Car engines have a bunch of moving parts that rub against each other. You don’t really want those parts rubbing, though, as it creates heat and causes wear on the components.
That’s where engine oil comes in.
Engine oil lubricates the components in the engine, allowing them to slide beside each other more easily. This reduces the friction and heat, which improves the efficiency of your engine.
Over time in the engine, your engine oil will start to break down, which makes it less effective. Before the oil becomes ineffective and your engine starts to damage itself, you need to change the oil out.
If you're a fan of DIY car maintenance, you can change the oil yourself but most people will opt to take their car to a garage and have them do it.
In this car maintenance article, I’ll discuss how much an oil change should cost and what factors will influence the price.
What affects an oil change cost?
Car maintenance costs vary from car to car. An oil change isn’t a fixed price service and there are a handful of factors that will increase or reduce the cost.
The three biggest factors are:
- Engine Size: Larger engines have more moving parts so require more engine oil to lubricate them. The larger the engine, the more oil you will need and the more the garage will charge.
- Synthetic or Regular: Ignoring the question of which is better, synthetic oil costs more than regular oil. So a synthetic oil change will cost more than a regular oil change.
- Garage Location: Like most businesses, garages in expensive areas will charge more to cover their larger overheads.
In the next section, I’ll test out two of these factors to show what sort of effect they have on the price of an oil change.
How much should I expect to pay?
For this section, I took two cars — a Land Rover Discovery and a Vauxhall Corsa — and got in touch with 10 garages in London and 10 garages in Glasgow. They all quoted for a simple oil change, which I used to calculate an average cost for each car in each city.
Here’s the average cost for each.
- Land Rover Discovery: £120
- Vauxhall Corsa: £93
- Land Rover Discovery: £60
- Vauxhall Corsa: £50
As you can see, the larger Discovery costs a fair bit more than the Corsa and garages in London charge a fair bit more than garages in Glasgow.
Aren’t oil changes included in services?
Usually, yes. However, some motorists will opt to change their oil early if it’s starting to look cloudy or they want to swap from regular to synthetic oil.
It’s a good idea to get a quote for a service too as it might be the same price or just a little bit more.
If you're leasing and you have a car lease maintenance package, the cost of an oil change will be absorbed under the included servicing. You can read up on whether a car lease maintenance package is worth it.
Motivated to get your car in tip top shape? See our car maintenance checklist for ideas of other things to keep on top of. We've also gathered a great list of car maintenance tips from experts and a range of car maintenance apps you might want to download.