Oil Changes and Window Sticker Marketing

For most Americans, their car is their life line. It gets them to and from their jobs, to stores, to visit friends and family, and elsewhere. Most cannot imagine life without a dependable vehicle which is why so many are careful to make sure their vehicle is performing at an optimal level. However, as people have become wearier of working on their own vehicles and have trusted their car’s maintenance to the repair professionals, a growing number of individuals have grown unfamiliar with what their car really needs and how often it needs it. In many instances, a driver will take their car in for regular automotive maintenance before it is needed, will have unnecessary repairs, and will have the oil changed even when the existing oil is still in good condition and at acceptable levels.One would think that with the downturn in the economy in the past couple years, people would begin to pay more attention to what their vehicle needs and attempt to perform much of the maintenance themselves in order to save money, but quite the opposite has been occurring. As people are drawn in by flashy marketing to quick-lube shops with rock-bottom prices, while they’re waiting for their oil to be changed, they’re told horror story after horror story about the possible consequences of not updating to a premium-style oil, by not having the shop’s recommend fluid-flush, or by not picking up additional items such as oil additives or premium replacement wiper blades. As they begin to see themselves with a vehicle that is completely broken down because they didn’t go with that extra $50-$100 service, they often let these shops perform these largely unnecessary services on their vehicles. The irony of all of this is that in many instances, the people recommending these additional services are not experienced mechanics, but rather inexperienced lube technicians who have, at times, been trained more on how to sell additional services than on how to service a vehicle.It is this illusion of expertise that leads to one of the most successful marketing tools for quick lube and mechanic’s shops alike; the sticker. In most instances, the shop that changes the oil in a vehicle will place a sticker on the inside of the windshield with the company name, logo, and a suggested mileage at which to bring the vehicle back in for service. In most instances, there will be a suggested date along with a suggested mileage that is very often around 3,000 miles from where the car’s mileage currently sits. While many consider this a very considerate service and constant reminder of when they need to bring their vehicle in for service and where they can do so (shops simplify the customer experience by keeping the customer’s information on file), the suggested miles before another oil change is recommended is typically a convenient guess and not what exactly what the vehicle manufacturer recommends.In order to make the most of your oil change, always be sure to check the owner’s manual from the manufacturer of your vehicle for the specifications involved with your automobile’s maintenance. If you do not currently possess the manufacturer’s owner’s manual, obtaining one is a more than worthwhile investment. In the manual, you should find suggested tire pressures, fluid specifications, types of oils, and also how often the manufacturer recommends having the oil changed. Many are surprised to find that though the sticker on the window says to have the oil changed every 3,000 miles, their manual may say otherwise. At times, the manual may read that an oil change is recommended every 5,000 miles to extend to every 7,000 miles to as much as 10,000 miles. In this still-struggling economy with many people wanting to find new ways to save money, many may be shocked to discover that there is money to be saved in simply taking a larger role in learning how their automobile performs instead of what they have been told by the same people who are selling them the products and services.