How Much Does An Oil Change Cost?

How much does an average oil change cost? What about a synthetic oil change? Here's the ultimate guide to ensure you don't get ripped off.

Changing oil is one of the most important things for maintaining your car.

This guide will go through everything you need about engine oil, including when to change it, how much it costs, and other best practices.

When it comes to cost, an oil change typically costs between $50 and $150, and a variety of factors impact the price.

Some factors include where you change the oil, what car you drive, and what oil you use.

Find out everything about changing engine oil down below!

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Oil Change Cost

Oil Change

The cost of an oil change varies greatly depending on various factors. In short, the factors that affect the price the most are the following:

  • Location
  • Type of shop
  • Car model
  • Type of oil

Each of these contributes to the price of an oil change and can be the difference if the total will be $80 or $150.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors.


Smart phone with map gps navigation application on the screen

The geographical location of the shop affects the oil change cost. The price may vary between states, cities, or even parts of the city.

The reason is straightforward; the shop is affected by the market as it must pay rent or mortgage and the wages of the mechanics.

Consequently, a place that offers oil change will be more expensive in LA than in Idaho, for example.

Type Of Shop


Another significant factor is the type of shop you are changing your oil at.

A dealership will virtually always be the most expensive option, they know your car best, and you may perhaps be eligible for an extended warranty for your car, depending on their policy.

On the other hand, you have shops like Walmart that offer very cheap oil changes.

It is worth contemplating why a shop is cheap. Do they use quality oil? Do they put enough oil? Are they trying to upsell?

While these things are not exclusive to cheap shops, it is more common that some corner-cutting is done.

Car Model

Row of different used cars

The car you drive is a massive factor in how much an oil change will cost.

Firstly, the size of your engine is generally correlated with how much oil is needed to be filled.

Also, some cars are troublesome to access the oil filter, which should always be changed together with an oil change. This will consequently lead to more work, hence a more significant expense.

Some (usually exotic) cars have several different oil plugs and unique ways to drain the oil, which will affect the labor cost.

Type Of Oil

5W 20 vs 5W 30 Motor Oil

Most cars use fully synthetic oil, which is generally more expensive than traditional mineral-based oil.

There is also semi-synthetic oil that is available on the market.

If you have the option to go for fully synthetic oil, you should do it. Even though it might be more expensive, the benefits outweigh the cost.

Change The Oil Yourself

Engine oil

Changing the oil is relatively easy to do. In short, all that must be done is drain the oil sump by loosening up a bolt, changing the oil filter, and adding new oil.

Many people opt to change the oil themselves due to the cost savings and the easy process.

When it comes to cost, a DIY oil change will reduce the cost by at least $20, but that number is usually greater.

While you do need some specialized tools and information, there is most probably a tutorial on YouTube or a forum guiding you on how to change the oil for your particular car model.

To give an example of how the process of changing oil looks like, take a look at this short video:

Why Is It Important To Change The Oil?

If you are considering defying the maintenance schedule to save time and money, you should think twice.

Changing motor oil is fundamental to making your engine work well and keeping the components in good shape for a long time.

Oil lubricates the engine parts and needs to be in good shape.

A blown head gasket will make oil mix with coolant, which is basically just water and glycol, yet the effect of it mixing can be detrimental to the engine.

The same goes for oil that has not been changed for a while. While it lubricates the engine, it also gets contaminated with dirt and debris and consequently loses the ability it was designed for.

Therefore, to lubricate the engine adequately and effectively, it is essential to change the oil regularly.

It should also be mentioned that using a quality oil filter will help the oil last longer; just make sure the oil filter is compatible with your car.

How Often Should You Change Oil?

Signs Your Car Needs An Oil Change

There is no consensus on how often you should change the oil. Instead, the best thing would be to check your car’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.

As synthetic oil is almost standard throughout the market due to its superiority, most manufacturers recommend that the oil is changed every year or every 7,000 – 20,000 miles.

There has been some debate if it is really good to let your car run 20,000 miles before an oil change. To be on the safe side, you should probably use the more conservative aspect of the spectrum.

It should also be pointed out that your driving habits could determine how often you should change the oil.

If you are used to driving short distances and avoid highway driving, you should look to change the oil more often if you are following the miles threshold.

Except for spending more time and money, there is no harm in changing oil more frequently. Changing the oil early is much better than changing it late.


Man service mechanic maintenance inspection service maintenance

Changing your oil is one of the, if not the most important, things to do when it comes to maintaining the car.

A good oil will lubricate the engine parts and make them work smoothly and, at the same time, improve the longevity of the parts and also the engine.

The cost of changing the oil yourself costs as much as the oil and filter, which in most cases is around $30 to $60, depending on your car model and type of oil and filter used.

It would be best to always opt for fully synthetic oil unless otherwise specified by the car manufacturer.

Synthetic oil is more effective and lasts longer, making it superior to its competitors. Also, remember to change the oil filter and use a high-quality one.

Letting a third party do your oil change can be much more costly, around $60 to $150, depending on the labor rate (which depends on the location and whether it is a dealership).

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Bajro Muric

Bajro is an ASE-certified master technician and car enthusiast with a love for writing and teaching. He writes about anything regarding cars, from common problems and fixes to racing.