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)