Confirming your worst suspicions about J-Lube

The Snopes website investigates most of the mass e-mails that are spread nowadays, in order to determine the veracity of them. In most cases, these spam messages turn out to be bogus.

However, the one currently circulating about some Jiffy Lube locations (alleging that they were not actually performing services for which customers were charged) turns out to be 100% correct.

Take a look at:

There was an investigative reports segment on the local news a few years back, they wired a vehicle with hidden cameras and marked certain parts, the Jiffy lubes were caught cheating the customer on more than one occasion.

The way jiffy lube works is this, everyday the store has to meet daily sales goals, if they do not meet a percentage of these goals the managers get in trouble, so last year on this day, the store had 2000 dollars in sales, well today the store better bring in 2000 dollars or more or the manager didn’t meet his goals. Now in corporate land this seems reasonable, in the real world some days won’t be as good as others.

I despise Jiffy lubes, So the managers that try to run the place honestly and give good service, may not meet their goals and the regional manager will tell them that they are a poor manager, While the manager that rewards his guy for being pushy and dishonest, will get more sales, and he or she will be the Golden boy manager for the regional rep.

I was told all of this by a guy that used to work there.

The only quick lubes that are even worth considering would be a individually owned store where the owner is on premises at all times. We have one here in town, and Im still reluctant to use them, but I have in the past and they were much less pushy than j lube.

Change your own oil and filter. Worry gone.


I totally agree, there have been times I have been unable to and have had to have it done. But I almost always do it myself.

You have to realize, not everyone can do it themselves. Most people could if they educated themselves, but some people live at apartments and are not able too, some people are elderly, ect…

I had surgery and was unable to do it myself for a while, but that was a temp. thing.

In my neck of the woods, there was an incident several years ago that was…let’s just say…very informative in regard to the local J-Lube.

After dark, one of the local gendarmes decided to take a look in the rear parking area of the local J-Lube. What he observed caused him to stop, and to investigate further.

It seems that there were two males in a car, parked in back of the J-Lube, and the officer observed narcotic paraphernalia in plain sight. Under NJ law, this gave him sufficient cause to investigate further, w/o needing a search warrant. He found both of the gentlemen to be in possession of both cocaine and the paraphernalia related to that substance.

In case you were wondering, the two gentlemen in question were the manager of that particular J-Lube, and one of his employees. That location remained closed for perhaps a week or so until the owner located someone without a criminal record to manage it.

Are the Jiffy Lubes in Cali owned by the company or are they franchised? The ones near me are franchised, even though JL is headquartered in MD. If they are corporate, then JL is to blame. If they are franchises, blaming the company is not the right thing to do.

Yep, nothing new here to report.

The guy that told me the story worked at a corporate owned store, he worked there in 98-99. I think most are owned by francisees. Go to and look up jiffy lube, theres endless stories.

I don’t think being owned by a franchise changes much about how the business is run. I know this from a friend who owned a Subway franchise, a ot pressure from above for sales, discount and other tactics without regard to the locale and its economics.

Sorry to disagree, but wifey does the jiffy lube or some quicky lube place, I do not keep track, thing is never a problem and I think they do a fine job. My car goes to a shop near my work. I cannot believe a business that wants to be in business can mess up a simple oil change on a regular basis. She will call me with the do I need this, here is the price, sometimes yes sometimes no.

I have no doubt that there are ood JL shops and I know for a fact that there are bad private shops. However in my opinion JL’s business model does not promote the kind of expertise and care that I want servicing my car. And I’ve personally seem things at speedy lube joints that made me say “what the…”.

Remco is right. However, many people out there cannot change their own oil due to physical constraints and/or restrictions in their apartment or condo limitations. In urban areas, you may have to pay $1000/mo for a parking space, and if you get caught changing your oil there use lose the spot. I went through a period after my divorce where I lived in an apartment and could not change my own oil. The lease prohibited it.

I still recommend against using them. But urge anyone who has to to be careful.


Years ago, I lived in an apartment complex where ANY car maintenance/repairs were prohibited.

The on-site manager would harass me if I checked my tire pressure.

I once adjusted valves on a Honda in the wee hours of the morning, when all were snoring.

Yet she allowed a guy living across the street to remove and overhaul the rear end on his Toyota truck. She even forced one of the tenants to park on the street while that Toyota was in their parking spot.

Not long after that, I bought my first house and things have been looking up ever since.

