The downside of cheap oil changes

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 2:20 PM CDT
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Many of us are trying to save money on our car repair these days, and one way to do that is to look around for cheap oil changes, maybe $19 with a coupon.

But those budget changes come with some risks.

Ashley Ziegler opened the hood of her Ford Explorer that she says she has babied since buying it new in 2017.

“I just had the oil changed,” she said, while pulling the dipstick to show it’s covered with clean oil.

But that apparently wasn’t enough for her extended warranty company.

Despite paying over $3,000 for protection for up to 100,000 miles, she had to shell out almost $5,000 more for a repair to a failed turbocharger.

“They denied the entire claim,” she said. “They said there was not enough proof of oil changes because we don’t always have the oil changes done at the dealership.”

She had taken it to various shops for oil changes, and did not have every receipt.

“They came back and said that’s not good enough and we need every single receipt for every single oil purchase and filter purchase from 2017,” she said.

Another downside of cheapie oil changes: damage to your car.

Crystal Wheeler will never forget what happened while she was driving home from an oil change.

“I was terrified,” Wheeler said. She said she had just gotten the oil changed when her hood flew up as she was getting onto the highway. “I’m like I gotta get off this highway, and my daughter is screaming,” Wheeler said.

Crystal said she couldn’t look through the windshield because the hood was all the way up. Instead, she had to look out the side window to drive home.

After an oil change, if something doesn’t look right, sound right, or an engine light is on, shut it off immediately.

Damage? Take pictures, and file a claim. Lawyers say most major shops will cover damage they caused to your car, if there is enough proof that they did it.