Video: JiffyLube Caught Upselling Car-Damaging Repair Services

KNBC undercover cameras caught local JiffyLubes and EZ-Lubes upselling customers to buy engine-flushing and fuel-injection cleaning services, services which have been forbidden by auto-manufacturers because they’re unnecessary and can severely damage your engine. One guy’s engine died while he was driving on the highway, and it cost him $5,000 to replace his engine.

Engine-flushing is supposed to clean out the gunk and deposits in your engine, but breaking these up is like dislodging a blood clot – they can jam up other sensitive components. Honda calls fuel-injection cleaning an “improper repair procedure” as it can damage other injection parts. They and other makers have sent notices to repair shops telling them not to perform them. Despite this, KNBC received complaints from across the country from consumers with cars damaged after getting upsold into the potentially dangerous service. See more in their video report, below:In a statement, both JiffyLube and EZLube say it wasn’t acceptable for employees to lie and say services were recommended by the manufacturer when they weren’t, and the employees caught would be fired.Could This Damage Your Car? [KNBC]

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  1. Jonbo298 says:

    But they aren’t taking it seriously =(

  2. Bahnburner says:

    Lie? Heck, you’re lucky if they put the oil plug back in!

    • CFinWV says:

      @Bahnburner: Truth. And considering how important an oil change is to the longevity of your car I find it worth it to have my trusted mechanic do them for me. He certainly appreciates the business and I don’t worry about crap like that.

    • DikembeMeiztombo says:

      @Bahnburner: And damn, if you have an old car that has a gasket between the plug & the oil pan.

    • sgtyukon says:

      @Bahnburner: I went to a Jffy Lube in Florida once where they definitely did put the oil plug back in. They sent me out of the shop with no oil in my engine, but at least they did put the oil plug back in the pan.

    • socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

      @Bahnburner:

      My local jiffy lube puts the plug back in but doesn’t tighten the filter, so I see oil dripping everywhere but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Between that and putting the wrong oil in my car, I go to the dealer now. At least I get a free carwash at the same price as JiffyLube.

  3. nataku8_e30 says:

    Fine to run carb cleaner through a car with carbs. It’s all this modern new-fangled technology that’s to blame!

  4. ptmeyer84 says:

    Just so you know, the engine in the close up shots is a Jeep 4.0L

    From your brothers/sisters at Jalopnik :)

  5. Michael says:

    Just another reason to find a trusted local mechanic. Sure, Jiffy Lube might be cheaper and quicker, but would you rather pay a little more and know your car is done right or pay less and get out quicker, but have your car breakdown because of them not putting on the oil cap correctly…

    See: [consumerist.com]

    • racermd says:

      @Michael: Two more options that are better yet:

      1: Take your vehicle to a certified dealership repair center. Sure, it’s more expensive than “Franks Garage and Donut Shoppe” and there’s no guarantee that they won’t take advantage of your pocketbook. However, they won’t screw around with services that might/will damage your car. If they do, the manufacturer will come down HARD on that dealership, whether or not they actually help you get your vehicle repaired properly.

      2: Learn how to maintain your vehicle by yourself. It’s daunting at first, but can be a rewarding experience in the long run. That, and your only real cost is parts!

      • Orv says:

        @racermd: If your car is more than, say, five years old, taking it to the dealership may not be that great an idea. Their mechanics won’t be that familiar with it anymore, since most of what they do is warranty service. Plus, they know that every time they fix your old car, it’s a lost sale for the dealership.

        You’re better off finding a good independent mechanic, IMHO.

        • balthisar says:

          @Orv: They’ll still be certified, and know the car. You definitely can’t go wrong with the OEM shop. Except for price. If price is no object, take your car to the dealer.

          Me? I work for one of the Big 3. Ever since the secret warranty (you all have one) expired, I only go to a trusted local mechanic. Prices are better, they treat me well (I know cars, but the dealership people don’t care), and they don’t recommend unnecessary services. Of course the key here is “trusted” local mechanic. There are lots of dirt bags out there. If it weren’t for the dealers who are the face of the Big 3, at least 2 out of the 3 wouldn’t have the bad rap that they have.

          Money no object, maybe unnecessary service? Dealer. They won’t ruin your car. Good service and people you trust? You’ve got to work at it, and investigate, and try, and try again, and find someone local who can do the work, and (also key), won’t balk when you insist on OEM parts.