In the summer, I change my own, but during the winter, I use an independent shop down the street that I have a VERY good relationship with. I know firsthand they’re VERY trustworthy and honest. Plus, their prices for oil changes are very competetive with the quicky joints, and the service is better. They even vacuum the carpets! :slight_smile:

Maybe the best way to look at quickie oil change places like Jiffy Lube is like you look at fast food restaurants: A 4-star restaurant or a good auto shop employs skilled chefs and wait staff, or good, certified, mechanics and techs, and pays commensurately, thus attracting professionals that take pride in their work, and enjoy what they do, for the most part.

A bad quickie oil change place or a fast food restaurant employs the unemployable, regardless of the economic conditions of the area or the general economic climate. They pay badly, the turnover is high, and while there are some good folks that work there, they attract and hire a lot of people that can’t find work elsewhere. As such, their employees are just marking time until they can go home, are probably harried by a manager that is in the unfortunate state of being between a rock and a hard place (upper management that wants results and slackers that want to be left alone and do the minimum), and are likely not much more skilled than their employees–there are no budding executives at the establishments that don’t care.

So basically the same quality of place that screws up your order, or serves you something that’s well past its expiration date, or perhaps has even been spit in out of spite, is working on your car. So you can expect someone that’s smoking weed to just get through their awful day (and perhaps rightfully so) to forget to put your drain plug in, to use the wrong oil, filter, or just generally not care, especially if you’re giving them more flak in their already harrowing life.

I don’t like to seem jaded, but I managed a restaurant for many years, and while I like to think I was not the manager that I describe above, and that I was actually a good person to work for and cared about both my customers and my workers, I saw plenty of both the unemployable and the customer from hell.

I have been an IT professional for over a decade now, and it’s sad to say, but I see the same situation with level-1 Helpdesk employees at companies I’ve worked for, including my current gig. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I think you analogy is excellent. With your permission, I’ll put it in my “toolbag” for future use.

Like a lot chains, you often can’t paint the individual stores with the same brush. Local management has a big influence on overall customer satisfaction even if their products are identical.

There were 3 fast lube type stores around here and one closed after the demise of the state safety inspections. The inspections brought in cars and with the inspections gone the traffic flow on that street simply could not support them. There are 2 remaining but they seem to have a pretty good reputation.

One thing that has become more prevalent over the last few years is new car franchises trying to compete with the fast lube facilities, not only on oil changes but brakes and what have you.
This means either a low wage, relatively inexperienced lube tech or mechanic doing the job or a seasoned mechanic doing it for peanuts. The latter will likely not put up with this for very long and what will end up happening is that he will change the oil, pencil whip the repair order, and run it out the door. At some point he will say enough is enough and they will bring in the low wage, relatively inexperienced lube tech anyway…

@the same mountainbike: Thank you. I consider your assessment to be high praise, as I would say you’re one of the most intelligent and well-seasoned people on this board.

Some years ago if I was lazy or the weather was bad I’d use a local chain called “Grease Monkey” that was near me. After the second strike I gave up on them–they used the wrong oil and my car had a small leak, then they changed the coolant and managed to get antifreeze all over my engine compartment.

I also went to a local Jiffy Lube a few times, and they had a good system in place–they’d call out and confirm each step as they did it: “Drain plug in” “Filter tight” “5 quarts of oil going in” They didn’t ever screw up my car, but I stopped going there the second time they tried to up sell me on a service I didn’t need, including showing me my dirty air filter. (that I’d changed under a month prior to my visit)

I don’t have to drive as much these days as back then and have more space to work on my cars, so I do the 2-3 oil changes a year that are needed on my vehicles myself. At least if I bung it up I have no one to blame but myself.

I’ve lived in many areas of the country and the Iffy Lube and their ilk all have the same reputation. You don’t get a “reputation” all over the country if something is not wrong. My own personal experience has been correcting many of Iffy Lubes mistakes. Most anyway…if you don’t add oil or transmission fluid after it’s all drained out…the engine or transmission is usually toast. I’ve seen too much oil, not enough oil, no oil, loose filter, wrong filter, stripped oil pan plugs and a myriad of other problems. +1 for @thesamemountainbike BTW.

Franchise names , signs , and labels on locally owned and operated establishments do NOT guarantee the quality , or lack thereof, of the work done.
It still has EVERYTHING to do with the individual people working there and in charge.

Locally I can name a guy who is quite the sheister type with all the stereotypes applying to him.
Once he had a major ‘‘muffler’’ chain franchise for his business.He found that just having a little indy shop did not draw enough first time customers and that a franchise sign would bring them in.
We all thought that maybe now he was running a square deal type business.
NOPE, same ol’ same ol’.
And I guess that’s how those place get that national poor reputaion .

It has become far too easy for the sheister type to hide under a franchise label and the franchises have no checks and balances to prevent or cure the problem created by the ease of getting a franchise sign.