Why go to a Full-Service Auto shop vs. a Quick Lube Shop?

How to Get the Best Value for Your Money

When you are faced with the decision of deciding between a full-service auto shop like Victory Auto or a quick lube shop you might be asking how to get the best value for your money?

It is an important decision because routine oil changes before your oil gets bad is the best way to prolong the life and value of your vehicle.

After changing over 100,000 vehicle’s engine oil since we opened in 1997, we have found there are 8 critical elements to any oil change regardless where you ultimately go for service. Let’s take a look at each element in more detail to understand the value between each type of auto repair shop.

The 8 element you need to be aware of are: Time Duration, Oil Type, Oil Change Process, Technician Skill Level, Customer Experience, Location Accessibility, Perks, and Cost

1) Time Duration: “Instant” Doesn’t Always Mean Fast

Quick Lube Shop:
One of the promoted benefits of a quick lube vs. a full-service shop is the speed of the actual oil change. The reason they are so quick is because that is their one specialty. Often Quick Lube Shops have only 1-2 bays and each are dedicated to oil changes. They want to get you in and out of the shop as quickly as possible so they can get to the next vehicle, which is why visits only take 15-20 minutes.

However most Quick Lube Shops don’t take appointments. You are at the mercy of the market on how long it will actually take. Instant doesn’t always mean fast because you might be waiting for other vehicles to get serviced, and sometimes that can take quite a long time just like these people experienced, and maybe you have too.

Quick Lube Shop Review #1

Quick Lube Shop Review #2

Unfortunately, while the actual oil change might only be 15-20 minutes it is not uncommon for your whole visit to take 45-120 minutes at peak times.

Victory Auto Service & Glass:
We schedule all of our appointments ahead of time because we value your time! We want you to be confident you can get your car in and out on schedule and plan your day accordingly. Most oil changes take 40-50 minutes to complete. We typically have 4-6 bays per shop with 1 bay dedicated to faster work like oil changes. This way we can get you in right away when your appointment starts. One of the main reasons our appointments take slightly longer is because we have more in-depth processes.

Verdict:
It depends if you want to risk a long waiting time. With Quick Lube Shops, the risk is spending your time waiting vs at Victory Auto Service all of your time is spent on expert service.

Winner: Tie

2) Oil Type: There are Many Options, But Don’t Skimp on Quality.

Most vehicle owners don’t know the difference between types of oil and quality. Not only does engine oil vary by how it is made, it varies by the quality of the final product. This matrix will help you understand the roughly 9-types of engine oil in the market.

Types of Engine OilConventionalSynthetic Blend Full Synthetic
High Grade  Excellent
Medium Grade Good 
Low GradeBad  

Quick Lube Shop:
Most Quick Lube Shops carry a range of oil type and quality. Often what you will see advertised is low-grade, conventional engine oil... essentially the bottom of the barrel. These are specials in the $16-20 range and are designed to upsell you. This type of oil, while functional, is not ultimately what you want to be feeding your engine if you want to prolong it’s life. Quick Lube Shops often have upgraded oil available, but it will cost you a premium $$$.

Victory Auto Service & Glass:
We use only medium & high-grade synthetic blend and full-synthetic engine oils. We do this because we want to help prolong the life of your vehicle through proper service. Our aim is to meet or exceed the manufacturer recommended oil and not waste your money on inferior products.

Verdict:
You should always follow what your vehicle manufacturer recommends for the type of oil. Make sure you are getting a quality oil for your money.

Winner: Tie

3) Oil Change Process: You Pay for What You Get

A common misconception is that “an oil change is simply an oil change”. It is true the result is changed oil, but as is the case in other service industries like financial planning or attorneys, there are wide ranges of robustness in the process of your service.

