Regular maintenance such as changing the oil and air filters, rotating the tires, checking coolant levels, transmission fluid, etc. is essential to keeping your car in good health. However, not all pricing for these services is the same particularly when it comes to oil and filter changes in luxury vehicles. Why is oil change so expensive?
Oil changes can range anywhere from $37 to $187. That’s a pretty big span but there are valid reasons for it. The choice of oil is a big factor. Conventional oil from fossil fuel is the least expensive option. The next step up is a synthetic blend that uses conventional and synthetic bases. The most expensive oil is fully synthetic and if you have a luxury car then this may be the only choice. Why is synthetic oil so costly? Its high-quality base makes it more stable and allows it to oxidize and acidify at slower rates. In addition, fully synthetic oil reduces wear and tear, protects against high engine temperatures, and reduces the build-up of sludge and deposits. Luxury brands, especially German-made cars, will typically specify some form of synthetic oil. Costs for oil changes in these vehicles can go as high as $187.
My Mercedes Customer
Recently, a customer brought in her 2017 Mercedes Benz, for an oil change. The newer Benz’s typically can go for 15,000 miles before an oil change is required. She had just under 30,000 miles on the car. While we were filling out the paperwork, she noted that she didn’t go back to the dealership for maintenance as she was tired of mounting costs to her maintenance bill.
“The oil changes on our family’s Honda never cost this much”, she stated loudly.
I knew she was upset but I needed to give her more information. “And you probably didn’t pay as much for the Honda either,” I noted. “When you purchase a Mercedes Benz or other luxury vehicle, you are investing in a precision machine. Oil and parts just cost more.”
I went on to say that the average car requires an oil change every 5,000 miles, and pricing for the service depends a great deal on the quality of the oil used. Many luxury vehicles can go twice or in the case of Mercedes three times as long before an oil change is required. Additionally, many German-made vehicles use a fully synthetic motor oil that meets European ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturer Association) standards and this, of course, adds on to the cost of the oil change. Synthetic oils usually have extra additives that help your car’s engine run more efficiently.
Needless to say, my customer wasn’t happy to hear that I couldn’t significantly reduce the cost of her oil change, but she did thank me for bringing her up to speed on why the pricing differed so much. And now that she better understood why the cost was so high, she was willing to pay the fee to get it down correctly whether that is in my shop or at her dealership.
However, she did perk up a bit when I mentioned that her oil changes come with a Courtesy Check of 38 points in her car for which she would receive a report on the health of her car and when maintenance might be required.