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Oil change for Audi a4 2008?

Hi I am a newbie and just gettin started. I apologize for the infantile question but I’m getting so many different answers from Jiffy lub and Ezlube and a ton of lubes, my head is just spinning.
So I should , every 5k miles, change the oil and the FILTER?
If my oil gauge says it is low, before I hit around 5k, all I need to do is add oil, and not mess with the filter?
Also If I do get my oil and filter changed at the 5k mark, how much should I pay? I’m seeing these huge price jumps, telling me I need synthetic this or or Castro GT that…THey–the lube specialists–are telling me to get the priciest oiil change–79 bucks…

When businesses like that see a car that they think is expensive, they jack up the price. How much does the dealer want? My synthetic oil changes at the dealer cost about $38, but in order to get that price you have to drive a Toyota Yaris. Nobody really wants that to happen to you.

The synthetic oil for your car all by itself will cost $40 if you get synthetic. You may need six quarts so check it out and also see how much a “nice” Fram filter costs at Wal-Mart. That may help you to judge whether the price is high or not. Try to avoid doing business with anybody who uses EZ, Jiffy or Quick in their name. They aren’t specialists and won’t become legendary in auto history unless they cause a big enough disaster.

What does your owner’s manual say?

First off, quick oil change shops have a rather high incident rate as far as messing something up and causing a lot of damage to your car. They typically hire inexperienced people, offer them minimal training, and pay them minimum wage. Definitely not experts.

Second, 5k mile oil changes are cheap insurance, IMO, so they are a good way to go, even if your maintenance schedule says you can go 10k miles or more between oil changes (unless you intend to dump this car in the next year or two and your conscience won’t bother you about neglecting it). Your car likely requires synthetic oil that meets certain standards, so make sure whatever goes into your car meets those standards. You will find that info in your owner’s manual. Oil filter should be replaced with each oil change. Once again, cheap insurance.

You should not be relying on a gauge to tell you your oil level is low. That is very hazardous to your car’s health, as well as your bank account’s health. Check the dipstick the old fashioned way every few hundred miles, at least until you get an idea as to how quickly your car uses oil (some VW/Audi vehicles go through it pretty quickly), then check and add accordingly.

An oil change for your car may very well be pretty pricey. As I said, your car may require a synthetic that runs $5 or more per quart. Check your owner’s manual.

I am in agreement with the previous responses.

The fact that the OP is a novice makes it all the more important that he actually spends some time reading the maintenance schedule that should be sitting in the glove compartment. It is not a technical publication, but rather, is a straightforward listing of what types of maintenance need to be done to the car, and when these procedures need to be done.

Note that almost all maintenance procedures have an elapsed time value, as well as an odometer mileage value. For example, it might state that the oil should be changed, let’s say…every 6,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. So, a car that is not driven often would still need to have its oil changed every 6 months, even if it had not accumulated many miles. This is just an example that I made up, and you need to read exactly what Audi’s own maintenance schedule states.

Also, the Owner’s Manual will list the type of oil that is required by your engine. Audis and their cheaper clones, VWs, almost always require an expensive European-specification motor oil. The manual will tell you the viscosity that is required (probably something along the lines of 5W-20, but you need to check the manual for specifics), as well as whether synthetic oil is required, and even the exact specification number. These requirements must be followed faithfully.

All of that being said, places like Jiffy Lube and other quick lube places are best avoided. The error rate at those places is incredibly high. Try to find an independent foreign car mechanic’s shop in your area for all of your maintenance and repair needs. They will be far cheaper than the Audi dealer, and far more competent than the undertrained, very rushed kids working at Jiffy Lube and its clones.

If your car has a turbocharged engine (Like the 2.0T), you should use synthetic oil. Most cars don’t have an “oil gauge” indicating when to change the oil. If you have an oil pressure gauge however, this indicates how well the lifeblood of the engine, the oil, is being delivered to engine parts. You should never use it as an indicator of when to change the oil or add oil. If it ever reads very low or the oil light comes on, you should immediately turn off the engine and determine the cause. If your car has an “oil life monitor”, you can use that as a guideline for when to change the oil, but I would personally still change it every 5,000 miles if you have a turbo.

Many Audis and VWs consume some oil between changes. Until you are used to your car’s oil consumption, you should check your oil at least at every other gasoline fill up. There is nothing more damaging to an engine than running it low on oil, except possibly severely overheating it.

You need the “expensive oil change”. Basically ask for the oil that meets Audi spec which is sythetic. Make sure to check your oil/top occasionally every 3-4 fuel fillups.

