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Regular oil changes are a key maintenance service for cars and trucks. The cost of an oil change — typically between $50 and $100 — will vary depending on your vehicle, servicer and location. Like gas and auto insurance, drivers should factor this expense into the cost of owning a vehicle.
What is the average cost of an oil change?
Based on 2023 pricing data aggregated by Yelp, the average cost of an oil change in the United States is $66. However, many factors can drive your price up or down.
A vehicle’s year, make and model are all contributing factors in the cost of an oil change. Most vehicles require a specific type of oil — conventional, synthetic blend, synthetic or high-mileage — and each type comes at it own price point. Conventional oil is usually the least expensive, while full synthetic costs the most. Generally, the larger a vehicle is, the more time and oil it will require, driving up the cost of supplies and labor.
Your geographic location can also impact oil change cost. Drivers in high cost-of-living areas may expect to pay more. Where you choose to have your car serviced can also make a big impact — for instance, bringing it to the dealer versus a local mechanic’s shop.
For example, one of the most popular cars on American roads is the Honda Accord. According to pricing information from Kelly Blue Book’s Repair Pricing tool, if you live in Denver, Colorado, an oil change on a 2021 Accord should run between $66 and $99 total. Someone living in New York City might pay between $72 and $108.
Independent mechanics typically charge less than dealerships.
Most prepaid vehicle maintenance plans include oil changes. If you purchased one of these plans, check the policy and read the fine print. Though heavy repairs are not usually covered, oil changes at your car’s dealer may be included.
Say no to unecessary add-ons
Servicers offer many additional services alongside the basic oil change. Many shops offer these services at a discounted price when you purchase them in combination with an oil change.
The frequency at which you’ll need these maintenance services will vary depending on your driving habits and your car’s make and model. Check your car’s manual to see what additional services are needed and at what intervals before paying for any add-ons.
- Tire rotation: This service is sometimes included with an oil change, or you may be able to score it for free wherever you purchased your tires. There may be an fee of $30 or more to add this service if it’s not included.
- Cabin air filter change: Costs usually run between $50 and $100, including parts and labor. You may be able to save money by changing the cabin filter yourself. A replacement generally costs between $20 and $30.
- Engine air filter change: Paying a professional to do this can cost between $50 and $80. You can also save yourself the cost of labor (in the neighborhood of $15 to $30) by buying the filter and replacing it yourself.
- Windshield wipers: While you may be able to get your wipers replaced with an oil change, it may be less expensive to do on your own. Parts and labor for a wiper replacement both typically cost between $55 to $70, but a pair of standard blades by themselves run around $40 to $60, depending on the brand.
- Fluid checks: Your mechanic may take the opportunity to check the levels of various fluids, including your car’s wiper fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and others. Topping off may result in additional charges or may be included.
- Blinkers, lights and cameras: If your servicer offers a multi-point inspection with your oil change, they may check the working condition of your vehicle’s blinkers, lights and cameras.
Save by changing your own oil
Changing your own oil can consistently save you money, and it only takes between 30 and 60 minutes to tackle. Assuming you have the tools to change your own oil, learning how to DIY this service is relatively straightforward. Online tutorials abound if you want to learn how, often including video instruction to help.
Sticking with the example of a 2021 Honda Accord, buying your own oil (in this case, fully synthetic) will cost around $20 to $30 for 5 quarts. A standard oil change on the 2021 Accord will include between 3.7 and 5.1 quarts of synthetic oil, with capacity depending on your car’s engine. A standard performance oil filter will likely run $10 to $20.
Because this oil itself is on the higher end of the cost range, your primary savings here will be on labor. All told, you can expect changing your own oil to save $35 to $50 in labor costs each time. If your car runs on a conventional or synthetic blend oil, you will save even more money, as the cost of the oil itself will likely be lower.
When to change your oil
Changing your car’s oil when recommended is key to keeping your vehicle running smoothly. Failing to keep up with regular oil changes can result in engine damage and, eventually, even engine failure. Remember that your car warranty may only remain in effect if you keep up with preventative maintenance.
Though mechanics once advised changing a vehicle’s oil every 3,000 miles, improved automotive technology and newer oil formulas mean longer intervals. Many newer cars can easily go between 7,500 and 10,000 miles or more between oil changes.
Synthetic oil does not break down as easily as conventional oil, meaning it can generally go longer before being changed — sometimes up to 12,000 miles.
The bottom line
When estimating car maintenance costs, your vehicle’s regular oil changes will be a factor. But they are not the most substantial maintenance cost you will encounter.
When comparing costs between servicers, look at the add-ons that may be included, with or without an additional cost attached. Scheduling regular oil changes on time will help your car run smoothly and reliably. If you are unsure of when you need your next oil change, consult your owner’s manual or ask your vehicle dealer.