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Why the "hate" for quicky lube places

The more I read posts here it seems to me that many here either down right hate, or really mistrust any of the quick lube places. While they are not a place i would take my car for major work or such, but given how easy it is to chain oil in today’s cars, I am unclear why the hate? I mean I feel they are way overcharge to do a simple oil change, but I have gone to them on occasion and never had an issue.

If changing oil is so easy, why do they mess it up so often? If you search through the posts here you will find MANY horror stories associated with “Iffy-Lube” joints.

Usually it has to do with not refilling the engine after draining, or overfilling the engine, or draining the transmission instead of the engine, or using the wrong oil, or not tightening the filter or drain plug, leading to a total loss of oil. Engines have been ruined. Frequently.

I’m sure they’re not all bad, and I know people who use them, but in my opinion you do so at your peril.

I tend to agree with the OP. There are all sorts of horror stories associated with the quicky lube places, and I certainly would not recommend their services to anyone. Yet they manage to service millions of satisfied customers every year.

I cannot say anything positive about these places, yet it goes against the grain to see sanctimonious critics kick someone when he’s down. I hope others lighten up a little bit.

One of the reasons I stopped using them was that they were always trying to sell me things I didn’t need. (new airfilter, etc.) Plus if I take it to my mechanic he can have a look around while under the car.

I’d have to agree and disagree with the OP at the same time. I’ve used some of the “quick-lube” joints every so often (usually if its to hot in the summer, or too cold in the winter, or I just don’t feel like doing an oil change). They’re only a ripoff if you let them rip you off.

I’ve been to a few different places, and I haven’t really had a problem with any of them. The worst experience I had was when the guy used 10w-30 instead of 5w-20 my car uses, and even then, it I didn’t really mind. They claim to do a 20 point inspection, but I doubt they really do. For example, they stated that my transmission fluid was good, but I highly doubt they took the time to undo the fill plug on the tranny and stick their finger in it to see if it was good (I drive a manual). I mean, they’re people just trying to earn an “honest” living. Use them, but save your receipts and double check the levels before you drive off. Also, deny any upsells. Its always a ripoff.

My distrust (I use “hate” for much more important issues) is based on both personal experience and documented systematic abuses by various shops.

Personal experience includes multiple sales pitches for unneeded work (flushes, etc), with no polite “OK” when I declined.

Incompentent service, where they did their ‘brake fluid test’ with some gizmo that flashed LEDs. After I declined, they neglected to put the cap back on the brake fluid reservoir. ONLY because of me checking under the hood the next day did I discover this DANGEROUS situation. At least they also forgot the gizmo, which I now have. Not that it’s useful for anything.

Abuse of trust: they heavily pressured my wife for unneeded services, to the point she refuses (rightfully) to step foot in there.

As for documentataion, there have been several tv news stories of various chain outlets not just pushing unneeded services, but NOT EVEN DOING THE SERVICES while still charging for them.

Are there decent ones out there? Sure, but the bad ones have ruined it for them.

I used Jiffy Lube for years with company cars because I racked up miles so fast and there was a “direct bill” agreement between my company and Jiffy Lube corporate. While I did not have problems mechanically I did have to be firm with Jiffy Lube reps about “up-selling” practices. They always tried to sell me a new air filter, etc.

The workers quality varied by area, I found the franchise owner who operated the Glens Falls, NY and other shops in that area was excellent. My concern is poor labor at some shops stripping out drain plugs, and the occasional “forgot to refill” with oil stories.

After any oil change anywhere I always check my car for drips underneath, that the oil filter was changed and not leaking with the car idling, and then stopped the car for a couple of minutes to check the oil level. Part of the problem with Jiffy Lube and similar places is they don’t check their work carefully, and the customer takes the car and drives away without checking it either.

It’s a simple job, assuming you know how to do it, and assuming you give a damn about doing it right. If you’re under-trained (qualified mechanics don’t work at Jiffy Lube because they can get better paying jobs working for a real shop), and you’re bored because you’re doing the same thing all day every day, and you’re listening to the radio and goofing off with your equally bored and under-trained friends, you’re much more likely to screw something up than if you’re competent and paying attention.

The following mistakes are far too common:

  1. drainng the wrong fluid
  2. refilling the wrong fluid
  3. using the improper weight or type of oil
  4. using improper tranny fluid

beyond that, they also
5) hard-sell unneeded fluid changes, flushes, and services using questionable techniques (like putting a drop of fluid on a clean white rag and showing the “dirt”)
6) hard-sell chemical flushes, which of not done properly can create problems
7) look the entire car over for revenue opportunities even of specifically directed to only change the oil. Once the car is in their hands, they do whatever they want, not what the customer wants.
8) screw up the work that they do. I suspect that much of this is caused by having poorly trained emplyees doing work beyond their level of expertise.

