, I worked at a BMW dealership. I found that the vehicle here is looked at deeper, as mechanics get paid by the job. There is no pay without work, but sometimes this means you get "hassled" at the dealer. Also, it is very dependent on your mechanic/location, if the place is full of dirt bags you will have a bad experience.

My honest opinion is that you find aplace, and get to know the people. The more a mechanic knows your car, the easier it is to "treat" it; look at it like a family doctor. The type of place really is irrelevant, it is the people in it that matter. You can have great service from a quick lube place, and really mediocre service from a world class dealer. In my experience, investigate the people and see if they earned your work again.

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Your thoughts on getting the oil changed by a dealer that's not your car's make (e.g., a Ford getting its oil changed at a Toyota dealer)? –  RHPT Jan 5 '12 at 5:56
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@RHPT Shouldn't be a problem. The only thing I strongly recommend to get done at the dealer is out of the norm repairs, but regular maintenance can be done at most qualified places. –  FossilizedCarlos Jan 5 '12 at 18:37
    
I would add, avoid anywhere that leaves oil on your seats or carpet - that just reeks of a mechanic who doesn't care about the job he's doing! –  Nick C Apr 12 '12 at 10:34
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I used to have the oil changed at a dealer since they would grease the front end while they were at it, but my rides have old-fashioned steering gear.

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Advantage being that if they spot a problem while doing the oil change that they are a LOT more likely to have appropriate parts on hand. A non-dealer shop would have to source the parts, adding more time to the job (and possibly even another trip to the shop).

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