How to tell if they actually changed your car oil?

By Julia Freeman

A recent survey of 2,000 British motorists discovered that one third believe garages have charged them for work that wasn't done or wasn't necessary. Our profession isn't as mistrusted as lawyers and politicians, but it is far too high. How do you decide who to trust and what to believe?

One of the main occasions when drivers question the mechanic's advice is when they are told they need an expensive part. Since most garages make no profit from parts, only from their labour, they are unlikely to lie unless they are reselling salvaged parts. If in doubt, ask to see the box or a receipt for the part.

Knowing who to trust

The best guarantee of honest service is to only use reputable well-equipped garages. All Protyre garages have a high levels of professionalism. Most mechanics are passionate about motoring so very few are dishonest. Mistakes are usually due to lack of training, so again it is wiser to take advice from Protyre's fully qualified fitters.

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Oil and tyre checks

Two common bones of contention are engine oil replacement and tyre change frequency. How often do you need to check or change your oil and tyres?
 
At Protyre garages, oil and tyre checks are completely free. All motorists should check their engine oil and tyres frequently but Protyre are happy to do it for you. In either case, regular checks allow you to monitor their condition and alert you in advance of the likely dates when a change will be needed.

When to change your oil

Most manufacturers used to recommend oil changes every 3000 miles or every 3 months. Because modern motor oil and engines have improved, most owner manuals now suggest about 5000 miles, or twice per year. Always check your manual's recommendations. Some cars can go much further on synthetic oil – 7,000 miles is common, but don't pay for synthetic oil unless your manual recommends it.
 
These figures are only guidelines that assume average motoring conditions. Lots of short journeys degrade engine oil faster, as does hot weather. Even leaving a car sitting in a garage for a long period can degrade the oil, so never rely on the recommendation and always check the oil itself. Fresh engine oil is a transparent brown. Older oil turns black but may still be good, so always take your car usage into account. Thick goo, particles or a milky appearance mean you have a problem.

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Unchanged oil

If you think your mechanic may not have changed your engine oil, check the colour. Ideally, do this before turning the engine because as soon as new oil circulates it may become blackened – especially in diesel engines. You can also check the sump plug: if the mechanic has recently drained the engine oil it will probably be clean.
 
Similarly with tyres, performing regular checks can help you to predict when they will need changing. Premium road tyres, like the Bridgestone Turanza T001, last longer than racing tyres or budget tyres. Your driving style also makes a difference so regular tyre checks are the only way to know when a tyre change is due.

Book with Protyre

We offer a range of free vehicle checks to help give you peace of mind motoring for yourself and your passengers, including battery, tyre, and exhaust checks. With same day appointments available in many instances, you’re bound to find a time and date to suit your needs. Simply click the button below to book online today.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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