  6. nursetim says:

    It was all of the upselling that soured me forever on oil change places. I have been changing my own oil for over 9 years now, which I know is not an option for everyone. I wonder if dealerships that do oil changes also upsell, but I’m sure they don’t try to push something on you that will blow up your engine.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @nursetim: I used to change my own oil in an apt parking lot. It’s pretty trivial and completely worth it for the peace of mind of having good, synthetic oil, a good filter (no Fram please) and the correct level in the engine. Plus, the look and smell of the oil can tip you off if you’re having any engine problems.

    • gunfighter21 says:

      There are some dealerships that will try to upsell additional services that are not part of the scheduled service. Make sure you know what is being done as part of a scheduled service. Most if not all onwers manuals will spell out what service is needed for a given service/mileage interval. If the dealership wants to upsell you can always say “no, just do what is required per the manufacturer” or go to another dealer. I change my own oil and most other work on my vehicles unless they are still under warentee (sp). Even if you don’t do your own service, READ the Owners Manual and know what needs to be done and when. You will have a more satisifying ownership experience. It makes me crazy when people don’t read their owners manual!

    • heltoupee says:

      @nursetim: My arm doesn’t bend in enough places to get to the oil filter on my car. Stupic Volkswagen. Still don’t know how the guys at the dealership do it.

      • EarlNowak says:

        @heltoupee: You have a GTI? One of the most inaccessable filters in existence..

        Up there with the Civic Si- the easiest way to get the filter off that K20 engine is to go through the front wheel well.

        • IN THE FACE! says:

          @EarlNowak: Really? I have an EP3 and I think the filter is easier to get to than the one on my ’94 4Runner was, a LOT easier…

          • EarlNowak says:

            @bpapa9013:
            My only experience is with the 8th gen civic- ’06-’09 (so far). The R18 is fine- bog standard oil change. But the Si’s K20 engine is a massive pain in the ass- the oil filter is right over the axle on the passenger side, and the easiest way to get it out is to jack up the front, take off a tire and reach through the wheel well. Absurd.

      • Skankingmike says:

        @heltoupee: that’s because everything about VW’s suck and are simply ripoffs.

        My wife has the New Beetle, absolute rip off scam.

        You can’t change the damn oil filter yourself. You can’t replace any of the headlights or taillights yourself unless you want to remove the entire bumper. It literally costs 90 dollars every time one of her bulbs burns out. BTW, they burn out once a year because that year 2003 was known for bad electrical. Last time brought the car in for the lightbulb, the guy laughed at my spending 90 bucks and said, oh the front light went out.. that sucks they’re a bitch to change.

        • zeet says:

          @Skankingmike: Unless you have one of the facelifted New Beetles – in which case there might be a difference – both the oil filter and bulbs are user-replaceable. The instructions are not in the owner’s manual, but they aren’t difficult. I have changed bulbs in a 2001 New Beetle in a train station parking lot with no tools. The oil filters on all German cars have been changing over to cartridge-style filters which are nice as you can see how much was accumulated in them when you service the engine.

        • ceilingFANBOY says:

          @Skankingmike: Try changing the alternator on a ’98 Taurus. The torsion pulley is about halfway down and there are only a few inches of clearance to get to it (not enough to use a torsion wrench). Trying to get the belt off to change the alternator is a royal pain in the ass, especially when the torsion pulley is even the least bit rusted in place.

  7. wrx-tyrannosaurusWrx says:

    When I was 16 my parents went out of town and while they were gone I realized my dad’s Crown Vic (best car I’ve ever driven, I can’t help it) was due for an oil change. So I took it to a local Jiffy lube, and guess how much it was for an oil change? $70. O, and thats before they confused a teenager into getting his transmission fluid flushed, both air filters replaced and “signature oil filter”. $300+ later I found a local mechanic that changes my oil for $20 every time and tops off the other fluids to boot.

  8. narf says:

    Nothin’ new … there’s not much money to be made doing $20-$30 oil changes; the money is when they upsell and cheat the customer.

    Never could understand why folks even trust these places in the first place … great idea to entrust your $20k+ vehicle to a high school dropout to do the work, eh?

    That’s not to say that all dropouts and quickie lube places are automatically going to do poor work, but there’s not much of a reputation risk like a new car dealer’s service dept. or even a local mechanic carries either.

    • Ron Draper says:

      @narf: There is a shitload of money to be made selling even those cheapass $20 oil changes. I changed my own oil a few times. The markup on the service is like 120%!

      • narf says:

        @satyricaldude: Factor in the wages, building overhead, etc., and no, there’s not much money to be made at that price, hence their desire to cheat the customers.

        I’ve always did my own oil changes, not so much for the cost savings, but for knowing that it’s done correctly.

