Costco has everything a consumer needs from rotisserie chicken to furniture to replacement tires. It also provides services for your vehicle, offering a line of motor oils and lubricants from top quality brands. With Costco’s reputation for affordability, good quality, and presence in the automotive industry, you may be wondering, “Does Costco change oil?” Well, you’re about to find out, and more.
Does Costco do oil changes? No, Costco no longer offers oil change services. However, its stores sell standard motor oil from brands like Kirkland, Mobil, and Castrol. They also provide an extensive line of automotive products.
This article will not only answer the question “Does Costco have oil change service?” but will also discuss customer reviews, oil change alternatives, and even an oil change tutorial!
The Real Score
Putting aside all the confusing search results online, the answer to this question is No. Costco no longer provides oil change services, as verified by Costco’s website and several consumer magazines – this includes Costco in the U.S. and Canada. What is still unclear is what year they stopped oil change services altogether. Warehouses in Markham Road, Canada, continued to provide oil change services until the third quarter of 2017. Some sources state that Canadian branches extended oil change services until 2019, while others confirm that this service has ceased for all branches globally as of 2016.
Currently, the only automotive services the retail giant offers in its warehouses are limited to tire installation and replacement, rotating and balancing tires, and service. The good news is that Costco still provides discounts on auto and truck accessories, including motor oil (yes!), tires, and other auto and truck-related products. Not to mention that members can get two Jiffy Lube $50 gift cards for $74.99 (U.S. only).
Reasons for the Cease
While the general public can only speculate, here are potential reasons that may have pushed Costco’s decision to discontinue its oil change services:
- Its business model circles around selling goods in bulk or wholesale, not on highly personalized services.
- Costco Tire Centers, where oil changes happened in the past, were preceded by their mixed reputations.
- There is limited shop space for Costco warehouses.
- Inconsistencies in overall customer experience in different outlets aggravated customers.
There had been a lot of buzz in forums and Costco communities about these said inconsistencies. For instance, tire swaps in some branches require booking while others entertain customers on a first-come-first-serve basis – resulting in long queues in their stores at 8 AM. Additionally, Costco personnel were reportedly becoming rude to customers.
The wholesale company’s reviews were a jumble of positive and negative customer feedback. Below are some examples:
-They are great. They care for their customers. Their tires may be a little more expensive, but they are genuine. They give you what you pay for. They are well researched. I will use them again.
-Today I brought my SUV for OIL change. The appointment was for 7 AM. I was second at Costco, but the gentleman (Mr. **) took me third, which caused a delay, and I got to work very late because two customers came in for an SUV tire change, which caused a delay in SERVICE.
It seemed to customers that the Costco oil change appointment system was merely used as bait for customers to come to the shop and that the store had no intention of honoring them.
At one point, Consumer Affairs gave Costco Tire Centers 2 out of 5 stars. Although the unsatisfactory rating was predominantly due to customer complaints about scheduling, poor tire quality, poor quality service, and lack of trained staff, part of what formed customer dissatisfaction was Costco members being tended to late for oil change appointments. When asked, previous patrons would rather pay a premium and go to a real service station or dealers for their oil change needs. Others would even refer you to local shops or competition.
Costco Oil Change Prices
$29.99 and $49.99 was the wholesaler’s introductory price for a basic oil change and a full synthetic. Eventually, Costco increased this to $59.99. Contrary to public opinion, these were reasonable prices, as conventional oil change usually costs from $20 to $55. It still depends on where the work got completed, such as an independent shop, an oil change business, or a dealership. The number of oil quarts used for the vehicle is also a factor. Some independent shops and dealerships throw in extra services that could swell oil change prices. An example would be a multi-point inspection, depending on the year and model of the vehicle.
An oil change using synthetic oil costs about $45 to $70 or more, so Costco was still on point in this category. Synthetic oil is made artificially, and it is often used in high-performance engines. Naturally, Costco’s full synthetic oil change services appealed to value-oriented consumers who wanted advanced synthetic performance and engine protection at half the price charged by dealers. Similar to a basic oil change, the cap for full synthetic oil changes was at 5L. The customer pays for anything over that threshold.
