Quick Lube Shop vs The Dealership?
By Ted Ings, Executive Director
Many consumers think they’re getting a better deal on oil changes at the quick lube shop. But are they really?
An oil change is an oil change, right? At least that’s what many consumers mistakenly believe. Little do they know, there are many ways routine service can go awry – especially at a quick lube shop.
Where to go for an oil change: a quick lube shop or the dealership?
According to some sources, nearly 65% of maintenance work is performed by non-dealership service facilities, with quick lube shop, Jiffy Lube, accounting for approximately 15% of those. Unwitting consumers flock to speedy oil change locations not knowing the problems they may encounter.
The following areas can be used to assess which is better: a quick lube shop or the dealership.
In many cases, the technicians at quick lube shops have zero automotive experience. For all you know, their last job may have been at a fast food joint. Yet they’re given wrenches and the authority to work on customer cars. Naturally, problems – such as stripped drain plugs and blown engines – often arise from such an arrangement.
Meanwhile, at the dealership, even lube technicians typically have an automotive background. The result is improved service, fewer mistakes and a better experience for both the customer and employer.
2. Customer service
You get what you pay for – and that’s why employees making minimum wage don’t provide the best customer service. Often, the service advisors, and even the managers, at quick lube shops are paid next to nothing. Consequently, they have little to no motivation to provide exemplary customer service.
At the dealership, however, most advisors earn a decent income plus commission. Working conditions are better and good performance is expected. As such, Customers service is usually much better than at a quick lube joint.
3. Parts and supplies
At quick lube shops, all cars are serviced with aftermarket filters. Plus, they often get the same weight oil regardless of the manufacturer recommendations. If a customer’s car takes 0W20 – too bad. If 5W30 is what’s on hand, that’s what the vehicle gets.
Of course, only OEM parts are used at the dealership. Also, various weights of oil are on hand so that technicians can provide the manufacturer recommended viscosity to each customer.
4. Transportation services
One of the perks of the dealership is the shuttle service available to whisk customers to and from their destination of choice. Quick lube shops don’t afford such luxuries; you either sit and wait for your car or call Lyft.
5. Waiting area
Most customers have little desire to read a year-old issue of “Wrench and Ratchet” magazine. Yet outdated (and uninteresting) reading material and stale coffee are usually what quick lube shops have to offer.
Dealerships, on the other hand, typically have a comfortable waiting area with snacks, refreshments, Wi-Fi and televisions. There’s room to spread out and get comfortable, making for a much more enjoyable experience.
6. Wait time
Most customers go to a quick lube shop because they believe it’s faster than the dealership. But that’s not necessarily true. Often, the wait at the dealer is just as short – if not shorter – than at a fast oil change location. Especially if the customer books an appointment in advance.
7. Service cost
Also, consumers perceive quick lube shops to be cheaper. Although often, that isn’t the case. Visit your local fast oil change place; you’ll likely get a surprisingly high quote for service.
8. Maintenance recommendations
All too often, quick lube shops make unnecessary recommendations. In fact, in 2016, dozens of Jiffy Lubes received a $220,000 fine and three years of probation for attempting to sell customers unwarranted service [Schaal].
Now, to be fair, there are some unscrupulous dealerships as well. But there’s one major difference: the service professionals at the dealer know what they’re looking at. Quick Lube joints recommend everything because, in many instances, they don’t know how to distinguish, say, good transmission fluid from bad. Nor do they care to learn; remember, many employees at such locations are paid minimum wage.
A car is one of the most expensive purchases anyone will make. Why take chances with service? At the dealership, consumers get trained technicians using the best parts and supplies. Plus, they typically get excellent customer service and perks without having to pay more or wait longer.