How Long Does An Oil Change Take At a Dealership


That routine oil change is crucial for keeping your vehicle running smoothly. But with increasingly busy schedules, you may only have a small window to drop off your car at the dealership service department. This leads to the inevitable question – just how long should it take for the dealer to change my oil?

Getting an accurate timeframe for this routine maintenance can help you plan your day accordingly. Understanding what goes on during a basic oil change service provides realistic expectations at the dealership.

Let’s take a closer look under the hood at everything involved in performing your car’s oil change, and why it may take longer than your lunch break allows!

Scheduling the Oil Change Appointment

First comes selecting a day and time to bring your car in for its oil change. Most dealers recommend scheduling appointments up to a week in advance to ensure availability, especially for quick services like oil changes.

Popular service times get booked up quickly, so have some flexibility in your schedule if possible. Same day or walk-in oil changes may involve lengthy waiting depending on shop volume. Scheduling a weekday morning or early afternoon time slot generally has the shortest lead time.

Upon booking your appointment, ask the service advisor for an estimated time frame for the basic oil change service. While it varies by vehicle, common guidance is 1-2 hours. If you need your car back quickly, inform them so steps can be taken to expedite the process.

Scheduling The Oil Change Appointment
Scheduling the Oil Change Appointment

Checking In at the Dealership

Arrive 5-10 minutes before your scheduled time as check-in takes a few minutes. Have your appointment confirmation ready along with your key fob. The service advisor will verify your info, mileage, and service requested. This starts your repair order ticket for the technicians.

Kindly inform the advisor if you are pressed for time or have a hard deadline to pick up your vehicle. While they cannot guarantee a specific return time, knowing the constraints allows them to prioritize as needed.

Staging the Vehicle for Service

From reception, a dealership porter will shuttle your car around to the service area and stage it for the oil change process. This involves positioning it in a service bay or on a lift. Preferably, the car is waiting ready once the technician finishes their previous job.

For simple services like oil changes with no other requested repairs, the vehicle can often be handed off to a lube tech immediately. For longer repairs, some lag time should be expected.

If service capacity is limited, the porter may temporarily park your car in a designated lot. It is queued up as space opens in the shop. Delays up to an hour are possible during peak service hours at smaller dealers. Waiting cuts into overall oil change time.

Staging The Vehicle For Service
Staging the Vehicle for Service

The Oil Change Process

Now the hands-on oil change service begins! The technician assigned to your car follows a standardized process developed by the dealership and vehicle manufacturer. Steps typically include:

  • Positioning the car on the hydraulic lift or service ramps
  • Putting on wheel chocks for safety and setting the parking brake
  • Opening the hood and topping off key fluids (washer, coolant, brake, etc.)
  • Locating the oil drain plug underneath and oil filter cap up top
  • Placing drain pan underneath to catch old oil and unscrewing plug
  • Allowing oil to fully drain, then reinstalling plug and tightening
  • Removing old oil filter and cleaning filter mounting surface
  • Applying fresh oil to new filter gasket and installing replacement filter
  • Adding specific quantity of new oil matched to your car’s needs
  • Running engine to circulate new oil and checking for leaks
  • Resetting oil life monitoring system and safety inspecting undercarriage
  • Checking tire pressure and tread depth if requested

The technician follows their training, dealership protocols, and your automaker’s specifications to ensure a comprehensive oil change service. Quality control checks help prevent any steps being missed. Expect around 30-45 minutes of hands-on oil change time once work begins.

Vehicle Return and Checkout

With the new oil circulated, checklist complete, and no leaks found, your car is ready to return to you! The porter retrieves your vehicle and shuttles it back up front. This helps keep the service bay clear for the next car.

At checkout, the service advisor reviews the completed work and any recommended maintenance items. Be sure to ask for an invoice copy for your records. They can also replace your windshield sticker showing the new oil change date.

Thank the advisor and let them know if you require any clarification on the services performed. Your feedback helps them improve process efficiency. With fresh oil protecting your engine, you are free to hit the road!

Vehicle Return And Checkout
Vehicle Return and Checkout

Why It May Take Longer at The Dealership

While the hands-on oil change itself usually takes less than an hour, there are a few key reasons service time can be longer at some dealerships:

  • