2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Last-Minute Oil Change
November 28, 2014
It was the morning of the day I planned to head north to Oregon in our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. I had a story to finish and some errands to run before my daughter got out of school and we could wade out into Friday evening traffic and get going. In the midst of it all the Oil Change Due warning popped up on the truck's information screen.
This wouldn't have been a surprise to any normal vehicle owner, but we swap this truck around amongst the staff. No one prior to me had seen the 500-mile countdown clock begin issuing its notifications. I was mentally assuming 20,000 miles, so the warning at 18,490 miles was a bit of a surprise. I'd completely forgotten that Josh had taken it in for its first oil change a bit early at 8,975 miles instead of 10,000 miles, and that dealer hadn't affixed a reminder windshield sticker behind the sun visor.
So at 11:00 a.m. on a Friday I rushed over to McPeek Dodge/Ram in Anaheim to see what the service department could do for me on short notice. I was in luck. Only two cars were left waiting in front of me from the morning rush. I didn't have time to let them tackle the tire rub issue, though, so I didn't bring it up. As it was I would have to wait 90 minutes for the oil change and tire rotation I absolutely needed.
Half expecting this, I camped out in the waiting area with my laptop to get some work done, surrounded by a pair of Vipers and a couple of R/T Challengers.
Ninety minutes rolled around and the truck was back in the drive pretty much on schedule. But there was a slight problem.
The service writer hadn't checked in a Ram 1500 EcoDiesel for an oil change before and he'd wildly underestimated the cost on the check-in paperwork. He didn't allow for 11 quarts of oil and a fairly expensive oil filter. I told him not to worry about it. I wasn't going to hold him to it. I wasn't there to play Gotcha.
But George and his boss felt obligated, so they only went as far up as the approximate midpoint between what he'd estimated and what it should have cost. They didn't say, but I suspect the oil and filter prices shown below are their cost.
Here's how the $154.81 bill breaks down:
Oil: $69.52 for 11 quarts @ $6.32 each ($9.20 last time)
Filter: $36.00 ($60.00 last time)
Labor: $37.90 (tire rotation and oil change)
Disposal fee: $2.95
Note that I could have asked them to top up the DEF tank, too. But it was over half full so I chose to leave it as-is. That's an easy DIY at any service station or auto parts store.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 18,503 miles