1996 Lexus ES 300 Long Term Road Test

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1996 Lexus ES 300: Jiffy Lube Vindicated

March 12, 2013

1996 Lexus ES 300

In our popular article "Stop Changing Your Oil," we were critical of Jiffy Lube for recommending too-frequent oil changes. We had heard that Jiffy Lube had changed; that its techs would give customers manufacturer recommended oil change intervals. Since we needed to get an oil change before getting a smog test — and needed that inspection before selling it — we decided to go back to Jiffy Lube and see how things had changed.

We even decided to try playing "gotcha journalism." Here's what happened.

When the sales guy approached us we said we didn't know if we needed an oil change or not. We said we weren't sure what the intervals were. The sales guy said the best way to tell was to look at the color of the oil. This, by the way, isn't entirely true. See #4 in "Urban Legends about Oil.". But we took it as a good sign that he wasn't just going to default to just-go-ahead-and-change-it mode.

The tech guy then looked up the oil change interval on his computer and said it was either 5,000 or 7,500 miles depending on how we drove it. This, of course, is the good old severe versus normal driving schedules. In the past, quick-change oil shops have tried to get everyone on the severe schedule because it means more business for them. But now, we were being told by the technician, "We can set the sticker for whatever you decide." Eureka! This is just what we wanted to hear. No more 3,000-mile intervals glaring at us from the little sticker in the corner of the window.

Here's another nice surprise. We priced an air filter at an auto parts store before heading to Jiffy Lube and found they cost $14.99. The Jiffy Lubsters installed one for $16.99. It was worth the two extra bucks to have them pop it in. The total bill was $51.48 and we were on our way in a half hour.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor, @ 153,458 miles

Comments

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    I use those express oil change places when I'm in Los Angeles. I haven't had a problem with them, either.

  • texases texases Posts:

    Problems are common, not the oil change interval, but the relentless 'flush everything' recommendations. That you weren't pushed for this was good, but rare.

  • noburgers_ noburgers_ Posts:

    That is NOT the Jiffy Lube I remember. Nice to hear. And I bet they didn't dislodge a vacuum line like all the other monkeys have managed to do so far.

  • bc1960 bc1960 Posts:

    Jiffy Lube where I live isn't so customer-friendly. Before Thanksgiving I had a schedule crunch and took my car to JL instead of making an appointment at my usual shop. I could have told them that the air filters were only a few months old, but they didn't ask and just removed them to show me how "dirty" they were. I said no to the upsell, and when I got the car back they had replaced the engine filter but left the cabin filter on the front seat with the contents of the glove box (it installs behind that) and left the glove box door hanging loose. That alone made me decide not to darken their door again. Oh, and their sticker said I was to come back in 3000 mi. A few weeks later I had to go to my regular shop anyway and when they called me to come pick up the car they said "by the way, your oil really needed changing so we did that too." I told them it had recently been changed, and they said it couldn't have been because it was low and "REALLY dirty". Unfortunately they didn't save a sample that could be analyzed to prove JL didn't perform the work I paid for. I doubt this shop was trying to con me because they didn't charge me for the oil change because they didn't call for authorization beforehand. Now they think I'm an idiot because I didn't check the oil immediately after it was allegedly changed. I never developed that habit because all my previous cars I did the oil changes myself. I can't figure out whether the Jiffy Lube guys were pissed because I didn't go for the added services (although I paid a premium anyway because I use synthetic blend), or if one guy drove the car in and another drove it out later assuming it had been finished.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    The upsells are not the reason I don't go to these places...I can easily say no or yes. It's the wrong oil, underfill, overfill, filter on too tight, filter on too loose, no filter change, left the old gasket on and spun the new filter on over it, etc. that bothers me. There are no certified master techs changing oil at those places.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    Don't try this in Las Vegas. Trust me.

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