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Bargain Oil Changes

    Are bargain oil changes really a bargain? There's at least one person who says no.
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In the last few weeks I have received a few letters relating horror stories about these fast oil change stores that are popping up all over the place. The last one I got a few days ago relates a particularly horrifying tale. It seems this lady took her car to a Jiffy Lube in Mill Valley California and they made a small mistake. They did the regular service and they installed the wrong oil filter on her car. She drove about 25 miles and her oil light came on. She pulled over and had her car towed to her mechanic who pronounced her engine D.O.A. The oil had been pumped out and destroyed the engine.

She had the facts documented and went back to the Jiffy Lube and they admitted their mistake and offered to replace her engine with a used engine or pay her $4.000.00 cash. This is, naturally, of great concern to her. She had a well-maintained engine with 83,000 miles on it and could reasonably expect another 80,000 miles out of it. A used engine is an unknown quantity. You don't know how many miles are on it and you don't know how well it was maintained. And to accept $4000.00 for a car with a retail value of $7500.00 is a little unfair, at least to me.

At present she is still doing battle with them and hopefully they will do the right thing by her.

This is not an isolated incident, this happens more often then people think. I myself have replaced several engines that were ruined by a fast oil change place. I have also seen stripped oil drain plugs, cars that were short on oil and oil filters wiped clean and not replaced. I remember one customer of mine that took his car to a fast lube place just before coming in for a tune up. I did the tune up and I saw the oil filter and asked when was the last time the oil and filter was changed. He told me the day before at the local fast oil change place. I said I don't think so and he looked at me and asked me why I didn't think so. I pointed to the oil filter and said they do not use Toyota oil filters.

In our society today we look for the quick and easy way of doing things and getting things done. We go through a drive thru for dinner, we go through a drive thru to do our banking and I have seen dry cleaners with drive thrus. There is even a funeral parlor that has a drive thru. So is it surprising that we can go through a drive thru to get our oil changed? No, in fact our society demands it.

In general they do a decent job. They can get you in and out rather quickly and that's what most people want. But is it really such a good thing? Personally I don't think so. In order to make money, they have to do quite a few oil changes a day. They also count on selling you other services as well. In it self not a bad thing, but some of these places can be less than honest.

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Additional Information provided courtesy of
ALLDATAdiy.com and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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