“You get what you pay for.” It’s about as tired a cliché as you’re likely to hear, but at the same time, it’s usually true.
Take your typical oil change, for instance. You always can find a shop in Glenview or Northbrook advertising a cheaper oil change than our $35 version. But here at CARS, our oil changes are anything but typical. To better understand how and why our oil changes are truly better for you, let’s see how “ours” stack up against “theirs.”
First, let’s look at who’s actually doing the oil change. For your money, you’ll often get a minimally trained high schooler or recent graduate. The tech probably knows how to change the oil and sell an air filter, but s/he simply isn’t trained or experienced enough to detect a ball joint that’s about to fall off the car or a suspension problem that’s chewing up your $200-a-pop tires.
At CARS, a general service technician with a higher level of training performs every oil change and conducts a complete vehicle inspection (details below). And then, an ASE-Certified Master Technician reviews the oil change and the vehicle inspection details just to be sure everything is OK. Our pros possess the skills and experience to identify developing issues, and they know the difference between major and minor concerns—such as a fluid leak—that might confuse a rookie.
Second, the vehicle inspection you receive at most quick lubes is limited. This is a reflection of their business model, which is to focus on a few areas that they can inspect and upsell quickly while maintaining a level of profit. At CARS, our business model is to deliver comprehensive auto service, which is why we conduct a complete bumper-to-bumper inspection and a road test. (See for yourself: View our checklist vs. their checklist.)
Our inspection begins with a road test, during which we make sure your brakes, steering and suspension are performing solidly. Then, we put the car on the rack and inspect everything under the vehicle. We visually check for fluid leaks, evaluate your steering and suspension (in addition to the road test), and examine the brakes, tires, and exhaust system. Under the hood, we inspect for maintenance needs, worn belts and hoses, and for signs of any developing issues. We ensure all the lights work—brake lights, head lights, tail lights and turn signals—and we check all fluid levels. Tire pressure is inspected and corrected on all five tires. We even take on the extras, such as lubing door hinges, securing loose license plates, tightening loose visors and mirrors, clearing debris from the air intake cowling and the air filter, and more—all at no charge.
One more important note: If your vehicle is low on a particular fluid or a tire is low on air, we don’t just fill them up and send you on your way. We look to see why it is low, and we discuss it with you. Think about the significance: Your teenager is leaving for college and pops into a traditional quick lube. They top off all the tires, but they don’t look for the source of the leak because they don’t sell tires. They don’t see the defect in the tire, and they send your college student merrily down the road. Now, imagine your child on the Illinois Tollway at 2 a.m. The tire deflates, shreds and nearly causes a terrible accident.
Third, while many of our oil change competitors like to talk about convenience, we believe that’s all it is…talk. On the other hand, we offer convenient, no-appointment-necessary oil changes, plus free loaner cars, complimentary shuttle van rides, and vehicle pickup and drop-off for the times when you need more than a lube, oil and filter. If we discover a pressing repair need during your oil change, we can take care of it. There’s no need to go anywhere else.
Did you know? We can even help if you’re driving a vehicle under warranty: We’ll let you know if we detect any warranty repairs, and we’ll even take the vehicle to the dealer for you. You don’t need to worry about setting up a second service visit!
Now that we’ve discussed our superior service and attention to detail, let’s talk parts. Specifically, let’s look at the oil filter, which protects your engine from common contaminants like dirt, metal shavings, bugs, and more. However, not all oil filters are created equally. They actually come in several quality levels. CARS uses only high quality filters manufactured by Purolator and branded by Valvoline. Care to guess what you’re getting for a $9 or even a $19 oil change? Yep, the lower quality filters.
Lower quality filters simply can’t perform as effectively as the top-of-the-line versions. They aren’t as good at keeping debris from entering the engine and shortening its lifespan, and they don’t last as long as the better-built versions. (Learn more about the quality differences among oil filters.)
This can prove problematic for drivers who tend to let more than 3,000 miles slip by between oil changes. We know some of you prefer to extend your oil change intervals to 4,000, 5,000 miles or more. That’s OK, but then a quality oil filter becomes even more important for you.
You can see how a so-called “budget” filter can become a real budget-buster if it fails to do its job, leading to premature engine wear and costly repairs.
Finally, we want you to consider the reason any auto repair shop would offer a $9 or even a $19 oil change: They need the work, and they offer the discounted oil change as a loss leader, like the convenience store selling milk for $1.99. Whether your vehicle needs work or not is generally not the issue. They will be hungry to sell you something. Are you going to know whether you really need it?
We’ve done the math. We invite you to do the same. From the skill level of the technicians to the convenience offerings to the quality of the filter, we truly believe our oil change is the most cost-effective, long-term maintenance choice.
Need an oil change or other auto service? Give CARS of America a call at 847-724-6724 or schedule an appointment.