Engine Servicing

How Long Does An Oil Change Take?

how long does an oil change take
Written by The Motor Guy

How long Does an oil change take?

A typical engine oil change can take anywhere from from 15 to 45 minutes to complete.

There are a few different options available when it comes to an oil change service and there are several factors to consider both in terms of time as well as costs when it comes to making the best choice.

Changing engine oil is one of the most frequent and easiest maintenance tasks on any car. It's also a popular project among DIY enthusiasts. If you are reading this article and never tried doing it before, then you may be wondering is it worth the effort.

Let’s start by exploring the different options available to you from the fastest to the slowest. 

1. Oil Change at a Quick Lube Shop

Probably the fastest and arguably the most efficient way of doing an oil change is going to a 'Quick Lube Shop'.

Depending on the franchise, these “express shops” often offer you the option to remain inside the car during  the process.

From beginning to end an oil change in one of these places usually only takes around 15 minutes.

From a cost perspective, Quick Lube shops are also the cheapest service option available. However, they are not always the best option.

The speedy service offered by express shops is possible thanks to a special machine that literally sucks the engine oil through the dipstick tube.

They don’t unscrew the oil pan plug, nor have to wait for the oil to drain. The operator uses the machine to extract the old oil, replaces the oil filter, and pours in the new oil.

That’s all there is to it. Unfortunately, this usually isn't the best way to do an oil change.

Depending on engine design you can leave too much “old” oil in the vehicle, that simply can’t be accessed by the pump. There is also a chance that debris and sludge won't be sufficiently removed and will remain in the oil pan sump. This is not ideal, and can cause problems with your engine if allowed to build up.

Oil change service speed ★★★★★

Service Cost ★★

After Service Warranty ★★

2. Non Franchised General Repair Shop

One of the most common places to get an engine oil service done is by your local mechanic at a mechanics repair shop.

This type of service can take from 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the shop and how busy it is.

Some repair shops allocate several bays for “express services”, which in most cases are oil changes. You may think that waiting 45 minutes is not too much when compared with Quick Lube shops.

Just remember that this time does not include waiting times, and you'll probably need to leave your car with the shop for a few hours.

From a cost standpoint, this service is more expensive too. Although considering it's a more thorough oil change, in most cases, the difference is worth it.

Oil change service speed ★★★

Service Cost ★★★

After Service Warranty ★★★★★

3. Dealerships

Getting your car or truck serviced at a dealership is not the best choice for everyone. Depending on the age of your car and whether it is out of warranty or not, will heavily influence your decision.

how long does an oil change take

A dealership oil change is arguably the most expensive option of all. Time is another issue too. The oil change itself takes around 30-45 minutes, but chances are you'll  have to leave your car with them for most of the day. You may also be waiting a few weeks for an appointment, depending on where you live or what kind of car you drive.

However, going to a dealership can be the safer option

Sometimes mistakes happen, even during an oil change. Humans are prone to error. Accidents such as a tool falling into the engine during oil filling, an incorrectly tightened oil pan plug, using the wrong grade oil, a loose oil filter, not adding the correct amount of oil, the list goes on and on. 

These things can happen not only at dealerships but at any oil change shop. The difference is that, in most cases, dealerships will be better equipped to take full responsibility for any errors. Also, you are more likely to find an experienced master technician at a dealership that is fully trained to sort out any problems with your exact car model.

Oil change service speed

Service Cost ★★★★★

After Service Warranty ★★★★★

4. Change The Oil Yourself

The favourite option for DIY enthusiasts is getting their hands dirty. Changing the oil yourself can save you a lot of money as you only have to pay for the materials (oil and oil filter). 

So what else do you need to keep in mind?

diy engine oil change

From a time perspective, the oil change can about 1 hour, depending on your experience level.

The quality of the service is also linked to your expertise. If you know what are you doing, you can easily change the engine oil like a professional. It's a fairly straightforward job, with very few specialised tools needed.

The biggest drawback to changing the oil yourself is that you are on your own. Depending on your skills and knowledge, if things go south you may need to call in a professional mechanic to assist you.

You also need to consider how you are going to dispose of the used oil. Don't be tempted to pour it down the drain, it must be disposed of safely.

Some modern vehicles use special oil filter wrenches, so make sure you do your research before starting. You may also need an OBD II reader for resetting the change oil service light. 

Overall, changing the oil yourself can be the best option and with a bit of practice can also be the quickest too.

Oil change service speed - Depends on experience

Service Cost - You only need to pay for oil and filters

After Service Warranty - depends on experience