I'm honestly exhausted, mentally, after realizing I needed to get the oil changed in my car. Since moving to Billings, I haven't had this issue... as my last car came with free oil changes for 5 years from the dealer. After trading that vehicle in last year, my new ride (from Kia) didn't come with that luxury. So, I set off on the adventure to find the most reasonable pricing for an oil change.

My Car

I've got a 2021 Kia, which takes 4.8L of 0W-20 Full Synthetic Oil (Which is around 5.1 Quarts).

Credit: Kia Owners Manual
Credit: Kia Owners Manual

If I price it out from AutoZone, 5 Quarts + 1 is $36.50. Add the filter for an extra $20, and that totals out to be $56.50. Now, obviously, that is doing it yourself, with the tools and more in the mix. And you'd have 9/10ths of a quart remaining.

Pricing across Billings

My biggest beef with changing the oil in a car is having to call around and price-check. Why do that? Well... maybe you just go to your regular mechanic and pay, but I don't think nearly double the price of the goods is a fair charge. I totally get labor costs, however, the average time for an oil change (according to Jiffy Lube) is 20-45 minutes.

I know many people pull into a quick lube, pay what they are told, and go about their day. But I'm not one to just turn a blind eye, without a little bit of investigation.

After calling over 15 different shops in town, including VW Kia where I got the car, here are the pricing quotes I got to just change the oil, from highest to lowest

  • VW Kia - $104
  • 1 Stop Automotive - $100
  • Wave Car Care Center - $100 (Plus a free Car Wash)
  • Midas Downtown - $95
  • Masterlube Downtown & King Ave - $92
  • Jiffy Lube on Henesta & Shiloh - $92
  • LP Anderson Montana Ave - $90
  • Edam's Tire & Automotive Downtown - $80
  • JB Automotive - $75
  • The Brake Shop - $70
  • Diamond Automotive Care - $60
  • Walmart Heights - $55 ( This seems inaccurate, and they told me they cannot do a quote over the phone accurately )
  • Walmart King - No Answer
  • Heights Car Care - No Answer

Quite a range! $60 (Which is barely covering the cost of the Oil and Filter) to $104, which is quite high for a small little 4-cylinder car.

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KBB Oil Change Prices

According to the Kelly Blue Book Oil Change Prices Guide, for my vehicle, I could expect pricing to be $72 to $88 including all parts and labor. Which seems to be fair.

Credit: KBB
Credit: KBB

Who did I choose?

Although I bought my car from VW Kia I did not choose them. $104 for an oil change just isn't in the cards when the cost of goods is under $60.

As I bought my tires for my last vehicle, a 2018 Grand Cherokee, from Edam's in Downtown Billings (and my prior experience was a great one) I chose them. Especially since they got me scheduled before the holidays, without having to "squeeze me in" as many others would have had to do. $80 seems fair, and I know Edam's is a great choice. #notsponsored

What are your thoughts?

Am I crazy for shopping around? Do you just take your vehicle to Walmart and call it good? Let us know your thoughts on the App and Facebook. I'm just glad I shopped around and saved $25 bucks by doing so.

(Full disclosure, I bought my Kia prior to working with TSM Billings. Or even knowing about Freddie Fowler. Mainly because VW Kia did not advertise with the company I was at before... so I never heard his advertisements. I just bought my Kia because a friend in Georgia showed it to me, and I loved it. And yes, shockingly, I had not heard of "Get Excited!" until working here.)

Top 10 Stories in 2022 by Josh Rath on 103.7 The Hawk

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