  9. SabreDC says:

    After I purchased my house in July, I went to Wal-Mart (I know, I’m a horrible person) to get an oil change. I was in a hurry because I had a lot to do with the whole house thing and all, and I gave into their fuel injector cleaning upsell. Since then, my car makes a really weird noise (like one of those whistles that you blow in and it makes that weird spinning noise) when I accelerate. Are there any mechanics or automotive people on this board that can help me determine if it may be linked? What might one hear if they got this service and it went bad?

    The problem is, my HOA doesn’t allow for any type of work on cars in our parking spaces so I guess I’m stuck using these types of services. I guess I’m going to have to seek out a local guy that I can trust…

    • Joshman Yas Marina says:

      @SabreDC: Just go back to said Wal-Mart and do the change in the back parking lot. Park, do some shopping to cool the oil a bit. Then come out and drain it. Wait a little for the drops, spin off the old filter and on with the new. Pop the drain plug back in and refill. Give the guys at their shop the used oil and be on your way.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      @SabreDC: Not a mechanic, but when I had a similar sounding problem it was a cracked Exhaust Manifold; the whistle when you accelerate is air escaping/entering.

      I guess this was a known part to fail, because the new one had flex “shock absorbers” in it where the old one had cracked.

    • RoninianHoon says:

      @SabreDC: car make, model, and year please? When is the last time you had your belts changed? Otherwise so far sounds like it could be a air leak, does your car consume more fuel?

      • SabreDC says:

        @RoninianHoon: 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix, bought it new so no existing customer issues. I believe the belts were last changed for my inspection from June 2007.

        It doesn’t seem like the fuel efficiency has changed at all. I lose track because I really don’t drive often (public transit) so a tank of gas sometimes last for two months. But going by the fuel efficiency monitor in the car (which may or may not be accurate), it doesn’t appear to have changed much.

    • ecwis says:

      @SabreDC: Yeah, also a good place to do work on your car is in an auto parts store parking lot. If anything goes wrong, you can buy the parts to fix it inside…

    • harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

      @SabreDC:

      Your HOA sounds like a bunch of busybody asses. Definitely consider moving.

      Doing your own oil changes is fun, cheap, and knowing it is done right is worth it.

      • SabreDC says:

        @harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law: Well, it’s such a minor problem. I wouldn’t move because of it. That would be like moving because my parking space was 5 feet wide instead of 6… not worth the hassle. I’m definitely going to stop going to these chain places for oil changes, but there are quite a few local mechanics in the area and I’m sure to find a trustworthy one.

        • IN THE FACE! says:

          @SabreDC: FCUK the PO-Lice! I lived in an apt complex that had that rule. Did a head swap that took 4 days (@ around 4-5hrs a day)…

          Someone complained, so I left a giant greasy hand print on the building manager’s car when he pulled up to talk to me about it (casually, he watched me do it and didn’t say anything), changed my oil in the same lot every 3 months for another two years, I don’t know if anyone ever complained again but the building manager never said anything again…

  10. ajlei says:

    I know Jiffy Lube has hurt some people in the past, but I never have any issue there. It helps to stand at the window of the waiting room and watch them the whole time. I used to go to Oil Can Henry’s but it’s over twice as much for the same oil change. Plus, my car burns oil and Jiffy will refill it before the next change; Henry’s wouldn’t do that, or so they said.

  11. Tightlines says:

    Jiffy Lube is awful. I’ve forbidden my fiance from ever going there again after they tightened the oil plug so tight I ended up stripping it after attempting to change her oil myself.

    On another note, I think that any undercover reporting by a local tv station involving the word “lube” should be done by no one but Carl Monday.

  12. Ninjanice says:

    I had something like this happen to me a few years ago. I had just moved from my hometown- where I had my little oil change place that always did a fantastic job. So when I moved a half hour away, I decided to find another oil change place closer to home. I went to Victory Oil Change and they tried to do an oil flush. They said that my oil wouldn’t come clean unless I got it flushed. I said that I’d never heard of that and that I’d even heard that sometimes flushes weren’t good, in particular for older cars because of sediment coming loose and plugging stuff up. They said that they’d do my oil change, but that my oil wouldn’t be clean and I that, basically, I was stupid to not follow there recommendations. So, when he showed me my dipstick with the new oil on it, there were some chunks of sediment and he said that if I’d gotten the oil flush, it would be completely clean. I left and happened to go back to my old oil change place for my next oil change. When they did my oil change, they never said anything about flushing it, so I asked them. They said that most cars do not need flushing of any kind and that I was right to question having an oil flush. And when they showed me my dipstick after the oil change, it was clean. I’ve also had oil change places tell me that I needed a new air filter (when I had replaced it days before), that I need to have my radiator flushed because it was all water and no coolent (when I had NEVER put water into my radiator, only coolent) and that I needed a new serpentine belt (when mine looked brand new). I find it funny that these “mechanics” think they are smarter than everyone that comes into their business. Just because I take my car in for an oil change doesn’t mean I’m stupid about cars or couldn’t do it myself. I could do it, but I’m not allowed to work on my car in the parking lot at my condo. Plus, men are weird when they see a young lady fixing her car and want to help or watch- neither of which I would want.

    • MrEvil says:

      @blah,blah,blah: Unless you’re buying the 50/50 antifreeze stuff you should be adding 1 gallon of water for every 1 gallon of antifreeze. Glycol antifreeze alone will not work in your car, neither will pure H2O by itself.

      Also, DO NOT PUT TAP WATER IN YOUR RADIATOR! Go to the grocery store and spend the ~$1 to buy a gallon of distilled water.

  13. Adisharr says:

    If you want the scum of the Earth to work on your car then by all means take it to Jiffy-Lube. Sure not ‘everyone’ there is a total scumbag but we all know the types of people that work there and the majority of them could give a shit about you or your vehicle.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Adisharr: Not all Jiffy Lubes are bad. I have a great local mechanic I take my car to for big jobs, but I don’t always have time to get there for an oil change. When I went away to college I didn’t know a local mechanic and started going to a really great Jiffy Lube up there. They never tried to sell me anything I didn’t need, would ask when my car was last serviced, if i had the recommended services or if i wanted them, show me my air filter and ask if I thought it needed changing and ask which type of oil change I wanted. That was it. Great place. This doesn’t mean I haven’t had a different Jiffy Lube try to scam me (one told me there was no fluid in my radiator and that a flush would fix it, if you can explain that-ran to my local mechanic to check for a leak, there wasn’t one) But just because one is bad doesn’t mean they all are.

  14. Dr. H. F. Danger says:

    Yeah, I barely trust lube shops to do an oil change. These guys are not Mechanics, they are lube techs. Places like this do not require ASE certification, which means any dude who can hold a wrench can get a job. Also, don’t go to the dealership for anything unless its for the scheduled maintenance. Find a recommended shop in your area and have REAL mechanics look at your car. A good mechanic will do visual inspections during the oil change and make necessary recommendations.

    • EarlNowak says:

      @testsicles: My local honda dealer charges $25 for an oil change, and they’ll throw in a tire rotation and check fluids for $5. I don’t understand why anyone would trust the high school dropouts at jiffy lube..

  15. bohemian says:

    If I don’t have the ability to change the oil at home I will take it to either the dealership (for our VW) or the mechanics we trust because they have a clue what they are doing. The VW dealership charges $60 for a frikking oil change but that includes full brand name synthetic, I know they know what they are doing and if they screw it up the dealership will be fixing the vehicle. Running dino oil through some of the VW engines can cause them to fail.

  16. caffeinequeen says:

    Jiffy Lube sold me that damn fuel injection cleaning package five years ago and destroyed my radiator. That $50 service wasn’t so cheap when it wound up costing me over a thousand bucks to fix my car. Never ever again.

  17. Gopher bond says:

    I’ll swap out my spark plugs and rotate my tires but I hate changing my oil. Messy job and then I have to take the oil to a place that will take care of it (probably Jiffy Lube anyway? No thanks. I’d rather pay Jiffy Lube $30 to do it.

    • Orv says:

      @testsicles: I just take mine to the nearest auto parts store. They have a big tank in the back to dump it in. No charge.

      I agree it’s a hassle, though. I only do it because I have older, unusual cars that the Iffy Lube places have no clue about. After having to walk them through an oil change once, *and* bring my own oil because they didn’t have the right grade, I realized it was easier to just do it myself.

      • Gopher bond says:

        @Orv: I will admit I do check the work from Jiffy Lube, the one Jiffy Lube I sent it to always came back with check fluid levels. But the place I’ve taken it to regularly over the past several years does a good job and I oa loose filter and was leaking oil or they added too much oil and one time they left the radiator cap off on a vehicle that you don’t even need to remove the radiator cap to nly check it every so often to make sure everything’s OK.

        • Gopher bond says:

          @testsicles: wow that got messed up:

          I will admit I do check the work from Jiffy Lube, the one Jiffy Lube I sent it to always came back with a loose filter and was leaking oil or they added too much oil and one time they left the radiator cap off on a vehicle that you don’t even need to remove the radiator cap to check fluid levels. But the place I’ve taken it to regularly over the past several years does a good job and I only check it every so often to make sure everything’s OK.

  18. ranwhenparked says:

    I love how the company’s response is always to treat it as a one-time incident with a few bad apples, then fire the low level, low paid employees as if its all their fault.

    Everyone knows Jiffy Lube corporate actively encourages this sort of upselling technique. They put incredible pressure on their shop managers to meet impossibly high sales quotas for each type of service, and push illicit upsellings as a means for making quota, then when the **** hits the fan, they blame the employees and act like they had no idea.

    This is not the first “undercover expose” of Jiffy Lube’s business practices, this company is so well known to be corrupt and deceptive, that they’ve become reliable filler material for local news stations with holes in their schedules. Jiffy Lube didn’t learn after the first few reports, and I doubt they’ll learn from this one.

  19. krom says:

    I once got sold on “MotorVac” service (engine flushing) at a Chevron service station in Bellevue. I was dubious and hesitant at first, but the counter guy told me it provided improved performance, cleaned out built up gunk, yadda yadda. So I got it.

    Got my car back, and it stalled every couple hundred feet. The engine flush had apparently led to my fuel pump burning out. But they were SO NICE to replace it without charging me labor (parts, not so much).

    The real mechanic there couldn’t figure out why i’d gotten the MotorVac service.

    Yeah, I didn’t go back.

  20. lizk says:

    I really need to find a new place to change my oil. I’ve gone to Jiffy Lube for years (one of those things where my parents went there for years, and I kept going there when I moved away many years ago). The #1 thing they try to upsell at my JL is air filters, then tire rotations, radiator flushes, and fuel injection cleaning. I’ve only had one problem with their service–they overfilled the coolant once and it leaked for quite awhile. No lasting damage, though it freaked me out.

  21. Quatre707 says:

    “In a statement, both JiffyLube and EZLube say it wasn’t acceptable for employees to lie and say services were recommended by the manufacturer when they weren’t, and the employees caught would be fired.”

    I’d like to see Best Buy fire it’s employees for offering Extended Warranties that are not recommended by manufacturers, or paid tech services which disable critical security components in Windows.

    • SRekauqh says:

      @Quatre707: Totally. I bought a $10 extra warranty for a DVD player which said it covered anything that would happen to it..replaced free of charge. DVD player fell off the shelf and was dented and making a weird noise. Take it back there and they say they won’t replace it because it has physical damage. I ended up buying another one and fixing the dented one myself. I told my cashier the story and he actually had the balls to ask, “Would you like an extra warranty for $10?”

      • taftsearlobe33 says:

        @SRekauqh: Don’t even get me started on Best Buys warrentys. My dad bought a HP laptop and got the warranty I came to visit maybe a month after he got it and i nocited the PCI port was messed up. He took it in and they said he must have did it and they would not cover the cost to fix it.

  22. calquist says:

    I had the Honda dealership telling me I needed a new oil filter with each oil change, then he got pissed when I refused. Is what he said true?

    • Orv says:

      @calquist: Generally yes, each oil change needs a new oil filter. A few cars allow you to use the filter for two changes; check your manual. Filters are cheap, though, and if it clogs unfiltered oil will bypass into your engine, shortening its life.

    • Anonymous says:

      @calquist: For my car (Acura Integra) it’s something like oil filter change every 5k, and oil change every 3.5k. Since oil filters cost like 5 bucks, and you’re going to be down there anyway, I’ve always just replaced them both when I change my oil. So no, its not very shady for them to suggest that. As long as they’re going to be down there, might as well replace both, since it doesn’t cost much.

    • emice says:

      @calquist: I have never seen a Japanese car where it is not recommended to change the oil filter with every change. I change my oil because the filter has worn out and not the other way around. Some motor oils will last 25,000 miles, but cheaper filters are finished by 5,000 miles.

      There are reports around the web of people changing their filter alone while keeping fancy synthetic oil like Royal Purple in there for 25,000 miles. Laboratory analysis of the used oil shows it is still in good condition. There a couple places that do this testing by mail, and you get a report with recommendations.

      I don’t have experience with newer Hondas but I can tell you the Fram/Honeywell manufactured – but Honda branded – filter the dealer provides for a 1995 Civic is not constructed to last beyond 5,000 miles. The recommended oil/filter change interval for this car is not that long though. The filter uses a cardboard like paper that clogs too easily, and is sealed at the seams with glue. I have read that in Japan the dealer actually carries a better filter for the same car.

      When a filter clogs, pressure builds up and triggers a bypass valve, and it stops filtering – the oil flows straight through. Filters with cheap paper filter material also tend to have weak springs on their bypass valves, so that when they clog the bypass triggers with less pressure – otherwise a clogged filter could result in the engine being starved for oil since it cannot flow quickly enough through the clogage. Things like dust that get past your air filter end up not getting filtered out of the oil, and the silica/glass in there is hard enough to cut away at the moving parts much quicker than should ever happen.

      I use Napa Gold/WIX brand filters with Mobile-1 synthetic oil and change my oil every 6,000 miles or 2x a year. This filter is not made of paper but special media that progressively filters larger to small particles so it doesn’t clog as easily. You could probably go 10,000 miles with that same combo if you don’t drive too aggressively, take mostly long trips, and don’t live in a freezing climate.

    • xspook says:

      You should always change the filter with oil changes. BUT, if you use high quality oil, you can actually just change the filter and top off the oil. Even car manufacturers are recommending oil changes every 6,000 – 8,000 miles, not every 3,000 like the quicky places want you to believe.@calquist:

  23. youbastid says:

    Not Toyota! The dealership I went into for an oil change (I had a coupon for a free one) recommended I get fuel injection cleaning because it was “costing me a few MPG’s”. My mileage hasn’t noticeably diminished in the 5 years since I bought the car, and the $249.99 they wanted to charge me would probably take 75 years to pay for itself.

  24. RoninianHoon says:

    So they fired the guy for doing his job? Corporate always pushes for more sales, why would they even ofter the service if damages your car… “greed” and they don’t give a dam about the pour tech just doing his job the way they push him too…

  25. dougp26364 says:

    Interesting in that I recently had an issue with my 2005 Saturn Vue’s gas gauge not reading correctly. GM’s response was to run fuel cleaner through my car to clean off the sulfer from the inexpensive gas I’d been buying at our grocery store (10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent).

    I was told specifically not to buy the non-detergent gas (so much for saving 10 cents/gallon at the grocery store), given a list of “approved” gas stations to buy gas from AND told to occasionally run fuel injector cleaner through my car. They even went so far as to recommend which fuel injector cleaner to us (I believe it was BG or something to that affect).

    The cleaning (covered under warrenty at the time) solved the gas gauge problem and it hasn’t returned since I’ve been using the gas from the recommended gas stations. I have yet to run additional fuel additives through my engine.

    • EarlNowak says:

      @dougp26364: Additives and a “Flush” are completely different. Fuel additives are generally considered safe- the most popular one is Chevron Techron concentrate (which is used in chevron gas at a lower concentration).

      A flush is when they use a machine to force solvent through your injectors- it’s pure profit for the shop and more likely than not will totally fuck up your engine.

  26. veronykah says:

    I used to go to Jiffy Lube simply because it was cheap and they top off fluids as well as change oil. I had an old car that leaked oil AND power steering fluid. Took the car in, was told it was done. Drove off to the whine of no PS fluid. Looked under the hood and the SAME oil filter was there as when I brought it in. Went back and told the mgr they charged me and did NOTHING to my car. He was visibly embarrassed that they had been caught.
    I never went back.

  27. minsky says:

    Jiffy Lube blows. Before my girlfriend and I started seeing each other, she used to take her car to Jiffy Lube. Last year, in reviewing her receipts from Jiffy Lube, I discovered, on at least three occasions, she was charged $40 for ‘rear differential service’ (obviously something they told her she needed to have done and she believed them, not knowing any better). But, funny thing, her car does not have a rear differential, it is front wheel drive. This was total, blatent fraud and outright deception.

    She felt bad when I told her, but she now has an honest mechanic…me!

  28. Sampsonian says:

    I got taken in by this scam the other day at a Power Toyota dealer. I had to get other substantial work done (in addition to the standard 60k maintenance schedule stuff, I had to get a brake job) and they snuck in the $200+ fuel injector cleaning service. I should have been more careful, but they did their best to “bundle” all of it together and not explaining just how much more it would cost, making it more difficult to refuse.

    Many articles on automotive service, as well as the comments here note the importance of finding a “trustworthy” local mechanic who is not affiliated with a big corporate interest, but are there any reliable resources to help you find one? For as much value and safety mechanics are trusted with, there is a surprising dearth of regulation and/or competent and meaningful licensing.

  29. Anonymous says:

    It is obvious that the Jiffy Lube corporation is pushing its employees into selling these dangerous services. Like Best Buy pushes its employees to sell Extended Warranty. Jiffy Lube is only sorry it got caught. Take your car to a real car mechanic/shop.

  30. jdmba says:

    Jiffy Lube almost destroyed my Civic a few years ago. Not only did the ‘junior mechanic in training’ (they call them, employees) put in a full quantity of oil into my engine without actually emptying it first, but he ripped my radiator hose.

    The hose they had to run out, and replace, since my car was immobile. The busted engine seals due to having a drastically overfilled engine, was mine to enjoy.

    Never went back.

  31. boricuachick says:

    I used to take my car to Jiffy Lube for oil changes and after three trips one year, I noticed that a day or two after the oil had been changed, something would go wrong with my car. If this had happened after one oil change I would not have thought anything was peculiar, but 3 times in a row???? That is mighty fishy. I now let my regular mechanic do the oil changes at his shop. The extra five bucks is worth it for my peace of mind.

  32. ZeGerman says:

    I thought it was common knowledge that quick-change oil franchises always try to sell you services that are either unnecessary and/or harmful…

    I’ve got tons of personal stories, including the time when my car was driven into the opening in the floor by a Jiffy Lube technician. They somehow managed to get it out getting all their goons together and pushing. Hoping that I didn’t notice as I sat waiting in the lobby, they didn’t say anything about the event until I brought it up. They were extra red in the face, but refused to give me a free oil change despite the damage to my car (it was a $500 winter beater I drove for a year in high school, so I didn’t care much about the scrapes & scuffs).

    Oh, and there was the time they forgot to tighten the hose-clamp around my radiator hose… Imagine my delight when the hose blew off the radiator on the way home and I lost all my coolant. Yay!

    And lets not forget the time when it took multiple attempts for a technician to close my hood, which will normally latch if dropped from a height of about 6 inches. The guy kept picking my hood up and SLAM!, SLAM!!, SLAM!!! He finally got it to latch, but I noticed that the hood was sticking up a bit on the passenger side. I opened it up and found that the technician had left a screwdriver under the hood, right where it makes contact with the body of the car. My hood has never looked perfect after that.

    I change my own oil now.

  33. vlv723 says:

    Last year, I remember Channel 4 bust EZ Lube with the unnecessary “preventative maintenance” services. I guess they didn’t change their ways after all.

  34. FuzzyPlushroom says:

    Doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Good thing we don’t have “EZ Lube” around here, and most people I know are knowledgeable enough not to patronize Jiffy.

    Now, Grammar Nazi time…

    “How come there not on the computer?”

    I dunno, because I sure as hell didn’t see them there on that sheet of paper. Perhaps they’re not.

    And what, exactly, is a “transimisson”?

  35. ElvinaKaplooyi says:

    I know they cost me a water pump once, when I assumed they had told the truth about topping off the coolant, and discovered (later that day) that the pump was wrecked from catastrophically low coolant.

  36. emanresuym says:

    I saw this on the news tonight, WOW what a scam. Jiffy Lube needs to be fined or everyone needs to just go to a REAL mechanic and get it done right. I never go to any “10-minute oil change”, its ten minutes cause the “tech” working on your car just passed a 50 question multiple choice question for the job that started with “can you talk and read a diagram at the same time?” Hopefully the people that got screwed can get repaid.

  37. MrEvil says:

    I change my own oil on my F250. However on my crown Vic the only way my fat-ass is going to change its oil is if I had my own pit or a lift. So I take it to a place. I’ve had one place offer to recharge my K&N Drop-in for $10. The recharge kit from K&N is $10 at O’RLY and can recharge the filter over a dozen times. Never had been asked about an injector flush, which I know is BS having removed fuel injectors. In fact I confirmed it on my Crown Vic when replacing the intake manifold. The Injectors were SQUEAKY clean and all the tiny orifices were free of grime.

    Makes me wish I really did have my own oil change pit in my driveway.

    As far as oil disposal goes, my dad has a waste oil heaater in his workshed and is planning on putting in a waste oil boiler out at his place. With all the machinery we have that takes multiple gallons of oil he could heat his house all winter with stuff we’d otherwise take to a recycler.

  38. Marshfield says:

    Changin’ your own oil isn’t a picnic. Perhaps you have ramps, you really need ‘em to avoid squeezing under the car. Then you gotta get the wrench out, get the pan out, the OTHER wrench out, get your oil change clothes on, put the car on the ramps after you get them out, squiggle underneath with wrenches, drain the pan (oops, drips from the nut on your hand, or it fell into the pan below) and then unscrew the filter, (more drips on your hand). Finally halfway home. Put new filter on, put nut back into pan, shove the catch pan full of oil out of the way. wipe everything off. Get the funnel, new oil and start filling it up. Meanwhile dump the used oil in a transfer bottle or jug to take back to recycle, throw the empty bottles away, start car and check for leaks, roll it off the ramps. Put ramps away. Put wrenches away. Wash hands with Go-Jo, change out of oil-change clothes.

    There, wasn’t that fun?

    Or drive down to jiffy lube and sit in the stinky waiting room for 20 minutes while someone else does all that nasty work for you for just a few dollars more than you spent at the auto-parts store.

    I dunno… I think Jiffy Lube and similar places have value. But I do change my own oil, too. There is a certain satisfaction in it.

  39. pyehac says:

    I take my 4 year old car to the dealer (not where I bought it) and so far they’ve treated me like family. Sure, they tried to get me to pour in fuel additive and engine flush, but I politely declined it for budget reasons (later found out it was unnecessary).

    The only other time I took my car to a non-dealer mechanic was when I tried a local midas. Their service was okay, but nothing to write about.

  40. xspook says:

    A friends wife took their leased SUV to one of those quick lube places and they didn’t bother to actually replace the oil they drained, or didn’t replace the drain plug or the plug fell off a few feet from the shop, but all the oil dumped rather quickly.

    She didn’t realize this right away and drove a few miles with the oil light on, thinking it would clear.

    As you can imagine, the engine was toast. They sued, but all the shop owed them was what was ruined…a used engine.

    They had to pay out of pocket for the costs not covered.

    On another note, I took my vehicle to a place running a $20 special – oil change and tire rotation. I watched the “tech” through the window and he actually removed all tires, but never rotated them. When I saw him mounting the wheels on the same places he removed them I found the manager and explained what was happening. Without him even asking the tech, he said confidently that the tires had been rotated…I explained, “I’m watching the guy. He’s replacing them exactly where they were pulled from.” The manager had the guy rotate the tires and I haven’t been back.

  41. jugg2driver says:

    Does anyone know where we can get the notices sent to mechanics not recommending those services? Our local Saturn dealer sold my wife on the same service as mentioned in the video.

  42. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    This should also be mentioned for things like SeaFoam and DynaLube and other “cleaners” and additives. These things do nothing of value, yet they still sell them at the auto part store and there’s always some schmuck buying them or trying to talk others into buying it. And the cult of SeaFoam that I’ve found on the internet is scary – these guys really believe it increases performance and improves the engine.

  43. BMRFILE says:

    I have a 20 year-old BMW 325i, and everytime I tried taking it to Jiffy Lube for an oil change (I usually do it on my own, but I get it done at a shop when I’m short on time), they told me my car needs a special kind of oil filter, which is $25.95 My local Pep Boys carries the same “special” filter for $5.99, made by Fram.

    Don’t be a sucker and take your car to a trusted mechanic instead.

    • EarlNowak says:

      @BMRFILE: Whoa! Fram filters absolutely suck. It’s mostly cardboard and glue.

      Spend another $3 and pick up the Napa Gold over at napa auto parts. It’s a rebranded WIX filter, and probably the best value for the money when it comes to aftermarket oil filters.

  44. edicius is an acquired taste says:

    Now I feel kind of stupid. Admittedly, I know very little about cars and I’ve always periodically gotten the engine flushing and/or fuel injection cleaning services – initially from my Saturn dealership and the last time from a Quick Lube-type place. I haven’t had any related problems, however. Car was bought new in ’99 and it’s almost at 100K miles. But after reading this, it’s just oil changes for me from now on and none of this flushing crap.

  45. Dansc29625 says:

    I work next to one of these places, they aren’t bad people. They may not have the book learnin’ as most folks, but they aren’t stupid. Engine flush is just a can of Seafoam, and that is it. the mechanics buy that stuff by the case from me.

    Fuel Injection service? how is that different than a can of STP or any other fuel system cleaner?

    • lasereric41 says:

      STP is about 75% alcohol based, so when it hits your fuel tank it’s pretty much gone right away and doesn’t accomplish anything. There are fuel injector cleaners or fuel additives that are more expensive, but actually do the job and help clean your fuel system. The smart thing to do is take it to a dealer or ask the dealer what they recommend. You’ll never get screwed over by a dealer, and if you do, every flush that most dealers sell comes with a guarantee against anything going wrong for a period of time.@Dansc29625:

  46. Anonymous says:

    3 weeks after getting a transmission flush at Jiffy lube I was forced to either sell the car or replace the ruined tranny…

    it cost me $3k to fix a $5K car which I had just bought…

  47. lasereric41 says:

    Really the smart thing to do is take your car to a dealer if you want a good job done. The people that work there are certified for that specific kind of car. Sure you may pay less for a jiffy lube or grease monkey oil change, but if you wanna go cheap then you earned what you got. The dealer might try to sell you something, but only if your car actually needs it, and if you ask them, they’ll give you plenty of proof why.

    Something I’ll never understand is why people will spend thousands of dollars on a car that they probably spend 1/4 of their life in, then go crazy anytime they have to pay more than $20 to maintain it. You want your car to last? Try taking care of it.