Quick Lube Shop:
Often you will get some form of a complimentary inspection. Typically, this is a 16-20 point inspection. What are they inspecting? Usually it is only major items that they can see with the naked eye such as brake bulbs, or classically, the cabin air filter. Quick Lube Inspections are more of a ‘glance over’. These inspections are ok if you are trying to get a list of items to consider, but hardly would be something you should consider for any major repairs or service.

Victory Auto Service & Glass:
We perform a 44-point inspection by a certified ASE technician on every oil change regardless of the type of oil you choose. This inspection report is yours to use how you see fit, much like a doctor would describe things to consider after your annual physical. We always top-off your other fluids for you as a complimentary service.

Verdict:
You get what you pay for when it comes to process. Not all oil changes are equal in what they offer.

Winner: Victory Auto Service & Glass

4) Technician Skill Level: Different Shops have Different Skill Levels

Quick Lube Shop:
It is common knowledge many people in the automotive repair industry get their start by working at a quick lube shop. It is not uncommon to see a local high-school student working on your car at one of these facilities. The technician skill level at Quick Lube Shops is usually more entry-level and less experienced. This is because of the Quick Lube business model. Unfortunately, it also means you likely will have less experienced technicians working on your vehicle. Sadly, it is not uncommon to hear stories of rookie technicians tightening your oil pan plug too tight and stripping the threads effectively ruining your oil pan or even not tightening it enough causing you to lose all of your engine oil. These types of repairs can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Victory Auto Service & Glass:
We have been one of the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s best places to work. Our turnover is very low compared to the industry which helps us retain top, seasoned ASE certified technicians. At every shop, one of our Master ASE certified techs will touch each job. To become a Master ASE certified technician is about the same level of training as to become a CPA in the accounting world. We train our people a lot so you can be sure repairs and service are done right the first time.

Verdict:
Quick-Lube Shops are typically entry-level techs while full-service shops employ more seasoned and master technicians.

Winner: Victory Auto Service & Glass

5) Customer Experience & Satisfaction

You are not only paying for an oil change; you are paying for the experience of that oil change. When you look at the Google Reviews Average by major shops, it starts to become clear there is a difference in the experience you can expect from different types of auto repair shops.

 Highest RatingLowest Rating
Victory5.04.6
Jiffy Lube4.63.9
Valvoline4.53.7
Firestone4.63.5
Walmart3.62.2
Goodyear4.6-
Averages4.53.6

Quick Lube Shops:
Many people have had an experience at a quick lube oil change where you have been upsold. You came in for a $20 oil change and left with an $80 bill wondering how it happened! That feeling is not uncommon and is a major complaint many consumers have like this for example:

Quick Lube Review #3

It is not always the technician’s fault. They are incentivized on upsells. The business model they work in encourages them to pressure you into additional services you may not need.

Victory Auto Service & Glass:
We take great pride in providing you the very best service we can. In our Victory Auto Service & Glass pledge of excellence, we promise to never upsell you anything. In fact, we promise not to sell at all! We view our role as to simply inform you of what your car needs to operate effectively. Our team is not incentivized by upsells either. You will never have a manager selling you an air filter to make their weekly bonus numbers. Often, we live in the same community you do and try to follow the golden rule “Do unto other as you wish they would do unto you”.

Verdict:
If you want a great experience, a local full-service shop is the way to go. Our lowest rating is higher than the average of other’s best.

Winner: Victory Auto Service & Glass 

6) Perks with Service: Can Add Tremendous Value to Your Oil Change

Quick Lube Shop:
Typically with Quick Lube Shops, you don’t get any perks. You might get a punch-card for a free oil change after 4 oil changes, but Quick Lube Shops are not known for their perks. They are more like Spirit airlines – where you have to pay for every last little thing. That is their business model. They are trying to maximize profit with every interaction.

