How Long Does an Oil Change Take?

Oil changes are a necessary component of vehicle maintenance. What happens if you don’t change your oil? In that case, the oil stops effectively lubricating your engine, which can lead to overheating, engine damage, and even complete engine failure. In short, spending the time and money on an oil change periodically can save you a lot of headache and expense down the road.

Of course, getting an oil change does take time out of your day. If you have a busy schedule, you may wonder if there are ways to shave some time off this necessary automotive task. First, consider scheduling an oil change with Caliber Auto Care today.

Still wondering how long an oil change should take? Read on to learn how best to integrate it into your schedule when necessary.

How Long Does It Take for Professionals to Change Your Oil?

On average, it takes between 20 and 60 minutes to complete an oil change service. Some locations and professionals are faster than others. Some vehicles are designed in a way that makes oil changes easier to accomplish, and that can also speed up the service time.

How Long Does an Oil Change Take at a Quick Lube Location?

Quick lube shops are locations that primarily provide oil change and other fluid and lube-based maintenance services for vehicles. As such, these shops are designed for easy and quick jobs, and the technicians are typically so used to changing oil they can do the job faster than even a seasoned at-home maintenance guru. If you’re looking for the fastest way to change your oil, a quick lube shop is likely the answer.

However, there are some downsides to getting your oil changed in such a location. The technicians handling oil changes aren’t usually certified, and they aren’t adept at overall car mechanic work. That means they’re not likely to spy other potential issues with your vehicle—especially when they’re tasked with a fast in-and-out process.

Think about an oil change as you would a dental cleaning. When you go in to get your teeth cleaned, you’re there for routine dental maintenance. However, there’s some expectation that the hygienist and dentist will inspect your teeth and gums and provide recommendations about any issues that may be developing. An oil change at Caliber Auto Care offers the chance for a skilled technician to give your car a once over and provide similar recommendations to stave off problems that could become more serious down the line. However, you won’t get that from the run-of-the-mill quick lube.

How Long Does an Oil Change Take at a Dealership?

The actual time it takes a technician to change your oil at a dealership service center is probably only 20 to 30 minutes. However, these service centers are often busy with a variety of work, including warranty repairs and service related to maintenance plans the manufacturers offer.

Your vehicle might end up in a long line of other vehicles needing service. That can leave you in the waiting room for hours.

How Long Does an Oil Change Take at a Car Repair Shop?

Getting your oil changed at a vehicle repair shop, including auto body and mechanic shops that offer such services, tends to result in a time that falls between quick lube and dealership service center times.

This is because these shops can work with you to schedule service at a time when your vehicle isn’t waiting in a long line. However, the technicians will take a bit more time and care with your car or truck than you might see in a quick lube shop.

Can You Save Time With a DIY Oil Change?

If you know how to change your own oil, you may want to save time by doing it yourself. However, most people do not have the garage setup and equipment that allow them to change their oil as quickly or thoroughly as professionals. Plus, once you complete the oil change job, you have to clean up and do something with the oil you removed from your engine. That can add hassle and time that makes a professional oil change more efficient and convenient for many people.

What Happens During an Oil Change?

No matter where you get your oil changed, technicians must follow a similar process. The time and attention they spend on each part of the process depends on whether you’re working with a quick lube location or certified technicians at a mechanic shop or dealership.

Typically, the process includes:

  • Preparing the vehicle. Techs may put down paper or other temporary covers to keep your vehicle clean. They also position it in the bay so they can access the areas necessary for the oil change. In a full-service shop, techs may take some time to check your battery, wipers, lights, and other vehicle functions.
  • Draining the oil. This is typically the most time-consuming part of the job. Techs must wait while gravity drains all the old oil out of the engine, which can take 15 to 20 minutes in some cases.
  • Replacing the oil filter. Technicians usually do this while your oil is draining.
  • Adding new oil. Once all the old oil is out, techs must secure the new filter, the drain plug, and add the right amount of new oil. This takes a few minutes.
  • Finalizing the service. Technicians typically run the engine for a few minutes and check for oil leaks to ensure everything has been put back in its proper location.

What Can Cause an Oil Change to Take Longer Than Expected?

The accessibility of the oil drain plug and filter can impact how long an oil change takes. If you have a car that doesn’t have access in the normal spots, technicians may have to forgo standard procedures. This can add a few minutes or more to your oil change.

The experience of the technician also impacts how long an oil change might take. More experienced techs who have changed the oil on many similar cars tend to get through the process faster than newer techs or someone unfamiliar with your vehicle make and model.

Tips for Ensuring a Fast Oil Change

Scheduling your oil change rather than just showing up at the shop is one of the best ways to reduce how long it takes. If you show up without an appointment, even if the shop takes walk-ups, you may find yourself in line behind a number of other customers.

If you can, schedule your oil change for as early as possible in the day—you may get the fastest service when your vehicle is the first one in the shop for the day. Of course, complications can come up with working on cars. As the day goes on, all these little troubleshooting needs and time delays can add up to put auto care teams behind on their schedules. If your appointment is later in the day, you run a greater risk of these schedule issues impacting the timing of your oil change.

Scheduling your oil change at the proper time in your vehicle’s maintenance cycle can also reduce the time it takes techs to do their work. This is because it reduces the risk that mechanics may find an issue with your oil or engine when they change the oil. How often should you change your oil? Consult your vehicle's owner’s manual to find out. It ranges from 3,000 to 7,000 miles and depends on the make and model of your vehicle.

If you’re ready to experience professional, comprehensive, and fast auto care services, consider scheduling an oil change at Caliber Auto Care today.

Find a Caliber Auto Care location

Caliber Auto Care takes the place of your dealership’s service department and your local quick oil and mechanical repair shop with efficient, high-quality auto repair or maintenance services at an affordable price.

We know that scheduling car care services between work, school and play can be a hassle. That’s why we make it as easy and straightforward as possible, offering you neighborhood convenience, superior service, comfortable waiting areas or free local shuttle service and the option of staying in your vehicle for some services while we work. It’s all about meeting your needs and standing behind our work.

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