5k oil changes are good insurance to long engine life. Some engines can further with long life but its a whole combination of factors.

It sounds like you’re trusting service places to tell you what maintenance needs to be done. That’s a bad idea. Follow your owner’s manual. It will tell you when to change the oil and what oil to use.

You mention that your oil is getting low. How many miles does it take before you need a quart? This may or may not be normal. In any event, make sure you’re checking it frequently enough that you never need to add more than a quart, unless you want to risk expensive engine damage.

I agree with the comments above that using a quick-lube place isn’t the best idea.

All good advice above, but I have something to add. Look for a good independent mechanic. It would be nice to find an independent mechanic that specializes in high end German cars like Audi, BMW etc., but that is not absolutely necessary.

Let this mechanic do all your oil changes, and any other required maintenance requirements. This mechanic will be more qualified and give you better advice for your particular car and the conditions you drive it in.

Avoid an independent that runs a large shop and has “specials” advertised in the local paper. A small two bay shop should be about right. An oil change may cost a few bucks more, but it will be done right. In the long run, having a good relationship with this mechanic could save you money.

Try to find a good shop here:

There is no oil guage. If you are talking about the dipstick showing oil needs to be added, all you do is add the amount of oil needed to bring it up to the full level. This is the proper way to check oil. If you are talking about the oil life monitor, I usually change oil and filter when it is about 50% or 5000 miles. This is totally acceptable today. I use plain old standard Mobil oil. Synthetic is really not necessary and you should maintain the same change schedule whether standard or synthetic in my book.

As the others have already mentioned the chain stores that only do oil changes are often not very dependable often forgetting to put the oil back in the engine, forgetting to put the oil plug back in the oil pan etc. I’d recommend changing the oil at least as often as the owners manual states. If the car is used basically for short trips where the engine never gets to full operating temperature or is used for towing it’s considered severe service and should be changed more often. The only way I’d recommend going over the stated change interval is if the car is driven mainly on long trips and sits in the garage 95% of the time, then I’d go strictly by mileage and not worry about it even if they recommend changing it every 6 months. I have one car that is used in this manner, it’s a '97 model with 32K miles on it and I change the oil every 3K miles and the oil still looks clean, in 14 years this car has only had 10 oil changes.

Audi’s and V dubs used 5w 40 for along time but are now using 5w 30…like most of the northern hemisphere. Check your manual. 3k or 3 months is cheap insurance and if you are a DIYer you can do it for half of what fast lube places charge. Even if you pay to get it done, fluids are cheap compared to engines. Buy the filter from the stealership or parts store that might sell the same brand and stock up when your oil grade goes on sale. With Audi’s and V dubs you don’t have to crawl under the car if you have a gadget that can suck the oil up through the dipstick tube. The filter is in the engine bay and can loosened standing up but crouched over the engine. I’ve been changing my oil for as long as I’ve been driving,32 years and will do so as long as I can. I take the used oil to recycling depots when I have have half dozen or so jugs. The oil needs to be VW compliant as per their spec 502 00 and 505 00. Synthetic usually does the trick. Wear latex gloves and your nails will stay nice and clean.

I check the oil on my cars at least once a week and at each gasoline stop if I am on the highway. For me, it is easiest to pull out the dipstick when the engine is cold and the car has been sitting overnight. On the highway, I insert the gasoline nozzle and while the gasoline is pumping, clean the windshield and then raise the hood and check the oil. I have never had either of my present vehicles use any oil between changes, but it gives me some peace of mind just to check anyway.

You need to get out of the habit of relying on a gauge to tell you the oil is low and physically check it yourself on a regular basis (every 2 weeks, etc) or you may wind up like many and having to ask a question regarding a new engine.

You need to understand who you are talking to. The line workers at a quick lube shop are likely on their first job in the auto repair and maintenance business. They don’t know a lot and depend on their bosses to teach them what to tell you. You are really at the mercy of the manager or franchise owner. If they want to lie to you, then their employees will do as their told. And they probably believe it since this is their first car-guy job. Then again, any shop anywhere can lie to you. And many will. Your owner’s manual will at least tell you what oil to use, and may tell you how often to change oil. But many manufacturers just say to use the engine monitoring system (oil life monitor if simple). I have used the OLMs since 2003 and have no oil loss in those engines. Then again, they are all GM cars and GM has used OLMs for over 30 years. If it was my car, I’d go by the engine monitor, use the oil specs from Audi, and change the filter at every oil change.

One more thing: check the oil level at least every 2 or 3 weeks. Finding out your oil is low when you seize the engine would be a really bad day.