Car Oil Change Places – What You Should Know

In the cooler weather I prefer to bring my car to a local oil change place. The good thing is you don’t have to get under the car, you don’t need tools and you don’t need to buy the stuff because it’s included in the price. 

It’s important to know what type of oil is actually in your car. It should be listed in your owner’s manual under oil or specifications

It’s also important to know that they are required by their employer to check all your fluids and the pressure in your tires. They may want to see you something (which is called an upsell) like a new air filter, cabin filter (similar but different and more expensive), or anything else.

If they say you need something specific, have someone you trust that knows how to do that double-check it. If you don’t need it, don’t get it. You are NOT required to spend anymore than you need to. 

Types of Oil

Conventional oil is just the regular stuff that you can buy over the counter.  It needs to be changed between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. 

Synthetic oil varies depending on if your vehicle has the half conventional/half synthetic or completely synthetic oil.  

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Sometimes when you read a bottle oil synthetic oil it will say between 5,000 and 7,500 miles or more depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Also, the automotive industry says that vehicles over 75,000 miles is considered high mileage. There is oil available for these older vehicles. 

Check the owner’s manual for details. If it isn’t there, call the service department at the dealer with the VIN number and find out what you need to know. 


Oil capacities vary from vehicle to vehicle. My fiance had a 2003 Mercury Sable and the owner’s manual stated that it needed 6 quarts of oil.  The oil change place kept only putting 5 quarts in. 

My 1995 Ford Taurus Wagon requires 5 quarts of oil. I always check my owner’s manual to be sure before I go to get the oil changed. I was a half quart short this last time.

Check the Oil After the Change

This is your CYA  (cover your ass) policy. Once you know how much oil your car is supposed to have pull out of the oil change area and into a parking spot. 

Wait a couple of minutes and then use an old cloth or paper towel and check the oil dipstick (if you still have one of those). 

It has to be at the top of the marked area of the dipstick for it to be full. If it isn’t and especially if you just paid out a bit of cash to have it done. Ask them to fill it the rest of the way. 

I spoke to someone from the auto parts store and customers whom I would deal with when I worked in the parts store,  and they mentioned that they ended up blowing up the engine in their car because there wasn’t enough oil in there once it was changed. (Not that this is true, but you must rely on yourself to double-check the oil after the change.)

Oil Light is ON

If your oil light is on the car, you need at least 2 quarts of oil. You will need to check the oil yourself or ask someone to help you read the dipstick. 

Never assume that the car is fine with the oil light on. It could be some other problem. If you check the oil and it’s up to the top of the line on the stick, then take your car to your local mechanic and have it looked at. 


I hope this article helped you in some way.  Please feel free to leave a question, comment or suggestion below.  Did you enjoy the article?

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