How Long Does an Oil Change Take? (Quick Lube vs Dealer vs DIY)

Keeping up with the oil changes on your vehicle is just a part of owning a vehicle, but that doesn’t make them any less inconvenient. If you’re like us, you have busy days and evenings, and the last thing you want is to take time out of your day to complete something like an oil change.

But unfortunately, oil changes are a necessary part of life, so the next best thing you can do is figure out how long it will take and schedule it into your day.

But just how long does an oil change take and how often does your vehicle really need new oil anyways?

oil change interval

How Long Does It Take To Change Oil?

If you’re getting ready to take your vehicle in for an oil change then you really want to know how much time you’ll have to take out of your day to get the job done. 

A lot of this comes down to where you take your vehicle for the oil change, which is why we highlighted three of the most common options out there for you here.

Quick Lube Shop

quick lube oil change

There are a few different quick lube shops out there, but whether you go to Jiffy Lube or another drive-through oil change service, you should expect to get in and out within 30 minutes or less. Of course, the big variable here is the potential wait.

These services typically don’t take appointments, and because of this it’s possible to get stuck waiting behind a couple of cars that are there for the same reason you are. But if you can find a time when there’s no wait this is easily the fastest way to complete an oil change.

Dealership or Repair Shop

hybrid oil change cost

The great thing about taking your vehicle to a repair shop or a dealership for an oil change is that you can make an appointment before you show up. This eliminates any potential wait times that you might experience at other locations.

However, if you take your vehicle to a dealership or a typical repair shop, like AAMCO, you still might end up waiting for about an hour until they complete the job. And it’s not that they can’t complete the oil change faster, it’s that they do more than just change the oil.

Typically, a dealership or a typical repair shop will complete an inspection on your vehicle when you take it in, and this helps them catch any minor problems before they have the chance to develop into something more serious.


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A lot of this comes down to your experience level and what you drive, but we’d allow an hour for most DIY oil changes. That’s because for most vehicles, you’ll need to drive the front wheels on ramps (or jack up the front end and get the vehicle on jack stands), and then drain out all the fluids yourself.

Not only that, but you’ll need to drive the old oil to a disposal point (most auto parts stores will take used oil), and the exact amount of time that takes all depends on how close you live to somewhere that will dispose of it for you!

This will be the most affordable option, but it has the potential to take the longest and you’ll have to do the work yourself.

See Also: 10 Cheapest Places to Buy Motor Oil

Factors That Affect Oil Change Times

waiting for car meme

While we highlighted the average time frames above, keep in mind they are estimates and a few different things that can affect how long it takes a mechanic to complete an oil change for your vehicle.

We’ve highlighted four different things that can affect the amount of time it takes to complete an oil change here.

#1 – What Else the Mechanic Checks

looking in engine

You only want an oil change for your vehicle, but often a mechanic will take the time to look over everything else on your vehicle to ensure it’s still in good shape. This way they can potentially catch problems while they’re small, and they can give you a heads-up if your vehicle will need other work soon. Just be careful that a sketchy mechanic doesn’t use this for their benefit.

It’s a perk of taking your vehicle to a more robust shop, so take advantage of it and let them look over your vehicle to ensure everything is still in good working order.

Related: How to Avoid 4 Common Oil Change Scams

#2 – The Mechanic’s Skill Level

While this isn’t the biggest factor when it comes to how quickly a shop can complete your oil change, it certainly plays a role. Some mechanics simply have a knack for knocking out jobs faster than others.

But keep in mind that just because a mechanic is doing the job faster than another mechanic that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a better mechanic. You want the job done right and you don’t want someone that cuts corners to knock more work out.

#3 – The Shop Setup

oil pit change

The reason quick lube shops like Firestone can get your vehicle in and out faster for an oil change than a dealership has nothing to do with the skill levels of the mechanics. It has to do with the fact that the shop there is specifically for fast oil changes.

They set up everything to make the process as fast as possible, and since they don’t do other types of work they can specialize the shop specifically for the fastest possible oil changes. This makes a big difference when it comes to getting the job done faster.

All things considered, changing oil from an under vehicle service pit is going to be quicker than getting a car on a lift.

#4 – Other Customers

You’re not the only person out there that needs to complete an oil change on their vehicle, and if you take your vehicle to a busy repair shop then you might need to wait until they can get to your vehicle.

So, while your oil change might only take 30 to 60 minutes, if there are another three or four cars in front of yours then you might have to wait a few hours before they even start working on your vehicle.

Before heading out, check the Google Business page for the service location you plan on visiting. There, you should see a breakdown of the busiest days and times for that location. If your schedule allows it, avoid those days and times.

How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

While some oil change shops still swear by the “3,000 miles or 3 months” mantra, it’s in your best interest if you ditch that line of thought sooner rather than later.

One of the most important things when determining how often you should change your oil is the type of oil you’re using. We’re not talking about Valvoline or Pennzoil here, we’re talking about conventional, synthetic, or blends.

While you should always try to stick with your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service intervals, below are some general oil change intervals depending on the type of oil you use. Always ensure you’re using a high-quality oil filter that can match the oil change intervals for the type of oil you’re using.

Common Oil Change Intervals

Oil TypeMileageTimeframe
Recycled3,000 miles3-6 months
Conventional5,000 miles6 months
Synthetic Blend7,500 miles6-9 months
Full Synthetic10,000 miles9-12 months

Related: How Often Should You Change Synthetic Oil?

What Can Happen If You Don’t Change Your Engine Oil?

If you want your vehicle to keep running mile after mile and year after year, it’s critical that you keep up with the oil changes. But what exactly can happen if you don’t complete the oil changes on your vehicle when you should?

To understand this, you really need to know what engine oil does for your vehicle. It has a few different beneficial properties and those are: reducing friction, removing heat, preventing wear and tear, removing contaminants, and preventing rust and corrosion.

As oil gets older, it gets less effective at its job, meaning more contaminants will work their way through the engine, components will wear out faster, and the engine can overheat.

Read Also: 10 Signs Your Vehicle Needs an Oil Change

It’s hard to say what will give out first, but if you don’t keep up with oil changes, different components will fail, and it’s possible your engine will overheat. You might not even notice the damage right away if you don’t change the oil at the right intervals.

Different components will wear out a little more each time as the oil ages, and you’re more likely to experience problems later down the road.

Adam Mann

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