Jiffy Lube Pulls Dirty Filter Trick On Unsuspecting Customer

Josh has been paying $30 extra to change out the air filter each time he brings his car to Jiffy Lube for an oil change. This time, to save money, he decided to do it himself—and that’s when he discovered that Jiffy Lube lied to him about the filter.

I don’t know a lot about cars but every time I go to get my oil changed I am asked if I need to get my air filter replaced. Normally I say yes, and deal with the extra 30 dollar charge, but today I was watching my spending and had to decline.

In order to better sell their point, the salesman show me a pitch black SQUARE air filter, covered with leaves and oil, claiming it was mine. I recalled getting my air filter changed the last time my oil filter was, so immediately my suspicions were raised. I had to stop at a parts store and pick up some coolant for my car anyway, so I figured I could buy a new air filter and change it out myself.

When I went to store I was immediately suspicious of the service I had received at Jiffy Lube. The filter I was shown by the mechanic was SQUARE, but the air filter I purchased (the only kind that would work for my car) for my car was RECTANGULAR. When I got home I was certain that Jiffy Lube had been trying to rip me off. The ‘filthy’ air filter was in fact only slightly yellow in color (not black,) and nothing at all like the one they showed me.

The Jiffy Lube repairman lied to me in order to sell me a new air filter. Jiffy Lube should be ashamed, and I don’t think I will ever get my oil changed there again. This is exactly the kind of cheating that turns people off to hiring a mechanic in the first place.

Maybe the mechanic meant “this is your filter in theory,” right? Then why wasn’t he more specific? Hmm, unless he wanted the customer to confuse the issue and assume that it was literally his car’s filter, and then fearfully pay a premium for the service. (We’re suspicious of Jiffy Lube because Jiffy Lube has a long history of shenanigans. )

Luckily for you, it’s very easy to change your own air filter. The guys at Car Talk equate it with being able to hang a picture on the wall, and you won’t have to deal with the extra labor charges from a place like Jiffy Lube.

As far as when to replace it, we’ve seen a wide range of suggestions, including “every 15,000 miles,” “every time you change your oil,” “every 3-4,000 miles,” “check your car’s manual,” and “when it’s dirty.” So while Jiffy Lube may have been right to suggest replacing the filter, it’s such an easy thing to do that you’ll save money by doing it yourself.

“How To Change Your Car’s Filters” [Edmunds]
“Car Talk Service Advice: Air Filters” [Car Talk]
(Photo: Karen Eliot)

Comments

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  1. mythago says:

    Maybe he meant, “This is your filter on drugs”?

    Normally I loathe the why-don’t-you-do-it-yourself comments, but yes, changing an air filter really is that easy.

    • Anonymous says:

      @mythago: In some cars; mostly Japanese made around 1995-2000 (my 96 Honda Accord is one) – changing the air filter is really, really fiddly, you have to remove the wiper fluid bottle and the front left headlight. Ideally, if you’re not comfortable screwing around under the bonnet; ask your mechanic to show you how it’s done, or if you don’t trust him enough or he won’t, make sure you know what you’re looking for before you start.

      • racermd says:

        @HiltonShrew: For a few select vehicles, it may be a PITA to do it yourself. For most, however, it’s a simple matter of popping a cover (held on with some clips or other hand-operated mechanism), pulling the old filter out, dropping the new one in, and re-securing the cover.

        The air filter, while important, isn’t really all that vital to keep super-clean. Yes, it’ll make your car work more efficiently, but only by so much. The important thing is to keep it from getting TOO dirty and clogged.

        I’ve said this to all of my friends and family: Follow the scheduled maintenance for SEVERE service in the manual and you should be generally okay. If you hear a noise, smell something different, or the vehicle handles or behaves drastically different than expectations, get it checked out by at least 2 sources (ideally 3 or more), at least one of which should be a dealership service center for that make. Once the problem is identified, get it fixed ASAP, as these things tend to get worse (and more expensive) as time goes on. When in doubt, ask someone you trust with such things for guidance, but do not simply ignore it.

        • ScottRose says:

          @racermd:

          I just wanted to “fourth” the above comments. And if a mechanic ever shows you an oil-stained air filter than one of three things happened:

          - The previous guy that changed it put his oil-ridden hands all over it (or spilled oil on it, or something..)

          - You are being deceived as was probably the case with the OP.

          - Something is VERY SERIOUSLY wrong with your car for oil to get into your filter box.

          Oh, sorry, I guess there are 4 possible explanations:

          - You were playing Spy Hunter IRL and drove through a bunch of oil slicks recently.

  2. TeeDub says:

    Your link for “changing your own oil filter” is actually for changing an air filter.

    I would strongly advise against replacing your air filter with one designed for oil.

  3. t325 says:

    And that’s why I wouldn’t trust the morons at Jiffy Lube to fill my windshield washer fluid, much less change my oil

    • ShikhaCadimillac says:

      @t325: Best comment of the entire post.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @t325: I have a new car, so I just go to the dealer. I think the dealer was only charging 25 bucks for an oil change. Which is most likely the same or cheaper than a place like jiffy lube. Plus I only need to do it every 5k miles so even if they charged 30 bucks it would be cheaper than getting an oil change on cars that need them every 3k.

      In the end the dealer is going to be the only place where you can trust it is done right. The people there make their money on the cars they sell, they are going to care about them more. And you are never going to run into the issue of some retard mechanic claiming they don’t have the right part or tool for your kind of car.

      • Outrun1986 says:

        @Corporate_guy: We have a trusted, local mechanic here who also gets our business for oil changes, they charge like 20$. Since going to them we have not been upsold on anything or been showed supposed samples from our car and told that they needed to be replaced. Going to Delta Sonic or any other retail oil change place is a nightmare for female customers!

        • Corporate_guy says:

          @Outrun1986: A local mechanic can be better than a national chain. But even then they have to deal with all kinds of different cars a day. I took my corolla to the dealer to get the oil change and there was a line of 3 corollas getting oil changes in the shop already. There is much advantage from having a mechanic with tons of experience on your type of car doing the work. You never know when a shop is missing a part and will jerry-rig something to get paid.

          I was at a non-chain local shop with a 92 mustang when they told me they did not have the right gasket for the car.

          • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

            @Corporate_guy: i found a great mechanic when i had my Accord- they only dealt with Hondas and Accuras, so i had the expertise of a dealership, with the trustworthiness and costs of a mechanic

            • Corporate_guy says:

              @Gstein: That works. Plus depending on the age of the car, it does make sense to find a good non dealer shop since the value of your car might not be high enough to justify the extra expense. On that same 92 mustang in 2002 the transmission went out. The car was otherwise in pretty good condition. So I went to a third party place that did transmissions. It would have been dumb to pay dealer prices on a car that old.

      • ChildeRoland420 says:

        @Corporate_guy: “In the end the dealer is going to be the only place where you can trust it is done right.”

        That is just ridiculous. Anyone with 2 cents worth of intelligence can do an oil change. It requires:

        1. Pull oil plug
        2. Replace oil plug
        3. Pull oil filter
        4. Replace oil filter
        5. Fill with oil

        A freaking monkey could do that on any car in the US, why people think that it requires a specialist for their car is beyond me. If your dealer is only charging $30, then yeah, have them do it. But, it is the same on any car out there and any mechanic can do it.
        But, people have that same attitude when it comes to repairs. I grew up in an auto repair shop, and I know that the dealer will charge at least $20 more/hour, for jobs that simply do not require a dealer. A good mechanic can do just about anything a dealer’s shop can, for a lot less money.

        • nataku8_e30 says:

          @ChildeRoland420: Actually, the dealer generally screws stuff up at least as much as a good shop. Anyone who has something done on their car, anywhere, and assumes it was done correctly, is eventually going to get a nasty surprise. I like to do the majority of my work myself, because at least if something gets screwed up, I know who to blame for it.

          After getting an oil change, you should always check your oil level and color (make sure it’s clean oil) and try to check to make sure that other work you paid for was actually done and done correctly.

          • yagisencho says:

            @nataku83:

            Jiffy Lube managed to leave the air filter cover on my car unsecured…TWICE. They lost my business. I just hope that they managed to actually change the oil. Based on my car’s 45k mile tune up though, they might not have. =/

            • Anonymous says:

              @yagisencho: I made the mistake of stopping at a Jiffy Lube when I was in a hurry a few years ago. Since they top fluids for free, I reminded to guy to please refill the windshield washer fluid. When he was all done and I got back in the car, I noticed the windshield washer fluid was still empty, so I got out and mentioned it to him. He seemed surprised, buttook a bottle of washer fluid and opened my hood.

              After looking around under my hood for about 20 seconds, I pointed out the reservoir to him. He said, “Oh, that must be why” and filled it. To this day I have no idea where he originally poured the washer fluid.

        • Framling says:

          @ChildeRoland420: Assuming you have:

          1) the tools and equipment necessary, including a: hand tools, b: drain pan, and c: jack stands,

          2) a level, safe area to do it in with enough clear space around it,

          3) the time,

          and

          4) a simple and responsible way to dispose of the used oil, the filter, and the rags or towels you use,

          Then yeah, it’s so easy a monkey could do it. I have better things to do with my time, so I prefer to pay other monkeys to do it and simply check their work afterward.

        • Rusted says:

          @ChildeRoland420: Don’t forget, on some engines, they have a crushable gasket that has to be replaced every time the drain plug is removed. It’s what has killed many Subaru 2.5 boxers at cheap oil changing places.

  4. John Joslyn says:

    anyone that pays $30 for a air filter that isn’t K&N should be taken out back and shot.

    and teedub, this entire message is about changing AIR filters.

    • cunninglinguine says:

      @John Joslyn: Agreed. I think my air filter runs about $6-$9, depending on brand, at Autozone. Many cars use more expensive filter models but no air filter should be $30.

      Okay, so it’s the labor, right? It takes, literally, 30 seconds to change an air filter for most vehicles.

      Jiffy Lube is famous for doing shady stuff such as not bothering to replace your oil filter but claiming they did it anyway. I remember something on the news in Las Vegas: an investigative reporter got a complaint about it, so he drew a smiley face on his oil filter with a magic marker and brought his car in for an oil change. Sure enough, when he left the smiley face was still there, even though he’d paid for a new oil filter and was told it had been changed.

      Happens quite often.

    • Geekybiker says:

      @John Joslyn:
      The generic fram air filter for my car is $20. I bet if I was using a genuine part it would be close to $30. Should I be shot if I choose to use OEM parts?

    • LorenPechtel says:

      @John Joslyn: Mine’s over $20 for an aftermarket replacement. I have no idea what the official is. It’s got a K&R in it now.

  5. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Why the hell would you have your air filter changed every 3,000 miles anyway – they’re usually good for 30,000 – you’ve been ripping *yourself* off.

    • 67alecto says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese:

      Exactly – air filters should be replaced every 30k miles unless you regularly drive through dust/sand storms.

      • Julia789 says:

        @67alecto: Right – when they were digging up the road near my house for several weeks, a few years ago, it made little “dust storms” all through the summer wherever they dug to lay the new water main. My air filter was clogged with the grainy dust a month later when I changed it. It was pretty choked up.

        I have since learned it helps if you are driving through construction and see the dust cloud ahead of time to shut off your A/C or heat before heading through the cloud. Lesson learned!

        • fatcop says:

          @Julia789: Umm the air filter has nothing to do with your air/heat system. It filters the air for combustion in your engine.

          • Rachacha says:

            @fatcop: Perhaps, put many cars are now equiped with cabin air filters in addition to the engine air filter. If Julia’s vehicle had a cabin air cleaner, it would be appropriate to turn off the heater/AC in dusty areas to help perserve the life of your cabin filter.

        • perruptor says:

          @Julia789: The air filter being discussed here is the one that cleans air going into the engine. None of that air goes into the passenger compartment through the heater or A/C. Some cars do have a filter on those systems, bus it’s not one that Jiffy Lube pretends to stock or replace.

          It is, however, a good idea to close the fresh-air vent if you see a cloud of dust or diesel smoke or whatever ahead – keeps you from breathing it in, at least. (Assuming you have the windows closed, of course.)

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese:

      I change every 10k, despite MFR stating I can go 30k. But that’s because I live on a dirt road.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @trademarked67: i remember a sotry a while back where undercover reporters marked certain parts with UV markers, and took the cars to a variety of places to get serviced… (i think they may have disconnected something, can’t remember – that may have been from a similar setup involving PC repair scams)
      the short of it, women were more often scammed than men, and clueless customers were often charged to replace parts that were working, and in several cases, said parts were not even replaced (i want to say it was an ABC affil that did this.. can’t remember)

  6. trademarked67 says:

    Yes, Jiffy Lube has had a nice history of screwing people. See the link for one story and I know you can find many more…


    + Watch video

  7. heart.shaped.rock says:

    One thing they also do… they’ll tell you they’ve replaced your air filter when all they’ve done is blwo out the dirt on the old one and put it back in your car. Get a $12 Fram at Walmart, and in 30 seconds you can change it yourself.

  8. InThrees says:

    If you can load a dishwasher or do laundry, you can change an air filter.

    • Mr_D says:

      @InThrees: I’d move the bar back even further. If you are capable of walking upright, you can change an air filter.

    • scoosdad says:

      @InThrees: It’s not always as easy as it seems. I do my own car work, and the air filter in my current vehicle (a Ford Explorer) is in a compartment up near the grill that’s partially located under the passenger side fender. The output of it is just about permanently attached to the heavy plastic/rubber airflow channel that is part of the top of the engine.

      To change the filter and not totally disassemble the air channel, I have to find a huge screwdriver and use it as a prybar to force the entire filter assembly far enough away from beneath the fender to open up the top of it to get the filter out. It’s almost as if they deliberately designed the filter holder to discourage people from changing it themselves.

      • ecwis says:

        @scoosdad: That sounds like you’re referring to the cabin air filter. Those are occasionally in the cabin. I’ve never seen an engine air filter that was not under the hood. I assume that this is what the story is talking about since it’s a lot more important to replace the engine air filter than it is for the cabin air filter.

        • scoosdad says:

          @ecwis: No this is the engine air filter. It’s under the hood right behind the passenger side headlight, and the cover to it extends under the fender, so without prying the whole assembly towards the fan while you swing the cover up and open, you can’t get the filter out. And I’m talking a LOT of force with a big screwdriver or prybar. Even after the cover is open you have to pry it again to get the filter to clear the fender and out. A ridiculous design by Ford. A local mechanic showed me how to pry it to get it open without totally disassembling the stiff rubber air hose running from the filter box to the top of the engine.

          • ecwis says:

            @scoosdad: Wow, that is ridiculous. I thought Fords were supposed to be easier to maintain on your own. For a rather common replacement part, it shouldn’t be that hard. On my car, all that I have to do is snap off six clips and then the filter is exposed. :-/

            • Rusted says:

              @ecwis: I had four Fords, not all at once. Each one had it’s own PITA part or area that no intelligent life could get to without a major dismantling. Must be why I drive a Subaru.

          • quail says:

            @scoosdad: My old, 1999 Dodge Caravan had a similar air filter problem. To change it you were required to remove all sorts of tubing and take out 4 screws that were in knuckle busting locations. Stupid design. Good car and engine though.

    • Optimistic Prime says:

      @InThrees: Not always, depends on your vehicle. Some cars you have to really disassemble quite a bit to get to the air filter. I remember the 97 Caravan being a real pain in the ass. Generally speaking they’re easy, but not always.

  9. deadandy says:

    I will say that changing the air filter on some cars is exceedingly difficult for car novices. The air filter on my wife’s 2004 Mazda 3 is hidden under two layers of plastic parts you have to remove plastic screws and tabs to reach. Anyone who’s ever worked on those cars will agree with me that those plastic parts can break very easily if you don’t know where to pry.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @deadandy: Ugh, I hate those plastic screws. My old Grand Am had those on the hood for the air intake….which you had to remove to change the headlight bulbs. I vowed that the next vehicles I ever own will not require disassembing thinkgs to change a bulb.

    • waystland says:

      @deadandy:

      ooooo, but for YOUR car it would not be 30$ it would be more like 80$ because it took effort

  10. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Auto Repair for Dummies FTW.

    Read it, went through my car with it and my owner’s manual, and I can now change my own oil and filtery things, check all my fluids and belts and battery and filters, diagnose simple issues, and avoid getting ripped off.

    I can’t really be BOTHERED to change my own oil, but I know HOW now, and I know when the repair place/oil change place is making shit up, and I feel a lot more confident about standing up for myself in those situations. And more confident in making decisions when I have a problem or a breakdown without a panicked call to my husband. (I know, it was very 50s of me, I’m better now.)

    I know lots of you are advanced way beyond that, but for anyone who’s a car novice like me, it was definitely worth the investment of $20 and a few hours of my time. (And I’m sure you can find it dead cheap on half.com.) Before it I would totally have believed the evil filter-switching guy.

    • WalrusTaco says:

      @Eyebrows McGee:

      Agreed. After a few bad experiences (really bad), I decided that being a man I should know about the car basics, and so after reading CRFD I now change my own oil and do my own basic repairs, but more importantly, when I can’t bother to do them, I know what I’m talking about.

      ****Also, whenever you get work done, ALWAYS request for the old parts to be bagged up so that you can “take a look at them when you get home.” This will help you out tons in the long run.

    • GretaDandradeine says:

      not to change subject here and so out of touch but i’ve been seeing this term everywhere and it’s been bothering the bloody hell out of me trying to figure it out —>”FTW”

    • mythago says:

      @Eyebrows McGee: I like “Fuck The What” better.

  11. Claytons says:

    I had Jiffy Lube pull this on me after I had moved across the country. I had the air filter changed per the car manual’s recommendation prior to the drive, so I laughed when the guy at Jiffy Lube showed me a filter full of seeds and leaves I knew for a fact didn’t grow on the East coast. I told him I had just had my filter changed and rather than saying “I mean, this is like your air filter” he simply continued the lie and said sarcastically, “well they did a real bang up job.”

    That was the last time I went to Jiffy Lube. I really wish there was a list of oil change places that didn’t try to sell you air filters, fluids and the like. They’re hard to find when you move.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Claytons: Car Talk has a “find a mechanic” page:

      [www.cartalk.com]

      We’ve used it with great success. I hate moving and having to find new service people. :)

    • Anonymous says:

      @Claytons: I’ve always had good luck with Sears when I’m in an unfamiliar area. Some are better than others, but they’ve never tried to up-sell me on needless maintenance, etc.

      In fact, the only place I’ve ever been that really fit the “con-artist mechanic” stereotype was..you guessed it..Jiffy Lube. They tried to tell me that my air filter was dirty and my transmission fluid needed to be changed- interestingly, I had done both a week earlier. They must have some kind of clause requiring franchise owners to be crooks.

    • supercereal says:

      @Claytons: One thing that I’ve always done before and after going to a place like Jiffy Lube is to mark the replaced part with the date, or an inconspicuous marker dot. Makes it hard to claim that they changed a filter when you can still see the old one with a little dot on it in there.

  12. ohnoes says:

    I would say if you can clip your fingernails, you can change your air filter.

  13. Sunny Yeung says:

    Is it any wonder why my circle of friends call it “Iffy Lube?”

  14. ICherub says:

    I’ve had Jiffy Lube employee’s try to sell me a new filter despite the fact that I have a K&N filter. I even have a sticker on the filter shroud clearly saying so.

    I bought the K&N precisely so that I could forget about filters forever (or until I replace the car…).

    • RbblRbblChzbrgr_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @ICherub: You DO have to clean and re-oil them occasionally. I have one for my 85 oldsmobile. Sadly my mechanic is trustworthy, so I never get the joy of laughing in some quick lube places face.

    • MikeVx says:

      @ICherub: I’m in agreement with ${prefix_of_the_week}GitEmSteveDave on this. You do have to clean K&N filters every 50,000 to 70,000 miles or so. Not a big deal, but you do have to plan for it.

      I pick a saturday when the weather is expected to be good, and if so, I pull the filter, spray the oil solvent into it, let it sit for a while, then flush with tap water. Then I let it air-dry on the porch for an hour or two (hence the requirement for good weather) the re-oil it, making sure there are no white spots (the oil has red dye to aid in complete coverage) let it sit for another hour to be sure the oil has soaked in evenly, then back in it goes. The amount of time this takes is why I choose days when I’m not going anywhere for a few hours. My actual time expended is less than half an hour, the rest is letting things dry/soak/etc.

  15. oneliketadow says:

    You also don’t need new oil every 3k miles IMHO.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @oneliketadow: depends on the age of the car. my ancient toyota camry really kind of did need it changed more frequently but the owner’s manual on my former mazda protege suggested every 5000 miles. check the manual

      • kenblakely says:

        @catastrophegirl: “my ancient toyota camry really kind of did need it changed more frequently”?

        And how exactly did you know that? Did the car tell you that or something, or did it somehow run >better< after changing the oil? Please.

        Get a clue peeps: Cars are better nowadays. They last a long time. I >never< change oil, and my cars run just fine – as good as they would if I *did* change the oil – and they sell just fine when I pass them on to the next guy in 4 or 5 years. Changing oil is for chumps, and it’s nothing more than a big industry fraud.

        • pjorg says:

          @kenblakely: This is very dangerous thinking. Do you really think something as expensive and complex as a car can get by without any routine maintenance whatsoever?

          Yes, a new car will run for quite a while without changing the oil before it actually seizes up. But it’s certainly not going to “go the distance” as compared to a properly maintained vehicle.

          Remind me never to buy from you.

          • howtragic says:

            @pjorg:

            I get mine changed once a year and I have never had a problem. This whole 3k shit is just a scam by mechanics to get you in more often.

            People need to start learning a little bit about their own cars. Luckily, my dad taught me how to change my own oil and replace the air filter, but I usually take in it just to avoid the hassle of disposing of the oil.

            I always work from the assumption that the mechanic will try and rip you off if they can. Always get a written estimate, and always pop your hood and check out the work they did before you leave the garage. Mechanics are always surprised i do these two things, which makes me think that most people don’t.

            • scooby2 says:

              @howtragic: 3K is definitely a scam. My Honda maintenance minder has me changing oil every 7.5k-8k on regular old dino oil. 7 total changes so far and things are still running like new. I’m sure Honda has put millions if not tens of millions into research on this. There would be lawsuits out the wazoo if cars started dying due to engine issues caused by lack of oil changes. The documentation states that the maintenance minder will typically have you change your oil between 5k and 10k miles depending on driving styles and driving situations. 90% of my driving is highway so 7.5k-8k seems pretty safe.

              I just make sure to always take my car to the dealer for my oil changes and keep the receipts. Better safe than sorry although I did get 185k miles out of my 99 Grand Am before the rest of the car decided to give up (starter, blinkers, speedometer, numerous water pumps, alternators, and intake manifold gaskets, shocks/struts, etc). Changing oil every 5k-6k saved some money and the engine was still running perfectly when I traded her in. No burning oil or leaks and I always changed it myself back then with Mobil One.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          @kenblakely: well, because i checked and changed my own oil and i could see the color and texture of the oil. also, it got much worse when i was on my second engine [which was a rebuilt engine]

        • scooby2 says:

          @kenblakely: and people like you wonder why they can never get more than 40-50 thousand miles out of a vehicle.

          • kenblakely says:

            @scooby2: You’re missing the point. I never WANT to get more than 40-50K miles from my car anyway. 40-50K miles is 3-5 years – who wants to drive the same freaking car for that long, much less LONGER?

            Buy a 3 year old used car. Drive it a few years. Fix it **IF** it breaks. Sell it. Rinse / repeat.

            New cars are for chumps, and in 2009, preventive maintenance is for chumps. Cars just don’t need it anymore….

            • Claytons says:

              @kenblakely: So buying and changing oil to keep a car running for more than 3-5 years is a scam, but losing no doubt tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime by needlessly cycling through cars is smart? You’ve gotta be kidding. At least you’re buying used, I guess.

            • MikeVx says:

              @kenblakely: I’ll agree that new cars are a bad idea, if for no other reason that unless you pay in full without financing, the loss of value the moment you leave the dealer lot means you owe more on the car than it can be re-sold for.

              I, on the other hand, will drive a car into the ground. This is not to say that I won’t take care of it. I’ve personally logged over one light second (186,000 miles) on at least three different cars over the years, nearly twice that in one case. I take care of my vehicles and they give me good solid service. I don’t treat a car as a status symbol, I don’t concern myself about driving the same car for years on end. A car is transport. Its function is to get me from point A to various other points in some semblance of comfort. I drive a car until it is no longer cost-effective to maintain it, or until some idiot destroys it, whichever comes first.

              The counterpoint here is that you really don’t want to buy a car from me unless you are scavenging for parts. My rule is, if you’re selling a drivable car, you’re doing it wrong. On the other foot, because I buy used, I benefit from those who are doing it wrong.

            • mac-phisto says:

              @kenblakely: i would pay money to be the guy that’s gonna have to tow your ass off the highway one day b/c you have a seized-up engine. it would be worth the laugh.

              here’s the thing about your usage pattern – what makes you think the guy that put 40k on the car in the 3 years he drove it around before you didn’t treat the car the same way? if he didn’t & you don’t, i guarantee that car isn’t going to see 50k.

              an oil change costs $20-$50. a new engine costs $6000+. a new (3-yr old) car costs $15000+. i fail to see how your decision makes any sense at all.

            • Brunette Bookworm says:

              @kenblakely: But the reason you can get a used car is because the person before you took care of it and CHANGED THE OIL! If you don’t change the oil when it needs it, which you can tell by just looking at the oil, the engine will crap out. Believe me, I know. I was bad and broke and didn’t change the oil in my Grand Am as often as I should have and had to replace the engine in it.

            • nataku8_e30 says:

              @kenblakely: “40-50K miles is 3-5 years – who wants to drive the same freaking car for that long, much less LONGER?”

              I do, but then again, I don’t consider my cars to be appliances, and I don’t really like to drive new or automatic cars. You have to wonder why so many people say that cars aren’t built like they used to, that they just fall apart these days. I think it must be because of people like you who believe that their car no longer needs preventive maintenance.

              Engines still have bearings, transmissions still have gears, your engine still breaths air and your breaks still use pads. Yes, most suspension pivot points now have rubber bushings that need to be replaced rather than needle / roller bearings that need to be lubricated, and yes, spark plugs are now made out of exotic alloys that will last up to about 100,000 miles rather than 10 or 15 thousand. There is less maintenance on modern cars (although I certainly disagree with the decision to go to suspension bushings), but the fundamentals are still there.

            • Rusted says:

              @kenblakely: Drove my Subaru for six and half years, and 87K miles. Nice as ever.

        • p75hmsa says:

          @kenblakely: You’re funny sir.

    • Aeroracere says:

      @oneliketadow: I change mine about every 5k miles; but that’s with the longer-life Mobil oil. I change my oil filter every other time I change my oil, and do the air filter at the same time.

      • oneliketadow says:

        @Aeroracere: I use synthetic and typically go 7-8k miles. I have 90k miles on the car now (8 years old) and it’s doing well. I started changing my own oil mainly b/c synthetic at a place like Jiffy Lube seems to triple the cost. I’ve been using Mobil One and made the switch to Mobil High Mileage last year. YMMV as catastrophegirl stated.

      • oneliketadow says:

        @Aeroracere: And since I forgot to mention, I also buy the top of the line oil filters for “heavy duty” use as well.

    • magic8ball says:

      @oneliketadow: My ’08 Honda Fit whines that it wants the oil changed every 5K miles; I assume that’s the manufacturer’s recommendation, since that’s what it’s programmed to tell me. So not even the car companies are saying 3K mi any more.

    • Claytons says:

      @oneliketadow: My Honda Accord 4 cylinder’s manual suggests changing the oil every 10,000 miles in normal conditions.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @oneliketadow: engine sludge FTW!

      seriously, if you don’t want to change your oil frequently, then use synthetics. regular oil loses its viscosity & begins to break down fairly quickly. check your oil at 3k; see what it looks like. if it’s brownish-gold, sure you can keep going, but if it’s sooty-black? that means your oil filter isn’t doing that great of a job cleaning the particulates out of your engine anymore. your oil’s saturated with grime. is that really what you want lubricating your engine? gritty, sludgy oil?

      go for it, but don’t expect that engine to last forever, cuz pretty soon it’s going to start looking like this:

    • gttim says:

      @oneliketadow: My 1994 Ford Ranger has 423,000 miles on it. Other than replacing the timing belt twice, it has never needed major engine work. I change my oil every 5-8000 miles. I only replace the oil filter every 5 changes or so. I replace the air filter after pine pollen season. So, I agree, every 3000 is not really needed.

      I used to use regular oil, then went to a synthetic blend. Recently I switched to full synthetic, which I use in my Mustang. My 77 year-old father has been driving the truck for about 6 months, since his divorce. Just to be nice, he took the truck to Walmart and had all the fairly new synthetic oil replaced with their house brand. Thanks Dad! I thanked him but told him I would do the maintenance from now on.

  16. kidnextdoor says:

    Why did the OP have to stop at the auto parts store for coolant afterward? They (Jiffy Lube) always top it off and the rest of the fluids when you get an oil change there…

    • mythago says:

      @kidnextdoor: A lot of people keep coolant around so they don’t have to run back to Jiffy Lube for just a top-off.

    • veronykah says:

      @kidnextdoor: Because Jiffy Lube lies and says they change your oil and top off fluids and don’t do either.
      I had them lie and say they changed the oil and topped off my fluids. I had an ORANGE filter when I went in, and it was the same one when I left. The only reason I knew was because my car had a PS leak and it was still whining after I had supposedly had my car serviced at Jiffy Lube.
      They profusely apologized and fixed it all when I drove back 20 minutes later, but I never went back.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @kidnextdoor: that’s funny- because when my ex got his oil changed there they didn’t refill his oil.

    • trujunglist says:

      @kidnextdoor:

      No, they do not change coolant for one obvious reason, and that is that most cars coming into Jiffy Lube are hot off the street. Opening up the radiator to put more coolant in = explosion of boiling hot liquids. To get pressure levels to a safe zone it would take a while, probably longer than the 15 minutes that they seem to try to shoot for.

      • kidnextdoor says:

        @trujunglist: It’s only a very small percentage of cars that you have to add coolant directly to the radiator (pre 1970, and a few German & Sweedish cars)…most have a reservoir tank, which has fill line markings based on whether or not the engine is hot.
        So, either of us could be right.

  17. Anonymous says:

    it happens in washington state, too. last year, i had an oil change done before a long distance trip to california. along the way, i actually ran out of oil because they either didn’t put the oil nut on correctly, or because they didn’t fill the oil to proper levels…

    when confronted with their mistake, they blew me off completely. i’ll never shop jiffy lube again, and i’ll tell everyone i know to stay away from them.

  18. outoftheblew says:

    Jiffy Lube also told me I needed my radiator fluid flushed … just weeks after my mechanic brother-in-law had already done it. I got tired of them trying to upsell me every time I was there, so I found more trustworthy places to go.

  19. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    have had goodyear try to get me to buy a new timing belt 6000 miles before my owner’s manual even recommended INSPECTING it. they were very surprised that i had the manual in my purse while i was at the counter and pulled it out to check. they backed off really fast.

    also beware of auto electric places that tell you that your alternator is ‘all drained out’ and needs to be replaced. i and my friends have heard that one several times.
    alternators don’t store power and if a mechanic tells you that, get your car and leave.

    • parad0x360 says:

      @catastrophegirl: Well it could have been a good idea. Depending on who made your car it could mean you have a no clearance engine which means if that belt breaks your engine is dead beyond repair.

      My Hyundai died unexpectedly while I was on the highway because the belt went and the piston heads smashed into the engine block.

      • legwork says:

        @parad0x360: …and the piston heads smashed into the engine block.

        Uh, wait, um, aw nevermind….

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @parad0x360: well if they had suggested inspecting it i might have been up for it. but they told me that according to the manufacturer it was time to change it and i pulled out the manual and said ‘you mean this page here? no, this says inspect at 60,000 and it’s only 54,000 right now. just do the brakes please’
        i only went there because they were quite literally across the street from my apartment and i could go home to wait.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @catastrophegirl: fwiw, if it’s a honda/acura/toyota/lexus (& you don’t beat it really hard), change the belt every 95-100k. you should be fine. what parad0x360 says is applicable to a few vehicle types (hondas in particular). ask your mechanic if you have an “interference engine” – if you do, you want to make sure you change the belt before it breaks or you could be looking at severe engine damage (which can result in a complete engine overhaul/replacement).

          you can inspect the belt yourself – ask your mechanic to point it out for you or check your manual for a diagram (it’s usually connected to a few cogs on the side or front of the engine block). make sure there’s no play in it & it isn’t brittle. keep oil away from the belt – that’ll shorten its lifespan. look for cracks in the rubber – that’s a good sign that the belt’s integrity is breaking down.

          having said all that – i don’t think i’d trust a chain like monroe/midas/goodyear to replace my timing belt.

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            @mac-phisto: nah, i had a mazda protege, and i could clearly see the belt and handle it if i needed to. but thanks for the tips.

            currently i have a highlander. a 2007 highlander. according to the gates belt manufacturer manual it IS an interference engine. but it’s practically new and the recommended interval for replacement is 90,000 miles. anyone telling me i need to change the belt right now is going to need to put it on a lift and show me the extreme major undercarriage damage where something got up in there and damaged the belt by act of violence.
            the only thing i have found wrong with having this car is that i haven’t found a haynes manual for the newer models yet.

            i hate computerized cars though… on my old camry i could and did change my own brake pads, belts, air intake impeller, water pump, most of the basic hoses and cables, and the electrical system was dead easy to repair. sadly, THEN i had an honest mechanic. NOW when i can’t fix my car myself, the last honest mechanic i knew of went out of business in 2005.

            • PølάrβǽЯ says:

              @catastrophegirl: Sounds like y’alls are confusing the accessory belt with the timing belt. The timing belt is underneath a bolted-on cover, and viewing it in a FWD car usually requires removal of the front wheel, front motor mount, and the cover. It’s not something you can simply pop open the hood and take a peek at.

          • Anonymous says:

            @mac-phisto: The accessory belt(s) and timing belt are two completely different things. Hopefully, you can’t see the timing belt without removing a couple covers, usually including the valve cover. I wouldn’t recommend removing those until you need to change the belt. At least the valve cover has a gasket(s) that should be replaced once you remove the cover.

            I know for a fact that Honda owners should check their manual to find out what they have b/c the newer (as in 2003 at least) 2.4L 4 cylindar engine has a timing chain. You typically don’t need to change a chain, however, you should inspect it at the manufacturer’s recommended inspection interval (usually around 120k miles).

            You are correct about keeping oil away from the accessory
            belt(s) as oil will cause some damage to them.

    • b.k. says:

      @catastrophegirl: Yep, had the timing belt thing pulled on me, along with assorted other things. It doesn’t matter where I have my oil changed. The air filter thing is a given. In fact, the first oil change place that DOESN’T try to sell me an air filter I don’t need will have me as a customer for life.

      Once in California I stopped in somewhere for a quick oil change. It was one of those places where you’re not allowed to sit in the car while they work. So I’m sitting out in their parking lot and they tell me I need a new air filter. I know I don’t, because only a week ago I’d bought a new one and installed it myself. I said “Leave the air filter alone.” They changed it anyway and tried charging me $50 for it. When I told them they better put my brand new air filter back in, they tried giving me a bunch of nonsense about my “dirty” air filter ruining the fuel injection system. I threatened to drive away without paying at all, and they finally got the idea and took the $50 charge off.

      • b.k. says:

        @b.k.: I forgot to add, I’m female, so this kind of thing happens all the time when it comes to getting the car fixed. So much so that my husband has now refused to let me take the car in, because of the extra time I have to spend haggling with people, assuring them that having boobs does not negate having a brain. The internal combustion engine is a wonderful thing, but it’s not beyond my grasp of understanding as a woman.

        • SacraBos says:

          @b.k.: Yeah, but we’re talking air filters here. Oh wait…

          I take my wifes car in too, even though her Dad taught her plenty about car maintenance. It sometimes just isn’t worth the headache. Although we do have some places around here that we can trust, even if my wife takes it in.

  20. InThrees says:

    @undefined: Then you’re either not driving, or you’re capable of changing an air filter. (Seriously, I am amazed by what people who use only their feet to live their lives can do.)

  21. HawkWolf says:

    I switched my paper filter in my Scion xB for one of those K&N non-disposable ones.

    I learned a few things. One is that only Toyota air filters (and the K&N one) fit properly. All the others that I could find _anywhere_ were missing a notch in the filter that lines up with a projection in the rim of the filter box. Attempts to put in an aftermarket filter make the box fail to seal, which negates the point of an air filter.

    I also learned that you have to actually take some of the intake apart to change the filter.

    I usually go to uncle ed’s and all they ever do is push those engine backflush things on me, which I say no to. They even see the filter label thing that says “STOP – do not replace my air filter!” and don’t push it.

  22. cjones27 says:

    A square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square.

  23. henrygates says:

    I worked at JL for a couple of months during college. I was fired for refusing to fill a customer’s engine with regular oil and pretend it was synthetic.

    These quick lube places, do this ALL OF THE TIME. They will upsell as much as they can, and lie through their teeth because they can get away with it – the customer’s don’t know any better. The markup on all the extras is HUGE. The $60 (have not idea what it runs these days) “injector cleaner” is a $3 bottle from AutoZone dumped into your tank and $2 work of “cleaner” that gets plugged into your vacuum line (if they still do that part anyway – it was always good ‘show’ for them to have the car spewing white smoke, so they could pretend the injectors were dirty).

    The coolant flush? They just hook a machine up to your hose and run it – it’s not really a full drain, flush, and fill. Most of the techs also don’t understand what the difference is between types of coolant and the stuff they use is the CHEAPEST they can buy in bulk. Auto tranny need some new fluid? No dump and fill there, it’s just a machine that runs fresh fluid through the line – and many vehicles have filters that need to be changed. Heaven forbid your vehicle require a special kind of tranny fluid – they don’t know. That’s only if they actually DO the work, which they only do if it’s easy and quick. A tough nut on the line or any minor problem and they’ll just pretend to do it for 5 minutes.

    Don’t let them top off the water in your battery, another service they offered when I was there. I refused to do it, because I spent 5 minutes explaining to the manager why you needed to use DISTILLED water. Yup..they just put TAP WATER in the batteries.

    Take a look at the inventory wall – if they appear to be low on anything and they still offer you that service, odds are good you won’t be getting what you paid for.

    The window washing fluid, yeah that’s tap too…the same tap they put in your battery.

    Here’s a thing on the upsells, it doesn’t matter whether you just had it done or your fluid looks pristine – they don’t know what they are doing, they just follow a readout on the computer for your model, and if it’s anywhere near a recommended mileage, they hard sell it.

    Find a REAL mechanic that you can get to know and trust.

  24. Corporate-Shill says:

    Ever hear the one about the wife who wanted the air changed in her tires?

    Blame the husband for that one. It seems it is an old joke in certain branches of the military to play on the wives left behind when the troops deploy overseas.

  25. SabreDC says:

    This is a stretch, but maybe the mechanic meant it in the same way a health teacher pulls out a blackened lung and says this is your lung after you smoked cigarettes for 20 years. Obviously, he or she doesn’t mean it is literally [i]your[/i] lung…

    But it is still very shady considering that the mechanic lied because the OP’s air filter actually wasn’t that bad.

  26. Anonymous says:

    One time they messed my car by doing the service! They did a radiator flush, wich broke my pump. I almost had an engine meltdown, of course they denied it was their fault.

  27. reynwrap582 says:

    Just to correct something in the story… Typically changing the air filter is as complicated as scratching your ass. Changing your oil & oil filter is about as complicated as hanging a picture. You want some real savings? Buy a $5 drip pan, a $4 filter and $8-12 for some oil. If you can change your tire, you can change your oil.

    • mythago says:

      @reynwrap582: Maybe you live in a state where it’s legal to dump your used oil down the gutter; I don’t. It’s easier and less trouble to take my car to a reliable mechanic.

      • Coles_Law says:

        @mythago: I don’t think that’s legal anywhere. Many places (including Walmarts with a repair center) wil take used oil to recycle for free.

      • Dansc29625 says:

        @mythago: Most Advance/Autozone/etc. take used oil. The city/county dump/lanfill/recycling center can take it as well.

        just one more. /

    • Canino says:

      @reynwrap582: I’ll just add to that…if you can’t change your tire, you shouldn’t be driving a car. It should be part of the test.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @reynwrap582: unless you live in an apartment complex that fines you $50 if they catch you doing it in the parking lot and you don’t have any friends with a level driveway or empty garage. i always used to change my own oil and filters until i was in that situation. i’m really not up for working on my car in a dark parking lot in the middle of the night so it was actually a savings to take it someplace to avoid the fines.

      • ecwis says:

        @catastrophegirl: Autozone and other auto parts stores usually don’t care if you do it in the parking lot, as long as you buy the products there.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          @ecwis: that i didn’t know, thanks. i’ve replaced headlights, taillights and batteries there and patched a radiator there before, but i never tried to actually jack the car up in their parking lot. it seemed rude. although for some reason a petite redhead under the hood or trying to fit her boobs under the chassis usually means some well meaning testosterone laden fellow tries to take away my wrench and do the work for me.

          it’s cute, but annoying in a sexist redneck sorta way.

        • harlock_JDS says:

          @ecwis:

          depends on where you live. Besides i don’t want the risk of someone not noticing me on the ground while they park.

          I changed my own oil when i could but the past few years i’ve either lived in apartment complexes that prohibit it or would have to do it on the side of the street.

  28. parad0x360 says:

    Jiffy Lube is all kinds of evil. I take my car to the dealership. They charge me $10 more than Jiffy Lube but at least I know they are not only changing the oil but also the filter which is something Jiffy Lube has been caught not doing.

    They also check and replace my air filter but only if needed. They top off all my fluids (included in the price) and last time they noticed I had a headlight out and they changed it for free. Now its possible I only get good service for cheap because my car is an Acura and they are pretty good to their customers but I do know for a fact they change oil for $30 no matter what vehicle you bring in to them.

    • Yurei says:

      @parad0x360: Oh no, not any vehicle. My mom has a Ford F250 turbo diesel. That uses quite a bit more oil than the average 5 quart car. She once went to some place with an ad out saying “any oil change for $20″ and they were quick to deny her truck the same price. The dealer might lose money charging $30 for an oil change on big trucks and similar vehicles.

  29. MrEvil says:

    I take my Crown Vic to an oil change place because I don’t want to work underneath a car that’s on a jack and/or stands. The oil change place the first time I took it there did show me the air filter out of my car. The air cleaner was in fact rotted because the car had sat for four years prior to my buying it at auction. So I agreed and paid $10 which is what an auto parts store would charge me.

    Then Advance did their half off K&N filters special and I bought a K&N cleanable air cleaner jsut to get the oil change place off by back about changing my “dirty” air cleaner. Then the oil changes places started telling me I needed to clean my air cleaner and they’d do it for $10. Not a complete rip-off but still, I can buy the K&N cleaning kit for $10 and it’ll clean my airfilter dozens of times.

  30. mythago says:

    I take mine either to our local reliable mechanic, or an independent oil change place where they don’t give me crap. They’ll ask if I want additional services but they don’t push and don’t say that my car engine is about to explode if I don’t get them. And they’ve never tried to tell me that my air filter has black lung.

  31. dreamsneverend says:

    Find a friend who has an Angie’s List subscription and look up local auto shops. I found one on there that does my oil change for $15 (non-synthetic) and I am out the door for under $19.

    There are plenty of reputable independent shops that will treat you well!

  32. HogwartsAlum says:

    I have trouble finding someplace that is open on Saturdays. It’s really hard to do anything during the week, because the place I work is in an industrial park and it’s way the hell out away from everything.

    I found a Meineke place I like and I go there a lot. I did find a great mechanic through a coworker, but he’s not there on the weekend. But I go to him for stuff if I am off during the week.

  33. badgeman46 says:

    Has anyone considered that perhaps the mechanic was talking about the CABIN air filter? Mine looks exactly like my regular air filter, except that it is square, and yes, when it is dirty it gets leaves and oil in it. I mean, in hindsight it would be pretty risky to try this stunt regularly on customers without seriously pissing one off.

    • Holden Caufield says I'm a phonie says:

      @badgeman46: I doubt it. On my car, you actually have to be inside my car to access the cabin air filter (it’s behind the glove compartment). Of course, other cars may very.

  34. michelsondl says:

    I worked at Jiffy Lube for a while in San Diego, and I could tell tons of stories just like this. A big part of why I left the company was because I would not play along with the dirty tricks that my manager would use to con people into buying more, so we really didn’t get along.

  35. TrueBlue63 says:

    This is a common scam and I fell for it once, on my first oil change (tho back then it was way less than $30). An air filter doesn’t need to be changed until it is pitch black and grimy. It should get replaced every couple of YEARS. Once a year a most.

    There are many different air filters, some for cabin air, some for the intake. The scam usually is run by someone who knows they aren’t making any money on the oil change.

  36. JimK says:

    I was shocked the last time I had my car at a local Ford dealer…the part I needed was apparently hard to fit and required special tools, hence the dealer. While there I asked for a basic tune-up. Later they reported that there was no need to change the air or fuel filters as they were perfectly serviceable, so they took the charges off the estimate.

    Wha-wha-whaaaat? You’re *not* charging me for work I didn’t need and *lowering* the estimate? Is this bizarro land?

    Of course there was one hose on back-order and that was 4 months ago. Still waiting. So they’re not perfect or anything, but they were honest. Still amazes me.

  37. Yurei says:

    You also have to watch out for these quick lube places when they change the oil and don’t put the cap/plug back in tightly and all your oil leaks out and ruins the engine if you don’t notice. i don’t trust people who don’t look like they’re even qualified to flip burgers, never mind touch my car.

    Oh, and avoid state inspections at these places, they’ll always find something wrong.

    • PølάrβǽЯ says:

      @Yurei: Happened to my Mom-in-law after she took it to the Wal-Mart… where she works (in a different department, not the lube place)!

      Now gramma’s minivan has a new engine – thanks Lee Scott!

  38. kenblakely says:

    Jiffy Lube tries to cheat you. That’s news?

  39. PLATTWORX says:

    Josh, I know little about cars also and go to Jiffy Lube near my office just because it’s the easised thing for me to do.

    HOWEVER, you can NEVER let them do anything but change your oil and only with a coupon ($5 ones are easy to find, sometimes you can do better).

    Never be rude, I just very nicely thank them for all their wonderful suggestions on how I can give them more work and decline. I may say “Oh, thanks.. I have an extra air filter and home and will be sure to put it in” or “You know, I have an appointment with the dealer next week and will be sure to have them replace that PVC value”.

    Those sweet excuses seem to shut them up without offending and get me JUST my oil change. Even if I had no idea how to change an air filter I would never let Jiffy Lube touch it. Their job is to try and get the price of your service up as high as they can.

    I would, however, report this to consumer protection in your state. Showing you an air filter that was not even yours it WAY over the line for them.

  40. jmndos says:

    Why the hell do people go to jiffy lube anyways….you know…if you have half a brain, you can do that yourself.

    A car owner should be able to change
    oil+filter
    belts (if there are any, some cars use chains)
    spark plugs+wires
    fuses
    battery
    air filter
    other fluids (other than transmission)

    This was even on dateline that jiffy lube destroys cars and rips you off…

    • SabreDC says:

      @jmndos: It’s not always a matter of intelligence. Some people live in developments or apartment complexes where performing maintenance in the parking lot is not allowed. Some people work multiple jobs and don’t have the time so they’ll drop it off for someone to do it for them. In any event, it’s not their responsibility to justify to you or anyone else why they do what they do; the point is that it is reasonable to expect a place of commerce to treat you fairly and conduct a transaction with integrity.

    • Ajh says:

      @jmndos: I don’t have time or energy to do the maintenance on my car. Yes, I know how to do it. After my one experience at jiffy lube..where I laughed in their face at the idea that that was my air filter I started going to our regular mechanic even though I drop my car off and take my mother shopping in her car because that takes several hours.

      She knows how to do all the maintenance too, but she has one fake knee and the other one is getting replaced in the summer. She can barely walk and you want her to crawl under a car?

      The best you can do is avoid places like jiffy lube if you can’t do it yourself.

  41. pschroeter says:

    I’m not a do-it-yourself type if car guy, but I can change an air filter in five minutes and the job doesn’t even require tools. Thirty dollars for what?

  42. superdantx says:

    I am a fairly aggressive DIYer, just not a big fan of changing oil. By the time I go get the materials, do the oil, then take the dirty oil back to the store and pay a disposal fee…. its just easier to pay a few more bucks and let the DEALER do it. I know for repair work a dealer is way overpriced, but routine maintenance really isn’t any more expensive then the lube shop down the street. They don’t try to upsell me on anything that isn’t at or beyond its service interval, and I am fairly certain they know my Tundra better then the kid in the pit down the road. For the extras… run to autozone, get the parts, and DONE. Heavier repairs I will still probably do myself as long as I don’t have to pull the top end off the motor, or play with refrigerant…I’m good.

  43. savdavid says:

    Jiffy has ripped me off once doing this. I got a refund from them and have never been back.

  44. raleel says:

    glad to see i’m not the only one with a bad experience here, and it’s not just with jiffy lube. I had a guy try and upsell me, and I’d replaced the filter myself the _day_ before. I stopped going when they tried to upsell me three different things in a row and I had just had enough.

    Ironically, our walmart does a good job :)

  45. 1964F100 says:

    This kind of crap makes me glad I change the oil myself, except when I need to take my car to a dealer for a major service. I could just see Jiffy Lube trying to sell a replacement air filter to a gullible owner of a car with a lifetime non-serviceable air filter, such as a 2005 Ford Focus with a 2-liter engine.

  46. turtledude558 says:

    I thought this was gonna be about them saying that they changed the air filter, only when the guy checked it himself he found out that the filter had never been changed in the first place.

  47. Ajh says:

    No they do this ALL the time. They did this to me and I said uhm..that’s not the air filter in my model car.

    Didn’t expect a young woman to say that but seriously I was only there because I don’t have time to change the oil myself. (I come from a family of mechanics)

  48. rolla says:

    its jiffy lube, enough said.

  49. puddleglum411 says:

    It’s also easy to change your own oil, but that doesn’t stop people from paying JL to do it.

  50. emilymarion333 says:

    last time I was there they did the same thing – they also told me I had to have synthetic oil for my car. I told him just to do the standard cheap oil changes for 24.95 and that was all I wanted.

    My car is less than 2 years old and only had 15,000 miles on it at the time. So I really did not need either of the items.

    The kid who was upselling stopped talking to me after that and pretty much ignored me until I left….it was kind of funny.

  51. lrgabriel says:

    I will never again go to Jiffy Lube. I had a coupon for a free oil change that ended up costing me about $700…

    The tech claimed he couldn’t get the oil drain plug out and therefore couldn’t change the oil, then gave me my keys back and said it was good to go.

    About half of a mile later, my oil pressure dropped to zero – I got out and checked the oil…none left. I looked under my Jeep, and there was oil covering everything aft of the engine…and a long line of oil from Jiffy Lube left on the street.

    The guy had turned the drain plug the wrong way and sheered it off in the oil pan.

    He broke my car, lied to me, and most importantly, handed me back an unsafe car with no warning.

    Had to pull the engine and replace the entire oil pan.

    Oh…I went straight back, and Jiffy Lube claimed they had never seen me nor worked on my car.

    Never again.

  52. BMRFILE says:

    I am spreading the word to help people stay away from Jiffy Lube. I am convinced ALL Jiffy Lube are crooks. DON’T GO TO JIFFY LUBE!

    I was really busy for awhile and didn’t have time on the weekends to do my own oil change, so I took my car to Jiffy Lube during lunch to get it done. They told me I needed a special kind of oil filter for my car and it costs $25. I have a 20 year old BMW. There’s nothing special about it. The same oil filter sells for $7 at Pep Boys. I was told I needed this “special” filter by 5 Jiffy Lubes.

    So this really didn’t surprise me. They are crooks. Leanr to do your own oil changes if you have the space to do it. It takes less than an hour and you end up saving a lot of money.

  53. kwsventures says:

    Jiffy Lube is a very expensive place to get an oil change. Beside, check your owners manual for how often you need to change you car oil. I really doubt it will say every 3,000 miles. It is probably closer to every 10,000 miles.

  54. scoosdad says:

    Midas Muffler pulled a similar trick on me a few years back when I brought my previous car in for some brake work. I had already bought the shop manual for the vehicle and had it in the car under the back seat. The mechanic after checking the car, brought me into the shop to tell me that my rotors couldn’t be turned down since they were already worn down below the minimum thickness and said they had to be replaced.

    I asked him, “what’s the thickness now?” He gave me a number, and I said, “well, let’s see” and reached into the car and opened up the shop manual to the page on bake system specs (I had a bookmark in it). He was off by a huge amount, there was still a lot of thickness left on the rotors, and he sheepishly agreed with me and turned the rotors instead of replacing them. Saved hundreds of dollars. A little knowledge is money in your pocket.

    And I’ve never been back to that Midas, or any other after that.

  55. rekoil says:

    No matter which chain, the quick-lube places will *always* try to tell you your air filter is dirty. Every time. No matter what condition it’s in – one time I’d only changed the thing out myself a month or so before.

    I always thought it was funny that these guys will go through the trouble of removing my filter to show it to me – not a straightforward operation on my car – hoping to charge me $30 to replace it. So they wind up wasting about fifteen minutes of labor to remove it and then put the same filter back in, every time.

    • nsv says:

      @rekoil: There’s a Tire Choice (a Florida chain) near me that does all kinds of basic stuff. The first time I went there I knew exactly what the car needed.

      They changed the oil and came out with a list of things that needed to be done. The battery was getting older, they said, and would only last another year or so. (True.) And the rear windshield wiper blade was shot. (True–but the wiper doesn’t work.) No hard sell. And they listed the things they’d checked that were in good shape.

      They got a customer for life. And they’ve treated me fairly ever since.

      Jiffy Lube, on the other hand, can take a flying leap. I went there once before I found Tire Choice, and it was the usual horrible experience.

  56. tbbx says:

    This happened to me, too.

    I had changed my air filter the week before. I went in for just and oil change.

    He showed me my filter and claimed it needed to be changed.

    It’s become such a sleazy business. I’ll just do it all myself now.

  57. booleyhitt says:

    I want to a quick lube place for my last oil change. I was way overdue and this place was close by. During the whole time I was getting the oil change, they tried to upsell me on everything. My car is 3 years old with almost 35,000 miles. “Transmission Flush? Only $59.99. Wiper blades are only $25/pair. Your coolant needs changing -only $79.99.” Then they showed me my air filters. My regular one was fine, but they would change out “this extremely dirty air filter for only $49.99 – Hey, it would cost you $70 at the dealership!” What a bargain! It’s a good thing they showed me my cabin filter, because that really needed to be changed… but not for $60! I declined everything, knowing I could go to ANY parts store and get the filters for $10 each.

    Simpletons at the lube place left a screwdriver in my engine compartment and the oil filter was barely on. I noticed a puddle of oil on my driveway the next day. Just had to hand tighten it. I went to my regular mechanic after the holidays were over and had him give my car the once-over.

    Moral: go find a reliable mechanic, someone you can trust and won’t mind answering questions. Yeah, it’s difficult to find one, but they’re out there.

  58. brandymb says:

    Why would anyone get their oil changed by these peeps who tighten your drain plug with an impact wrench??

  59. forgottenpassword says:

    When I go to those places…. I get the cheapy $19.00 oil change. And I automatically assume they will try to upsell me something. I always say no to ANYTHING they suggest.

    I get the oil change, have them fill my tires, windshield washer fluid, lube my chasis & I provide my own oil filter for them to install (they use cheap junk oil filters).

    Afterwards I always check & make sure they didnt fuck anything up.

  60. theczardictates says:

    Yeah, my local Jiffy Lube tried to tell me that my battery needed replacing… three weeks after I had just replaced it because the CCA were low. I have them change the oil, not least because disposing of the used oil responsibly is a PITA, but I don’t let them do anything else.

  61. Franknbeans says:

    I used to work at Jiffy Lube and I never once lied to a customer about their air filter or heard anyone else try to.

    That aside though, never have them replace your air filter. It is by far the easiest maintainance you can do for your car. For the vast majority of cars it is as easy as poping a few metal clips and swaping it out. Can you open your car’s hood? Then you can probibly change your own filter.

  62. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    THIRTY DOLLARS? EXTORTION! HIGHWAY ROBBERY!

    Good God man, it’s like $8 at Wal-mart, $13 for a good one at Napa. Thirty effing dollars?!?!?

    Ok, I’ve used my bold allowance for the week.

  63. quail says:

    Jiffy Lube are franchises aren’t they? Got to say, with all of the traveling I used to do, that the experience from one to another was never consistent. Some were good. A lot tried to pressure you to buy stuff. And some made me want to shower afterwards.

  64. Clinton Judy says:

    It doesn’t hurt to just take out your air filter, blow the dust and dirt out yourself, and put it back in. I wouldn’t do this more than once before buying a new one, but you can get a few extra thousand miles out of it by just doing that.

  65. Aaron Gopen says:

    Uh… a Square filter that’s black and covered with leaves= Carbon cabin filter. changed mine in my jetta recently, and that’s what it looked like, a black square filter covered in crap like lint and leaves. alternatively, the ENGINE air filter for my car is a rectangular one. Also, Cabin filters are always 30-45, and engine filters are always 14-16. So, sorry but I call BS on this story ^_^

    • Josh Trujillo says:

      @Aaron Gopen: Actually I checked my cabin air filter today and it was perfectly fine. They may have shown me a cabin filter that was dirty, but the fact of the matter was that there was nothing wrong with my car to begin with.

  66. runchadrun says:

    Jiffy Lube did a number on the engine of my last car, putting in an extra half quart of oil which caused it to spill over and into the emissions equipment. The repair was a few hundred bucks. The regional manager who I tried to make a reasonable settlement with told me that he wouldn’t pay up because I didn’t have the air filter changed like they recommended. I finally had to get the state’s Bureau of Automotive Repair involved and Jiffy Lube paid up.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Jiffy Lube tried the air filter scam on me, too about 15 years ago. I took in my Chevy Beretta, and the guy recommended mine needed to be changed, showing me a filter that actually looked clean — probably because I had changed it myself a week earlier. “Look at all this dirt!” he said, shaking his head. When I told him I had just changed it, he muttered, “Well, it looks dirty to me.” Looks like they’ve started investing in props now!

  68. The Black Bird says:

    About 5 years ago I took my vehicle, for the first and only time, into a Jiffy Lube for an oil change. About 10 minutes after it was driven into a bay a worker came out, showed me “my air filter” and told me it was clogged with dirt and had to be replaced. The filter he showed me was very dirty.

    I looked in the service area where my vehicle was, seen it was still on the ground and walked over to it. What I found told me all I had to know about Jiffy Lube. My vehicle, a Dodge Ram Van, was sitting there with the engine housing cover still bolted down and all of the things that were on top of it were still there.

    Since the air filter could not be removed, or replaced, without removing the housing I questioned the worker who told me he would get the manager. The manager tried to tell me the housing was put back after the air filter had been removed. I then asked him why that would be done since they would either have to again remove it to either put in a new one or, if I did not want a new one, put the old one back. He reluctantly agreed with me and said he would “check on it”.

    About 5 minutes later he came back and toldme that his worker made a mistake. The dirty filter supposedly came from another car they were working on. When I asked him why there wasn’t another car in his other bay he did not answer me. Needless to say I took my van, which had not had the oil changed yet, and left.

    That Jiffy Lube closed about 3 months later.

  69. Anonymous says:

    I have been getting my oil changed at Jiffy Lube in Slidell Louisianna for 8 years and have always received exemplary service each time. I have never felt that they were being dishonest. Don’t let one bad apple spoil the crop.

  70. Jeff Katz says:

    Repeat it with me: Jiffy Lube is not a mechanics shop. They are not certified. Do not let them touch your car.

  71. u1itn0w2day says:

    Good mechanics are hard to find .Honest mechanics are hard to find .Cheap mechanics are hard to find .But this is why the Jiffy Lubes thrive .

    If I give a mechanic or shop something like a 30 dollar air filter I do it to either build a relationship with a shop or do it out of fear-30$ filter or 150$ repair .Some shops know how to accept no and don’t get offended and won’t poke holes in hoses or tear windshield wiper blades .Others will not .As far as they’re concerned THEY WILL bill you for something else .

    I’ve used Jiffy Lube type set ups and never had a problem .The biggest thing with these shops besides forgetting to tighten your filter and plug is over tightening the plug with an air wrench which can strip plug or pan threads .

    The biggest problem the oil change consumer has and it’s common is lack of knowledge about a car and simple things like air filters,oil changes,tune ups etc .The consumer who got taken admitted he didn’t know much or sounded like he didn’t even care .But they wised up and learned .

    Believe or not this is one reason they need to push shop for everyone in high school or possibly even college with a consumer/vocational course or two .Education and training but it’s up to you to learn .

  72. econobiker says:

    If you have Jiffy Lube change your air filter make them write the date and mileage with a sharpie on the filter somewhere. Ask them to use a paint pen or similar is there is not a “white” place on the filter element to write this.

    I do this on my wife’s and my cars – simple solution.

  73. fl0722 says:

    Arrgh. It’s so frustrating to me when I hear about companies like Jiffy Lube pulling this sort of scam on unsuspecting people. It’s all about the up sell to folks who don’t know enough basics about vehicles.

    One place tried the “your oil is black, so you need to flush your engine” trick on me. It didn’t work. The guy brought out the dipstick from the car, proceeded to wipe it with a white cloth, and said “look! see how dark it is? it shouldn’t be! you need to have your engine flushed.” He gave up after a couple minutes.

    A few months ago though, a different place here in town did the same thing to my girlfriend, and it worked! *sigh* Needless to say, I’m taking her car in there next time to see if they pull the same shenanigans.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      @fl0722: Black doesn’t mean that much especially on older oil .And a pressurized flush is worse than black oil .If the pressure they use is more than operationg pressure they could blow a seal of some kind creating more problems that it’s worth .Or if a solvent leaves residue it might disolve new oil as well .

      All these Jiffy Lube employees cry it’s corporate pressure .Which I believe but sometimes you just have to ignore that .Quick oil changes-that’s it .I had a jiffy lube place tell me we don’t do any repairs as to put me at ease thinking I won’t be sold un-necessary repairs (just un-necessary filters) .

      What bothers me is that a professional salesman can take no for an answer .Mechanics ,techs and service writers can’t or are told not to .But if you work on commission I guess that’s what these jobs attract .

  74. trashbaby says:

    My father and I took our trucks to a Jiffy Lube for 5 years.

    I am really anal about watching anyone working on my vehicle after some bad mechanics tried to hose me for repairs (presumably because I’m female and unassuming) however I am lucky to have basic knowledge of my engine.

    On the last visit I will ever make to Jiffy Lube, they were decently busy and my truck was brought into the last bay. I watched from their dismal little waiting room but I could hardly see my truck with two vehicles in the way.

    I figured “They’ve taken care of me for 5 years, I should be good” …the one time I’m not looking and everything goes to hell.

    I didn’t have the extra $50 for my air filter and so I passed on it.

    They finished whatever it is they were doing and I went home. The next day I was driving to school and I felt a buzzing on the gas pedal when I accelerated. Eventually I also noticed this weird whizzy-whine from my engine. I called a friend and he said I probably had some blockage in the throttle body but I should be okay to drive to and from school.

    The next day I was off from work/school so I decided to take my truck to the dealer, but when I got in and started it, I had the dashboard of death. Lights I’ve never seen were on and my excellent condition truck refused to move.

    I had the dealership tow it because it was still under warranty. When they were done, they asked me to come into the dealership to discuss what had happened. The first thing they asked was “Did you take your truck to Jiffy Lube?” i said “yes, I just got my oil changed”. Then the guy shows me this wadded up piece of paper like they lay on your engine or floorboard to keep thigns from getting dirty. He said “this was stuffed in the pipe to your throttle body. There is absolutely no reason for them to have opened this part of your engine. It has nothign to do with any part they would have needed to touch in order to do anything including the air filter. Someone had to purposely and maliciously stuff paper into this tube” ….

    Of course I was furious and no amount of exuecutive complaint could get anything more than a “we’ll get back to you” .

    Nothing ever came of it, and I have refused to take my vehicle anywhere but the dealership from there forward.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I own a small independent (european import) workshop. Treating my customers fair has earned me far more in repeat business than this kind of ripoff possibly could have. Customers happily wait weeks for an appointment and drive more than an hour each way to have me work on their cars even when they have plenty of shops within 15 minutes of their home, because they are sick of being ripped off by the chains and some dealers.

  76. Bahnburner says:

    …not to mention how changing oil every 3,000miles impacts the environment. Please people! Pay a little more, run full synthetic and drive at least 7,500 miles! And depending on conditions, you shouldn’t have to change an air filter for 50,000 miles unless you live in a desert or on a dirt road.

  77. Brunette Bookworm says:

    @magic8ball: I’ve only had to change mine once, I think it was a little over 5k maybe 5.5K or 6K. I wait until the car tells me to change it, too.

    And I’m still unsure how someone couldn’t change their own air filter but maybe no one ever showed them how to do it. My dad showed me on my first car and how to do a couple other things. I also helped him anytime we needed to fix something on the car I had so I would know. I’m so glad to have a brand new car that I don’t worry about now.

  78. nataku8_e30 says:

    @oneliketadow: I’ll chip in on this: You should consult your owner’s manual for the oil change interval, and then base your change interval on that information and your driving habits. If you drive almost entirely on the highway, and everytime you drive the car, go at least 15 or so miles, then you can probably wait until the factory recommended change interval. If you drive primarily in the city, or start-top conditions, or most of your trips are under 5 miles, you should probably adjust to somewhere between 50 and 75% of the factory recommended change interval. Not all old cars actually recommended a 3k change interval either – my ’92 Buick Roadmaster specified a 7500 mile change interval, although I usually changed it around 3k since I didn’t drive it much and it wasn’t in very good shape. Ultimately, though, changing at every 3k isn’t going to damage your engine, and it gives you some piece of mind, so if that’s what you want to do, I certainly won’t recommend against it.

  79. Anonymous says:

    Everybody posting here needs to educate themselves regarding air filter (for your engine) and hepa filter (for the air entering your car’s interior).

    I think you may be enlightened.

    Two. Different. Filters.

    Oh, and BTW, hepa filters are rectangular. Go figure!

    /not a paid Iffy Lube spokesman

  80. Anonymous says:

    Any business run by honest people and employees will do right by the customer. Any business can be owned or operated by dishonest people. I do not paint everyone with the same brush and decide whom to trust based on experiences that I have had with those businesses. Kudos to an educated customer because they are every businesses best advertisment, if the busisness is honest.

  81. PixelProphet says:

    EVERYONE HERE.

    PURCHASE A K&N TYPE FILTER REPLACEMENT FOR YOUR VEHICLE.

    You can take it off, let it soak in soapy hot water, then hose it down and put it back on your car and never worry about this crap again.

  82. Betsy Magrini says:

    Jiffy Lube is the worst. I have a Prius so luckily I do not have to change my oil often (every 5,000 miles). I brought my car into a Jiffy Lube last month, and I waited forever for my oil change. They did the dirty air filter sales pitch, let me knew i could have my fluids topped off, vacuumed my car, yada yada yada. When I drove away, I noticed that my oil change light was still on. I was suspicious. I figured they must have forgot to reset the light.

    I usually get about 50 mpg on my car. However, once I left the Jiffy Lube, I noticed a drastic change in my gas mileage. For the rest of the week, I was getting about 39 mpg. I knew something was wrong. It got even worse, my mileage went all the way down to 32 mpg. JIFFY LUBE DID NOT CHANGE MY OIL!!! I called the manager and explained what happened, and he said that my mileage was low because of “winterized gasoline.” I let him know that my car did not have low mpg last winter, but he insisted that he had a videotape recording of someone changing my oil. But since I was so upset about my oil change light and low mileage, he arranged for a free oil change at a different Jiffy Lube location. They changed my oil and my mpg shot right back up to 50 mpg.

  83. TheFuzz53 says:

    Spend $50 on a K&N. Never have to change it. Just clean and oil every 50k miles.

  84. cubsd says:

    Quite a while ago I went to Jiffy Lube. The mechanic tried to sell me synthetic oil at a substantial mark-up, saying “This is the stuff they put in jet engines”. I told him that until this car takes off and flies me across the country, regular oil is just fine.

  85. eosjack says:

    FWIW, I just had my oil changed at my local Jiffy Lube. As usual, they went over everything they thought I should pay for. As they marched down the list they said my wiper blades were fine, the coolant levels were fine, the air filter was fine… The only thing the recommended was a tire rotation which I am, admittedly, due for.

    I guess it’s a matter of hunting down a shop where they do things right.

  86. David Brodbeck says:

    I always know quick oil change places are lying when they tell me the air filter on my VW is dirty. I’ve changed that filter before, and it takes a solid five minutes of disassembly just to get to the point where you can see it.

    I’m not a fan of the K&N oiled gauze filters, personally. I feel like it’s a lot less effort to buy a new paper one than to wash the old one, and I’d worry about the environmental impact of the oil I was rinsing down the drain when I cleaned it.

  87. stemplain says:

    Oh I see now, I am taking all of these consumer feedback is telling me something. I will start doing things myself. I will not and cannot trust a mechanic who claims or have ASE written on their garage. I know one mechanic here in Rockdale Texas who says one thing and do another. He even says he is Godly. You have to watch out for the repair shops. They will rip you off in a heartbeat. I have seen it and been through it. You all can message me here. I am glad to be targeted by rich multi million dollar business to be taken out. I speak for the consumers and will help the consumers. the little guy always win the battle. the only thing wrong with USA is nothing but crooked coniving executives who tell you one thing and do another. I am a consumer advocate. I believe consumer have bills of rights that should not be trampled up on.

  88. Anonymous says:

    Chris, I work for Jiffy Lube and was disappointed to read what Josh describes in his visit. The practices described by Josh are unacceptable and contradict Jiffy Lube training. We would like Josh’s help in determining the service center responsible as well as the opportunity to address Josh’s concerns with him directly. I would encourage him, or any customers that have an experience like this, to contact our Customer Service department at 1.800.344.6933 or email jiffy-lube-customer-service@shell.com. I’ve already made Customer Service aware of Josh’s experience. If he would contact us we can put him into direct contact with the operators in charge of this service center.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention,

    Paul Brown

  89. sumgai says:

    I’m sorry, but if you pay $30 to have an air filter changed, you deserve to get ripped off. Are you insane?? $30???? Dude, grow a sack and stop by Kragen and buy the $15 filter and do it yourself. Is it really that difficult to pop open two latches, pull the old one, and insert the new one? Done. 1 minute max. Who the hell pays $30 for that??? Why do you even take your car anywhere else to have the oil changed?? Do you realize how important making sure it’s done right is to your car’s health? I always change my own oil. That way I know new oil actually went into the engine. Most lube places don’t even change your oil. They just charge you for it. Don’t ever leave something that important to someone else. It takes all of 15 minutes to change it yourself. People are friggin weird!

  90. SilverTongue says:

    I stay away from all auto repair shops that do not have a viewing window to the shop. And I video all work done on my car. If the shop manager balks..and most do, I politely take my business elsewhere. Because of this economic crisis, we will be seeing more attempted rip-offs from everybody that thinks they might get away with it. Sometimes it can be quite amusing to watch…and then call them on it. :)

  91. Sheppard Lambert says:

    I usually change my oil and filters myself, one because its cheaper and two because i know its done right. but i dont feel like doing it in the cold so something i suggest is if you bring it into a place sign your filters with a sharpee. after they change your oil or filters check it and if its still got a signature you know they have ripped you off.