An oil change is one of the essential maintenance any driver should do at some point. While most people know about what oil change is, several people, wonder how long an oil change take?
Understanding the time it takes a professional mechanic to perform your vehicle’s oil change is very important because the repair costs are the money you pay and the time you wait. In contrast, your vehicle’s oil change is done.
Thus, by knowing what takes longer for the oil change process, doing it yourself, or having a professional mechanic do it, you will decide where exactly to have the oil change done.
This article provides you with detailed information about the oil change, the time it takes, and additional information on cost estimates.
Why does my vehicle need an oil change?
Every engine requires a certain amount of oil to provide the operating lubrication and reduce its temperature.
As your engine’s oil gets older, it picks up particles and contamination, reducing its functionality.
When your engine runs on low or bad oil, the engine’s internal moving parts wear out against each other, resulting in a significant increase in the engine’s temperature.
The higher the temperature, the higher the risk of engine failure due to self-destruction.
To avoid these problems, every vehicle needs an oil change once every specific period, as specified in its owner’s manual. If you don’t have a copy of your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you can request a copy from your local professional mechanic or download a soft copy from the internet.
How long does an oil change take?
Determining the time it takes to change your vehicle’s oil depends on the location you get the job done and your vehicle’s structure. If you decide to change your oil, it takes you way shorter than having it done at a professional repair shop, assuming you have the required mechanical skills, and this is not your first time changing your vehicle’s oil.
Even repair shops might vary in the time they take to change your engine’s oil. For instance, quick lube shops perform oil change every day; and their overall process is relatively quick.
Several experts recommend changing your vehicle’s engine’s oil at one of these lube repair shops rather than doing it yourself if you are concerned about the repair time.
If we talk in numbers, general repair shops take around 45 minutes, while the lube repair shop might take about 15 minutes, assuming no backlogs of customers coming before you.
Surprisingly, most DIY oil changes take between 30 and one hours longer than any waiting time at a repair shop. Furthermore, most automotive experts suggest that DIYs do not go right the first time you try it. Thus, if this is your first time changing your vehicle’s oil, expect not only to take longer but also not to get it right the first time.
Your vehicle’s structure might be a critical variable for how long it takes for an oil change. This is because oil change requires accessing both the drain plug and the oil filter, and if the mechanic doesn’t have good access to these items, it will take him significantly longer time than other vehicles.
Why do quick lube shops take a shorter time than other repair shops for an oil change?
It is not surprising that quick lube shops take a shorter time to get your oil change than other repair shops. This is because these quick lube shops are set up to perform oil change only. These shops do not need any previous setting up for the work station and expect that all customers are here just for an oil change, which reduces the time you need to spend registering and for them to do office work.
On the other hand, other repair shops do not only do an oil change, but they might also do other basic repairs along with your oil change like tune-ups, tire pressure checks, coolant level measures, and others.
Therefore, when you visit a regular repair shop, they have to spend some time determining and recording all the services you are interested in. as a result, they might need to change the shop’s set up slightly to accommodate other repairs.
Therefore, when thinking of an oil change and the associated time with it, it is important to keep in mind your goal of the repair shop visit; would you like additional routine repairs, or are you just going for the oil change? If that latter is your goal, then you need to visit a regular repair shop even if it takes you longer. On the other hand, if the later is your goal, a quick lube shop might be a better option for you.
Should I change my oil to get the job done faster?
If you are looking to save money on oil change, then, yes, changing your oil is the best option for eliminating labor costs.
However, if you are looking to save time on the oil change, it’s not recommended to change your oil, as we mentioned earlier. DIYs do not work the first time, and even if you changed your vehicle’s oil before, it would still take you close to an hour to get the job done.
When should I change my vehicle’s oil?
Changing your vehicle’s oil varies by your car’s make, model, and year. That been said, automotive experts suggest changing your engine’s oil around 3,000 miles or once every three months.
This frequency is just a suggestion, and if you are looking for accurate frequency for a certain vehicle, we recommend you refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual. There should be specified frequencies in the manual for an oil change and other routine repairs.
It is also important to note that sometimes you might need to change your vehicle’s oil more often, especially if you drive in rough or unpaved environments where your vehicle picks up more contaminations and other foreign particles.
On the other hand, the 3,000 miles might be very soon for your vehicle if you don't drive it very often or only drive on clean, paved city roads.
The frequency of changing your oil also depends on the type of oil you are using. For instance, if you use synthetic oil, you can wait up to 10,000 miles. However, synthetic oil is much more expensive than regular oil. Therefore, automotive experts do not recommend using synthetic oil unless your vehicle’s owner’s manual asks you to do so.
Can I drive my car without an oil change?
Answering this question depends on how long you waited after the last oil change; if it is just a couple of miles, you might be able to drive your car to the nearest repair shop.
However, it’s been a long time after your last oil change, driving your vehicle in this situation is a big risk, and you are just sacrificing your vehicle’s engine.
With bad oil, there is usually a bad oil filter. As a result, your engine will not receive the right amount of oil to lubricate and cool down its internal moving parts. When these parts don’t get lubricated, they generate a lot of heat due to friction, which raises your engine’s temperature.
Your engine must operate within a specific range of temperature, and if the engine’s temperature rises too much, your engine is most likely to get damaged.
Therefore, if you feel you don’t have time or think it's not worth the money to do an oil change now, think about the time and effort you will spend to repair your engine.
What is the best engine oil for my vehicle?
In every vehicle’s owner’s manual, there are specifications about the right oil to be used. These specifications usually tell you the right oil’s viscosity like a 5W-20 or the 10W-30.
Therefore, it’s better to start with your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more accurate information.
The oil change is one of the most common repairs that any driver had to do at some point. It is important to understand the period it takes for an oil change. This way, you can make an informed decision about whether to take your vehicle to a professional repair shop or do it yourself.
According to most automotive experts, changing your engine’s oil by yourself takes the most time among all other options you have of around one hour.
On the other hand, getting your oil change done at a quick lube shop takes the shortest time among all the other alternatives you have. These quick lube repairs take as short as 15 minutes, assuming there is no backlog of people waiting for the job before you.
Despite the alternative you chose to get your vehicle’s oil changed, you must not ignore changing your oil at the right time to avoid damaging your engine due to overheating.