Are oil changes covered under warranty?

Warranties don’t cover routine maintenance like oil changes

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    BMW
    oil being poured into car engine

    Regular oil changes are essential to keep your vehicle running well. But how much should you expect to pay for this routine maintenance task?

    On average, a standard oil change costs $80 in 2024. But the exact cost varies depending on your car’s make and model, the oil type used and where you get it done. Engine maintenance costs can add up fast — especially if you drive a lot.

    So, are there warranties that cover oil changes, or are you always on the hook for this expense? And what can you do to save money on this service in the long run?

    Let’s find out.


    Key insights

    Car warranties cover unexpected repairs and replacements due to defects in materials or workmanship — not routine maintenance tasks.

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    Factory warranties don’t cover maintenance, but some auto dealers offer complimentary oil changes for a limited time..

    Jump to insight

    Extended warranties exclude oil changes, but you may buy a separate maintenance care plan to save money on the service.

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    The cost of an oil change differs based on your car and service provider, with dealerships often being the most expensive option.

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    Oil change coverage

    Car warranties don’t typically cover oil changes. Instead, they cover unexpected repairs and replacements due to manufacturing defects and mechanical issues. For example, a powertrain warranty covers engine-related components like your transmission and drive axle(s) if they break out of nowhere.

    Like most warranties and contracts, there may be exceptions. Suppose your car has an oil leak or other engine problem caused by a manufacturing defect. In this scenario, your warranty may cover the repair costs, including any necessary oil changes.

    » LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

    Do any warranties cover oil changes?

    In short, no. Standard car warranties and most extended warranties don’t cover oil changes. But some extended warranty providers offer separate maintenance plans that could. The Advantage auto protection plan from Endurance, for example, covers up to three oil and oil filter changes per year.

    Also, certain dealerships or car brands like Nissan offer complimentary oil changes for a limited time when you buy a new vehicle. Nissan owner Jeff H. told ConsumerAffairs: “I bought a new Nissan Rogue a few years ago. I was able to take it to any Nissan dealership for oil and filter changes every 5,000 miles for the first year — free of charge.” This is an excellent perk for new car buyers, as it helps offset the cost of routine maintenance for the first twelve months.

    However, it’s crucial to get all offers in writing when buying a vehicle, even from reputable dealerships. One ConsumerAffairs reviewer from North Richland Hills, Texas, expressed great disappointment when Nissan didn’t keep its word. “(The salesman) said my Nissan Sentra had 100,000K mile warranty, which included 12 free oil changes and car washes. … They recanted. … The repair center also said the man who sold us the vehicle no longer works for them,” she said.

    This situation underscores the importance of having a written record of what’s included in your warranty and any extra perks. While most car salespeople and dealerships are honest, misunderstandings happen. By getting everything in writing, you ensure you get the services you were promised.

    » MORE: Car warranty guide: what you need to know

    Does your extended warranty cover oil changes?

    In most cases, extended warranties don’t cover oil changes.

    Remember: Extended warranties and maintenance plans aren’t the same thing. Extended warranties cover unexpected repairs after your factory warranty expires, while maintenance plans cover routine services like oil changes and multipoint inspections.

    But you may have some options if you want coverage that includes oil changes. For example, BMW offers a dealership plan called “Ultimate Care.” With it, you pay $225 plus taxes and disposal fees. In return, you get scheduled oil and oil filter changes plus labor for up to three years or 36,000 miles — whichever comes first.

    Similar prepaid maintenance plans may be available from other automakers. These plans can provide peace of mind and save you money in the long run, especially if you prefer not to do it yourself.

    How much does it cost to get your oil changed?

    It’s hard to give an exact number, but oil changes cost an average of $80.

    Factors determining the cost of your oil change include:

    • Your car’s make and model (basic commuter vs. luxury vehicle)
    • The type of oil used (e.g., conventional, synthetic blend, full synthetic)
    • Where you go for service (e.g., quick lube shops, car dealerships, local independent mechanics)

    For instance, dealerships usually charge more for oil changes than quick lube shops like Jiffy Lube. If you have a high-performance vehicle that requires synthetic oil, the labor and materials could exceed $100.

    To give you a better idea of cost comparison, here’s a ballpark of different service providers’ oil change fees:

    Author’s note: As a BMW owner, I’ve found a great way to save money on oil changes through FCP Euro’s Lifetime Replacement Guarantee.

    It works like this:

    1. You buy the necessary parts (e.g., oil and oil filters) and perform your first oil change.
    2. You buy (and install) the same parts for your next oil change.
    3. You pay around $25 to ship the used parts back to FCP Euro.
    4. FCP Euro gives you credit for the original purchase price of the parts.
    5. You use that credit to buy new parts for your upcoming oil change, rinse and repeat.

    This program has allowed me to save hundreds of dollars over four years — all while using top-of-the-line oil and filters.

    Doing it yourself is often the cheapest way to change your oil if you already have supplies like a car jack, socket set, wrenches, wheel ramps and chocks at home. But it’s best to leave maintenance to the pros if you’re not experienced with working on cars. Car warranties won’t cover any damages incurred from a DIY oil change.

    Quick and easy. Find an auto warranty partner now.

      FAQ

      Does a warranty cover regular maintenance?

      No, warranties generally don’t cover routine maintenance like oil changes. Instead, they cover repairs and replacements for defective parts or workmanship. You may be able to buy a prepaid plan from your dealership that discounts maintenance.

      Does changing your own oil void your car warranty?

      No, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects your right to perform your own maintenance, including oil changes. But if you damage any car parts due to an improper DIY oil change, your warranty won’t pay to fix them.

      How do you prove you got oil changes for warranty coverage?

      If you have your dealership change your oil, it should update your car records and provide receipts. Similarly, places like Jiffy Lube will give you receipts for oil changes. If you do it yourself, keep all the receipts for purchased items to complete the oil change.


      Article sources
      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “What are the differences between a manufacturer’s warranty and an extended vehicle warranty or service contract?” Accessed May 10, 2024.
      2. Federal Trade Commission, “Businessperson's Guide to Federal Warranty Law.” Accessed May 10, 2024.
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