This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
UPDATE: This blog has been retired as of August 2011. See this post for more information or connect with me on Twitter.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I hate getting my oil changed
There are few things in life that I dislike more than having my oil changed. I don't have the tools and equipment (or the desire) to change it myself, so I usually just take it to my local Valvoline store since I can be in and out pretty quickly.

Fortunately, I don't put too many miles on my car, so I only get the oil changed 2-3 times per year. Unfortunately, today was one of those 2 or 3 time per year.

The thing I hate so much about Valvoline (and other drive-thru oil change places) are all of the upsells for filters and oil additives and wiper blades and other things that I don't need. I just want my oil changed.

As I pulled into Valvoline this morning, I noticed that they now have a $24.99 Early Bird Special for customers between 7-10am. Last time, I paid over $40. Figured this might be cheaper and less-painful than usual.

I was wrong.

Before they got started on my car, they said, "Oh, you're not going to be able to get the special because your car requires synthetic oil." I asked why and they explained that because it was a European car and because it was a turbo that the engine would be permanently damaged if I didn't use synthetic. They said I would need to sign something saying they weren't liable for that damage if I wanted to use conventional oil. The price for the synthetic oil change? $60.

I quickly pointed out that I had had my oil changed at this Valvoline location at least 6 times, which they verified in their computer, and they never used or suggested synthetic. So if what they were saying were true, then Valvoline would already be liable for any damage done to my engine.

Suddenly, conventional oil was OK and the oil change got underway.

Once I got back home, I decided to call my VW dealer to find out the truth. According to Roy in the Service Dept. at Bachman Volkswagen, my engine can use either conventional or synthetic oil and that no damage would result from it. He said a lot of mechanics and oil change places don't like to deal with VW's because they can easily damage the oil pan if they aren't careful.

I would rather see companies like Valvoline be upfront and say that they won't change the oil on my car, like Wal-mart does, than lie to me about upgrades that I don't need. Be honest and I will respect you a whole lot more than if you lie to me.

Now, I've got 3,000 miles to find somewhere else to get an oil change. Any suggestions?

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.