Victory Auto Service & Glass:
We offer a number of perks for people in our community. First, if you live within 5 miles of one of our shops, we will come and pick up your vehicle at your door for service and drop it back off at your home or work once your oil change is complete. We call it our door-to-door concierge service. And it is 100% free to you if you live within 5 miles of a Victory Auto Service & Glass. Imagine not having to spend that time driving to an auto shop and instead being able to continue working or doing a hobby you enjoy. Second, all of our locations come with complimentary beverages (soda & coffee), and when we can serve it again, popcorn.

Verdict:
If you like the complimentary perks with your oil change, Victory Auto Service & Glass is your choice.

Winner: Victory Auto Service & Glass

7) Location Accessibility: Proximity Doesn’t Equal Travel Time

Quick Lube Shop:
Normally these shops are franchised owned and have many locations throughout a metro area. Their goal is like Starbucks and to be on as many corners as they can. The ample locations of Quick Lube Shops typically around shopping areas is a benefit of these types of oil change shops. They can operate in a building the size of a Starbucks because they only have 1-2 bays as we discussed in element #1.

Victory Auto Service & Glass:
As a full-service auto repair shop, our land need is bigger because we often have 4-6 bays and perform the full spectrum of auto repair and maintenance services. We understand we are not as plentiful as Quick Lube Shops, but we are often easily accessible on major roads or highways. While we might be further in distance, overall time might only be slightly more. Plus, don’t forget about our complimentary concierge service from element #6. If you live within 5 miles of one of our stores, we will come pick up and drop off your vehicle for free! There is value in having the same shop work on your vehicle for all issues much like having a family physician who is consistent and knows your health.

Verdict:
It depends on what you value. Odds are there is a Quick Lube Shop near you. Victory offers a free concierge service Quick Lube Shops don’t. However, in pure number of locations, Quick Lubes win.

Winner: Quick Lube Shops

8) Cost: Most Shops are Surprisingly in the Same Price Range

There is a common belief that instant oil shops are cheap but full-service shops are expensive. While we understand this sentiment, the data suggests the cost of an oil change is relatively the same price regardless of where you go as seen in the chart below:

 ConventionalSynthetic BlendFull Synthetic
Jiffy Lube$29.99$59.99$74.99
Goodyear$18.95$43.95$53.95
Victory-$39.99$59.99
Walmart$19.88$39.88$49.88
Valvoline$39.99$36.99$46.99
Firestone$24.99$21.99$49.99
Averages$25.95$40.47$55.97

Quick Lube Shop:
Most Quick Lube Shops pride themselves on being cost-effective. While it is true their actual costs are lower for conventional and blended oil, you get what you pay for in terms of oil quality and experience. If you prefer a blend or full synthetic for their better engine performance, you might be paying a premium at a Quick Lube Shop. Often, Quick Lubes will run promotions on sites like Groupon, making you think you’re getting a great value, but in reality, you are only getting market rates for an oil change like the example below.

Valvoline Instant Oil Change

Victory Auto Service & Glass:
We aim to be competitive in the market by offering top quality oil and outstanding customer experiences. We tend to be right around the average in price and right within the middle of the pack for the market.

Verdict:
The bargain belief that Quick Lube Shops are cheaper is somewhat a myth. The market tends to be within range. Yes, you can get cheaper oil services, but for your money, you won’t find a better value than Victory Auto Service & Glass.

Winner: Tie

Summary: Convenience is great, but service value should drive decisions

Choosing where to get your oil changed is one of the more important things you can do to promote a longer life of your engine and value of your vehicle. There are valid reasons why you would choose either a quick lube shop or Victory Auto Service & Glass. After evaluating the evidence, we believe you will get much more value from our service.

Element of an Oil ChangeQuick Lube ShopsVictory Auto Service & Glass
TimeTieTie
Oil TypeTieTie
Oil Change Process Winner
Technician Skill Level Winner
Customer Experience Winner
Perks with Oil Change Winner
Location AccessibilityWinner 
Cost of Oil ChangeTieTie

Overall Winner: Victory Auto Service & Glass, 7 points to 4 points

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