The Current Trend
Thanks to online platforms such as YouTube, more and more vehicle owners learn how to change engine oil on their own. Nowadays, DIY newbies and experts skip the local auto-lube joint and stock up on conventional or synthetic oil instead. If you plan to do something similar, below are present deals from Costco that you can take advantage of (pricing updated as of July 18, 2020):
- Mobil Super Synthetic Blend Motor Oil 1-quart, 6-pack – $19.99 (10W-40, 10W-30, 5W-20 and 5W-30 available)
- Mobil Full Synthetic Motor Oil 1-quart, 6-pack – $29.99 (5W-30, 5W-20, 0W-20 available, for high mileage and gasoline-powered vehicles)
- Mobil 1 Full Synthetic Motor Oil 1-quart, 6-pack – $41.99 (5W-30, 5W-20, 0W-40, 0W-20, 10W-30, available in high mileage and advanced fuel economy variants)
- Kirkland Signature Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5-quart, 2-pack – $26.99 (5W-20, 5W-20, 0W-20 available – price is after $3 manufacturer’s savings valid from 7/13/20 through 8/2/20)
- Kirkland Signature Heavy-Duty Diesel 15W-40 Motor Oil 1-gallon, 3-pack – $32.99 (better oxidation control)
- Mobil Delvac 1300 Super Heavy Duty Synthetic Blend Diesel Engine Oil 15W-40 – $26.99 to $55.99 (biodiesel-compatible, available in 1-quart, 6-pack and 1-gallon, 4-pack)
- Castrol EDGE SPT 5W40 for Automobile 3 x 5 L – $93.49 (price is after $16.50 discount valid from 7/11/20 to 8/5/20, brand’s strongest full synthetic oil). You can also opt for its 1-quart, 6-pack for less than $65
- Castrol GTX High Mileage 5W30 Motor Oil 3 x 5 L (view on Amazon) – $72.99 (price is after $12 discount valid from 7/11/20 to 8/5/20)
- Castrol GTX Motor Oil 3 x 5 L – $57.49 (price is after $10.50 discount valid from 7/11/20 to 8/5/20), 5W-30 and 5W-20 variants available)
- Castrol GTX Motor Oil 12 x 1 L – $53.99 (5W-30 and 5W-20 variants available)
- Castrol EDGE SPT for Automobile 6 x 1 – $49.99 (5W-20 and 5W-40 variants available)
- Kirkland Signature Full Synthetic Oil for Automobile, 2-pack – $44.31 (0W-20, 5W-30, 5W30 variants available)
As there are many motor oil variants, it is best to always refer to your owner manual for the specific motor oil to use and recommended maintenance intervals. Watching motor oil reviews is another way of ensuring that you get the most bang for your buck. This video by Project Farm compares SuperTech Synthetic and Kirkland Motor Oil, which Costco currently distributes in place of ceasing its oil change services, and covers talking points about which one is better and safer for your car.
Is Costco’s Oil Safe?
Oil Change 101
Following the lead of do-it-yourself masters and hoarding those motor oil boxes would require you to do an oil change yourself. Don’t worry if your cousin Frank or your uncle Harry isn’t there to help you out. All you need is the checklist below and these videos by 3DMachines and Roman Everett to show you how to get it done:
Oil change essentials:
- Hydraulic Jack
- Jack Stands
- Oil pan
- 15mm socket – Complete set Sunex Tools 1874 1/4″ Drive Master Fractional and Metric Impact Sockets set (view on Amazon)
- Oil filter vicegrips
- Motor oil
- Oil filter
If you feel that you are not up to the challenge of doing an oil change on your own just yet or need a few more oil changes before you can call yourself a DIY pro, there are commercial businesses that you can go to give you top-tier service. I recommend the following for several reasons – customer rating, speed of service, and popularity, among others:
- Active Green + Ross – https://www.activegreenross.com/
- Canadian Tires – https://www.canadiantire.ca/
- Great Canadian Oil Change – https://www.gcocltd.ca/
- Jiffy Lube – https://www.jiffylube.com/
- Lube City Express Oil Change – http://www.lubecity.ca/
- Meineke – https://www.meineke.com/
- Midas – https://www.midas.com/
- Mr. Lube – https://www.mrlube.com/
- Pennzoil – https://www.pennzoil.com/
- Valvoline – https://www.valvoline.com/en-asia/
- Walmart – https://www.walmart.com/
Don’t forget that you can still opt for a dealer near you that charge you premium rates for an equally high-class service or a local oil change shop. Either route you take, make sure you don’t fall for their attempts on upselling so that you don’t run up your bill from $60 to $600:
- What are the warning signs of an oil change? The oil change light is perhaps the surest way you can tell that it’s time for an oil change. Thick and dark oil, ticking engine noise, oil smell within the cabin, and blue exhaust smoke are other signs that you need to watch out.
- How often should I check the oil level? Check your oil every month to spot leakage early on and seek the help of a mechanic when needed. Take precaution when taking out your vehicle’s oil dipstick – let it cool first before wiping it clean to remove oil.
- How often is oil change needed? An oil change is generally required every 3,000 miles; however, this is not a standard rule. Your vehicle’s year, make, and model, driving habits, and type of engine oil that you use dictate when the next change is due. For instance, synthetic oil takes longer before viscosity breakdown and translates to more miles between oil changes.
- When is synthetic oil necessary? Typically, mechanics would recommend synthetic oil if you go on a lot of short trips. However, it is still best to follow your car manual’s instructions to determine the oil requirement for your vehicle. Purchase it only when necessary as it is quite expensive.
- What should I do with the used oil? Put it inside an air-tight container and take it to the nearest recycling facility, certified collection center, or auto stores near you. Businesses that sell or change motor oil accept oil for recycling.
- Who makes Costco full synthetic oil? Costco has several staple brands with its blend of synthetic oil, such as Kirkland, Mobil 1, and Castrol.
Conclusion – Does Costco Do Oil Changes?
Since it started, Costco has revolutionized in-person and online shopping for customers. And it endeavored to do the same with the rest of its services but failed. Whether Costco considered the lack of space for tires and oil changes or did not want to burden itself with getting rid of too much hazardous waste for discontinuing its oil change service, we’ll never really know. While it is unfortunate that the retail giant no longer offers oil change services, this is good news for other participants in the industry. The average consumer who doesn’t want to get shoehorned into Costco spends.