How to Avoid an Oil Change Scam

How to Avoid an Oil Change Scam

by Leslie Freeland, July 19, 2018

Do You Really Need All Those Extra Services?

Your little red light is on, and it’s that time again — time to get an oil change. You usually like to go to the shop that’s just a short distance from your home or work, but today, construction is keeping you from getting there. You need to find another place, and fast — that little light has been on for a week now!

You drive around or Google additional locations and find a place that can get the job done, but be aware of these few things that they may try to offer you – services you may not actually need.

These small things can add up fast, and many times, you don’t even need them.

Here are a few phrases a mechanic might tell you to get you to spend more money than you have to.

1. “Your oil is too dirty – you should come back sooner next time.”

One way mechanics make their money is when they tell you to come back for an oil change prematurely. The only place that can tell you exactly when you need a new oil change is your owner’s manual. Though some vehicles may require a change every 3,000 miles, many vehicles may only require them every 5,000 or more.

2. “While you’re here, we should flush everything.”

One way a mechanic may scam you is by telling you that all of the other liquids in your vehicle need to be flushed. They might suggest that they flush your power steering reservoir, your coolant, or any number of other fluids under the hood. Many people say if your vehicle has under 100,000 miles on it, it may be unlikely that you need a flush. But if you want to go ahead with the service – and it’s pricey – get a second opinion before you spend.

3. “You should get a new air filter with every oil change.”

This is a common scam that mechanics may try to lay on you. Your air filter does get dirty. However, it’s highly unlikely that you need a new one every single time you get your oil changed. Again, it’s a great idea to consult your owner’s manual because it can really save you cash in terms of paying to change out parts that aren’t due to be changed. Also, depending on your individual use of your car, you may actually need a frequent filter change: for example if you go off-roading frequently. The point is, don’t just blindly take a mechanic’s word on this. If it’s fairly inexpensive, go for it, but if it costs a lot, you should probably get a second opinion.

4. “You’re due for new brakes.”

Unless it’s a mechanic you really trust, many will try to sell you brakes when it’s not really time for them. Many places just specialize in oil changes – so definitely get a second opinion if one of these places say you need new brakes.

There is a pattern here…

The main way you can get scammed while getting an oil changed is to be told you need many additional services that you may not actually need. If the repair is fairly inexpensive, you can go ahead and get the service done without too much regret, but if it’s expensive, you might want to consider getting a second opinion – especially from a place that specializes in the add-on service.

For example, you can go to a tire specialist if the oil change mechanic says you need new tires or a brake specialist if they say you need new brakes.

If cost is not an issue – then you can just get all the recommended repairs and services. It never hurts to always have brand new filters and fresh fluids at all times. It’s just probably not needed.




Asurea offers Life Insurance, Mortgage Protection Life Insurance, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Final Expense Insurance, Disability Insurance, Long-term Care Insurance, Retirement Planning products and more. For additional information, click on the ‘Learn more’ button below. Want to have articles just like this delivered to your inbox? Just enter your email address in the box below and click ‘Subscribe.’

This information is provided for general consumer educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.


Leslie Freeland

Leslie Freeland

Marketing Communications Coordinator at Asurea
Leslie joined Asurea as the Marketing Communications Coordinator in February 2015. Since then, she has been working closely with insurance professionals to educate the public on the importance of life insurance and protect the public from common scams with informational articles.
Leslie Freeland

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