change-oil“Can you do an oil change for me?” is one of the most frequently asked questions here and it requires some explanation:

  1. Yes, of course, I can do an engine oil and filter change. This is one of the simplest jobs in automotive business and I am perfectly capable and qualified to do it.
  2. No, unfortunately, I can not offer the oil change at a lower price than a quick lube place or some other shops. I understand that customers might expect every type of service to cost less at AB automotive since you see the shop labor rate is lower here than in most other shops. Nevertheless, quick oil change service is a different business model that I can’t implement at this stage.
  3. Quick lube shops business is built on bulk sales, aggressive up-sell tactics, cheap non-qualified workforce and different set up of the working processes than an automotive general repair and maintenance shop. This is why the quick lube chain can offer you a low-cost oil change and still make a profit.
  4. Some or probably even most of the other repair shops and dealerships might offer you an oil change at the same or even lower price points than quick lube shops. This might be done by setting up a quick line shop area or it might be done as a “loss leader” job. These shops, indeed, are losing money on each oil change in order to retain existing customers or attract new customers. I can not afford to spend my time on jobs that are not profitable or making a loss for my business. In order to be able to do this, I will have to increase the pricing point for all the other jobs. Basically, in this situation customers who have a need for more complex work will subsidize those who are coming for an oil change. In my opinion, this business practice is not entirely honest. Instead of doing that, I prefer to offer better-priced options for the high-quality work and more complex jobs.
  5. Also, in my opinion, the European model of regular maintenance for private vehicles is much better than North-American one. I admit,  there are technical benefits in more frequent oil changes in North America. Nevertheless, under the European maintenance model, every vehicle gets an attention of fully qualified technician once a year or more often. This helps to keep vehicles in more reliable and safe technical condition. In a long run, this results in reduced running costs and better reliability and by that offsets the higher cost of regular oil changes and maintenance.
  6. For these reasons, AB automotive now offers the oil changes only included in Full Service – the same service as you will get in good garages in Europe, at the same price. How do I know that for sure? I came to Canada from Europe and I have a history of developing a regular service menu pricing and procedures in one of the Nissan dealerships in Ireland as an assistant service manager – and then as a shop technician, I’ve been working in accordance to the developed procedures.
  7. Full Service at AB automotive includes the multipoint technical and safety inspection, brakes and lights check, tires check, rotation and air pressure adjustment, fluids levels and condition check and vehicle technical condition report listing all the items that found in need of attention.
  8. The total cost of the Full Service, with tax, varies from one vehicle to another and falls into the region of $150 – $250, depending mostly on the oil type and capacity, and the price of the oil filter for the vehicle in question. Feel free to ask for the estimate in advance for your vehicle!
  9. I only stock, recommend to use and use for my own vehicles synthetic oils because it is much superior to any regular oil and contributes dramatically to engine longevity and reliability.
  10. I also use only the higher grade oil filters, it would be either OEM filter or NAPA Gold or Platinum series filter. They are pretty much equivalent in quality and price but the OEM filter would be recommended if your vehicle is still under the manufacturer’s warranty.
  11. Label1With every Full Service, you will get a sticker under the hood clearly showing the mileage and date at which the oil change has been done as well as the oil brand and grade used for it. The recommended oil change interval depends on the conditions and mode of the vehicle operation. Never exceed oil change interval recommended by the vehicle manufacturer or indicated by the oil change indicator (message or light on the dash). Shorter intervals are always better but unless you a spend a lot of time in heavy traffic or leave the engine idling for prolonged periods of time going below 5000 km oil change interval is likely to be an overkill and unnecessary expense.

*As an exception from this policy, engine oil and filter change might be included, at lower cost, if combined with other work that requires the vehicle to be put on a lift and takes 1 hour or more.

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