I personally have experienced some of the items on the above lists. I would only go to one of these joints now as an absolute last resort. And then I’d double check everything they did…which I should not have to do.

I guess I have been lucky, I have never had a “hard” sell on anything. I have been told that they would recomend this or that, but like I said, I tell them upfront I am just there for the oil change. Also I stand there and watch them while they are doing it. The places i go always tell me upfront what oil they will be using. After the work is complete I drive the car around a nearby lot, stop and look underneath and such and check fluid levels. But I do that with my car no matter who does work on it. My biggest complaint is and will always be cost as when I do go with them it’s running me at least $35, which I find outragous for just a simple oil change.

Back in the early '80s, I did use Jiffy Lube a few times, but my experiences quickly soured me. No matter how recently I had replaced my air filter, I was always told that the air filter was “extremely dirty” and needed to be replaced. And, to top it off, the cretins working there frequently did not reattach the hoses running into the air intake box.

They would also try to upsell me regarding their oil filters.
The manager would tell me how terrible their “standard” oil filter is.
If their “standard” oil filters are so bad, why do they use them?

And then, we have the question of oil viscosity. I was always given 10w30 (according to the receipts), even though I frequently specified a different viscosity. When I would question the manager on this point, I was always given some variation of “its all the same, it doesn’t matter”.

After…I think it was…3 experiences like this, I decided to go back to my regular mechanic for all maintenance visits. While he was not open on Sunday, at least I got exactly what I asked for and paid for when I went to him.

On a side note, several years ago a very alert member of our local police force decided to investigate a car parked in back of the only J-Lube in the area–long after closing time. He caught the shop manager and one of the employees treating themselves to “nose candy”, and the shop was closed for at least a week–probably until the franchise owner was able to get a few new staffers for that location.

All-in-all, I see no reason whatsoever to return to a quick lube place.

No hate here because some of the “quickie” places do a good job. The problem however is that most of them don’t. I just avoid them because their reputation is not very good. I don’t recommend them either.

The reason for my dislike is the upselling of unneeded services. There whole business model is concentric that they upsell to the most people possible. Also the help is not always first rate.

That being all said I used a Walmart quick lube from 100k - 225k miles on my prior 95 civic without a hitch. The best part was only spending $15 for an oil change. I did spend my money though in their store. Walmart had no ploy for upsell, simply a way of keeping a shopper in the store to spend money.

IMHO its actually harder to change oil in modern car vs older.

This is a good summary. To add to your point about improper fluids, sometimes they use generic fluids with additives added instead of the correct fluids. Often this doesn’t cause a problem, but sometimes it does.

Try a PF 141 filter change on a Chevrolet.

I do not hate the fast lube facilities and actually think they provide a valuable service.
The issues that I do have with them are:
Due to the hurry up business model and relatively inexperienced staff they can be prone to making mistakes which could involve leaving drain plugs loose, draining transmission final drives by mistake (cornered the market on Subarus), using the wrong fluid, etc, etc.

Some facilities provide the cut rate oil change and try to bump the total up with services that may not be needed or even performed.
(A few years ago my youngest son had his Lincoln serviced at a fast lube and they were supposed to have changed the fuel and air filters at that time. A few weeks later while visiting I looked it over and found the original, and filthy, FOMOCO filters still on it.)
And my son knows the manager of this place personally. Good thing my son wasn’t on the manager’s hate list. :slight_smile:

One of them near here has a novel idea. Part of the facility has a gift shop so while a lady is having her vehicle serviced she can browse the knick-knacks.
Thirty dollar oil change and 200 bucks on Chinese clutter… :slight_smile:

Overall, most do a decent job and have no problems. Some will flat suck all day long and unfortunately, the good ones get tarnished by the bad ones.

I hated those…luckily they were few and far between by '72.

I’m not a fan of Walmart but they do have deep pockets and they will go to great lengths to keep a positive public image. When they made expensive mistakes here they have paid to correct them. But quick change shops cannot even break even at the advertised price. They must up-sell to stay in business and push the cars though as fast as possible. Often too fast.

I don’t hate anyone but,

Jiffylube drained the fluid on my daughters automatic transmission and put in manual transmission gear oil. Ruined the transmission.

Walmart on a cross country trip over filled my car on an oil change but compensated by leaving the drain plug loose.

Walmart - second oil change on same trip left the oil filter loose amd dripping.

Monroe Muffler on an oil change wanted to sell me a new oil filter when the old one was 5000 miles old and left the air filter assembly all apart when I declined.

Hate no strong dislike.

I’ve never had work done at Wal-Mart, but I buy my oil and filters there. The store brand “Super Tech” oil filters they carry are quite good. I think they are made by Champion Labs. They always seem to have either Castrol or Valvoline oil on sale in 5 qt. jugs, and for the synthetic crowd, they have Mobile 1 in 5 qt. jugs at a good price.