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Jiffy Lube vs Valvoline – Mechanics view

Oil is truly the lifeblood of an engine. Oils are engineered to clean, cool, and lubricate the engine and extend the durability of engine parts. The best way to care for your car’s engine is to stick to the oil change intervals and the recommended grade of oil for your car. Doing an oil change at home is one of the easiest DIY tasks to perform on your car, and ensure that you are getting the right oil and filters replaced.

Jiffy Lube does not have a favorable rating amongst consumers when compared to Valvoline Lubrication Centers. Neither Jiffy Lube nor Valvoline has a committed and loyal following.

Getting your oil and oil filter change is such an easy task that quick change centers like Jiffy Lube and Valvoline do not use trained auto technicians to do these changes. Let’s look at the oil change business a little closer.

Jiffy Lube shop front

The Quick Oil Change Industry

Oil is designed to dissolve and remove the buildup of soot and other combustion products from the engine and provide a protective layer between metal to metal parts to prevent the metal components from grinding themselves to destruction.

Oil is circulated by an oil pump throughout the cavities and lubrication lines of the engine, taking heat and dirt away from the moving parts.

When the oil becomes saturated with dissolved solids, it will become black and lose the ability to clean, cool, and lubricate. If not changed with fresh oil and oil filters, the engine will rapidly deteriorate, start burning oil and fail. Once an engine has overheated and seized up, the cost to repair is high.

The vehicle manufacturers will warrant the engine’s performance against failure if the specified oil and oil filter is replaced on or before the stipulated service intervals. Failure to comply with the scheduled oil changes will invalidate the engine warranty and leave you with a big repair bill.

The franchised dealers are forced to use the oil stipulated by the vehicle manufacturer and often branded and supplied by the vehicle manufacturer at a premium price. The oil is charged as an OE branded part number. Who questions the thirteen-digit part number appearing on their service invoice?

The Right to Repair act empowers you to purchase the oil needed to service your vehicle and supply it to the dealer workshop to use for your service as long as the oil that you purchase is of the same API specification. The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the regulatory body responsible for setting standards.

Carmakers make money by providing a commodity like oil. They have been successful in this, and the practice of supplying vehicles still under factory warranty with their premium-priced oil is commonplace.

Doing an oil change service is less strenuous than washing and polishing your car. You can also save at least $50 for each oil service by doing it yourself using the best oil brands and filters.

It should not be the $50 saving that motivates you to do the oil service yourself. Getting to know your car and conducting simple services and inspections can save thousands and extend the useful life of your car.

As oil quality is regulated, quick-change services like Jiffy Lube and Valvoline will have the right quality oil available to sell to you.

Valvoline oil change sign

Their quick lube service ranges from $30 to $90, depending on whether your car requires mineral or synthetic grade oil. Get out of the car and ask to see the full container of oil and filter that they will be using for your car. Ask them to conduct a simple before and after oil test, which you can witness.

Watch a YouTube video on how to do a DIY oil change before visiting the quick lube center and prepare yourself to ask the right questions. Have your car’s owner’s manual handy and refer them to the oil type specified. This content belongs to moc.sotuaytsur. Never let them convince you to change to another oil grade.

If they will allow you to witness the oil change service either in the workshop or from behind a window, do that. Do not become a mark for the unscrupulous operator. I am convinced that many good and proud operators are running quick lube operations but err on the side of caution.

What Do Quick Lube Changes Cost?

An online search of the cost of lube changes yielded interesting results. At the lower end of the price range, they all offer mineral-grade oils, and on the upper end, fully synthetic oils. At the difference in cost of thirty to forty dollars, I recommend you get the full synthetic oil, even for your older car that only requires mineral oil.

Choose synthetic oil of the same viscosity as the mineral oil prescribed by the vehicle manufacturer. Synthetic oil is more expensive but is far superior to mineral oil and will last longer and be more forgiving when you slightly overshoot an oil change. Looking at the price table below, you can save more money by changing your driving behavior than choosing your oil change service provider.

CompanyPrice range*
Express Oil Change$37.99-$69.99
Jiffy Lube$39.99-$99.99
Pep Boys$31.99-$74.99
Do It Yourself$30
Source Nerdwallet

* Based on pricing advertised online in the US

Learning to do your oil change services is very rewarding and can give you the confidence to take on bigger self-service tasks. In the process, you will save money and develop an appreciation for your car that will stand you in good stead.


Confronted with a choice between Jiffy Lube and Valvoline Instant Oil change, at least arm yourself with knowledge. When booking, they will ask you some questions, and they are trained to identify the ignorant.

The quick lube industry has a bad reputation, some of it justified. I’ve been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and here’s my tips for using quick lube shops.

  • Watch a YouTube video from ChrisFix on how to do an oil change (
  • Be clear about the oil type your vehicle requires and be sure that’s the oil the shop uses.
  • Check the oil level on the dipstick before leaving the shop.
  • Check both the oil filler cap and dipstick are securely fitted.
  • Check for oil spills on the top side of the engine and below.
  • Keep your oil receipts.

Finally ask friends and coworkers where they get their oil changed and how they find the service, word of mouth is always the very best recommendation. Check out how other customers have rated their service out beforehand.

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