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5 Oil Change Scams That Will Cost You Money — or Even Your Car

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You already know oil changes cost you time and money — but they could end up costing you lots of dollars and maybe even your car.

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Here’s a look at five scams to know about before you head in for your next oil change.

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kali9 / Getty Images

Phantom Change

You may have heard about this classic scam. It’s where a mechanic says they’ve changed your oil, but instead they’ve done nothing, replaced it with old oil or topped off your existing oil.

You can avoid this one by checking your oil level and condition before and after the change. According to MSN, “Look for a change in color from dark to amber, a less viscous texture, and ensure the oil level reaches the full mark on the dipstick, all signs that the oil was in fact changed.”

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DuxX / Getty Images/iStockphotoDuxX / Getty Images/iStockphoto

DuxX / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Unnecessary Filter Changes

You’ve probably experienced some high-pressure sales tactics when it comes to vehicles. This is one involved filter changes you don’t need.

In this scam, a mechanic will tell you all filters need to be replaced during your oil change, including the air, cabin air, fuel and transmission filters. It’s obviously not always necessary to change them all at once, so consult your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. Speaking of which, make sure to look over your final bill. “Charging consumers for multiple jobs being done at the same time is a common scam that could cost you extra money when getting your vehicle serviced,” according to Reader’s Digest.

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bluecinema / Getty Images

Overpriced Upsell

While you’re checking the owner’s manual about filter changes, see what it says about the recommended oil type. This quick check could save you a good deal of money.

With the overpriced upsell scam, the shop tries to get you to buy premium synthetic oil instead of cheaper options. Though this kind of oil does offer certain advantages, it may not be necessary for your vehicle.

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DragonImages / Getty Images/iStockphotoDragonImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

DragonImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Missing Oil Cap

This can be a frustrating scam. Yet, some mechanics will intentionally leave the oil cap off after your oil change.

As you can imagine, this move can lead to things like oil leaks and engine damage – along with a pricey repair bill. The easy solution here is to make sure the oil cap is securely in place before you leave the shop.

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kali9 / iStock.comkali9 / iStock.com

kali9 / iStock.com

The Rushed Change

This scam may not be as easy to spot or correct as some of the others, especially if you don’t know a lot about how to fix cars. That’s because it may be difficult to gauge if the mechanic is rushing your oil change.

However, rushed oil changes can cause improper installations of filters, underfilling your oil and other issues. You can try to avoid this one by watching the mechanic as they work and asking questions if they seem rushed.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 5 Oil Change Scams That Will Cost You Money — or Even Your Car


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