How Long Does an Oil Change Take?

How Long for an Oil ChangeYou go to work for 8 hours a day, then you need to get the kids off to soccer practice and get back home in time for dinner. You might even have more to do than that! Your time is valuable and you need to plan things in order to keep from going insane so you need to know “How Long does an Oil Change Take?” There are a number of things that can affect how long it takes to change your oil, but the first is whether you are going to change it yourself or have a shop do it for you.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Oil Change? – Paying For it

There are a number of good reasons to pay somebody else to change your oil. It can be a bit messy for example and you have to dispose of the oil. You also need someplace to do it, and the proper tools. Not to mention it’s usually cheaper to have the local garage or lube shop do it anyway! So once you’ve made the decision that you want to pay somebody, you still need to know how long it takes to get an oil change.

One way to get your oil changed is to make an appointment at your local garage or dealership. If they aren’t running behind schedule due to some “unforeseen” circumstances you’re car should be taken right in. So the initial wait time should be limited. Usually it will be one of the general mechanics at the garage that will change the oil, although sometimes they have a specific lube tech. They tend to be pretty competent and won’t take a great deal of time to change your oil, although it’s not what they do all day long. Expect to wait about 30 minutes for your oil to be changed. Some garages may be done in 20 minutes. The ones that take a little longer are usually checking your other fluids as well, such as the coolant, transmission oil, even the washer fluid. The advantage here of course is that you have some peace of mind that everything is kosher with your vehicle. So the total time spent at the garage is going to be 30-45 minutes for this type of oil change.

Sometimes a speedier way to get your oil changed is to take your car to a specialty shop, sometimes referred to as a lube shop or quick lube. Many of the major brands have franchises all over the US, for example in my hometown we have a Quaker State lube shop and a Pennzoil lube shop. No appointment is necessary for this type of shop, and they usually won’t let you make one anyway. Generally it’s just walk in (I mean drive in) service. If there isn’t a long line of vehicles waiting for an oil change, this is usually your quickest option. These guys (or gals) change oil all day and are quite efficient at their jobs. In my experience you can expect to have your oil changed in less than 15 minutes.

How Long Does it take to Change Oil? – Doing it Yourself

It can be hard to guesstimate how long an oil change should take you if you are doing it yourself. Generally speaking if you’re asking the question “How long does it take to change oil”, then you’re probably a first timer or you haven’t done it for a while. It will probably take you longer the first time you change the oil than it will for subsequent times. For the purpose of this article I’m going to assume you at least have a general idea of what you are doing. That being said, there are still a few variables to consider when figuring out how much time changing your oil will take.

First of all, what kind of car do you have? I can change the oil in my Jeep in probably 20 minutes. It sits up where I don’t need any jacks or stands, I can just crawl underneath and do my business. However, my wife’s car is near impossible to change the oil in unless you jack it up or park it on ramps. This adds a bit of time to the oil change, as well as needing those tools to get the car up where you can work underneath.

Speaking of tools, being organized will save time when hunting around for the tools you need to complete an oil change. Be sure to have the proper wrenches, sockets, filter wrench, funnel, rags, and anything else you think you might need handy before starting. Having this stuff ready to go will save time and aggravation. You’ll need to add a little time for cleanup if doing the oil change yourself. After all, you’ll probably get some oil on your hands and arms. Plus, you need to empty your drain pan back into the empty oil container for proper recycling.

When all is said and done you’ll have anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour invested in your oil change. After you do a few you can probably knock that time down quite a bit. You’ll know exactly what tools you’re going to need and what to expect. Like G.I. Joe said – Knowing is half the battle!

Which is right for you?

Whether or not you choose to pay somebody to change your oil is completely up to you. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. For some cost comparison head over to this article. Paying somebody will be quicker but you have to factor in the drive time to get there and back. Then again, if you are changing the oil yourself you need to add time to go to the parts store and get the oil and filter. It’s going to come down to personal preference and your unique situation. After you change your oil, or have it changed, come on back and let us know how long it took!

Jason

Jason has been working on cars since he was 11 years old helping his dad fix up an old Jeep. Since then he's done partial rebuilds on car engines and two complete rebuilds on motorcycle engines. As an avid backyard mechanic Jason maintains and rebuilds his Jeep. Connect with Jason on Google+

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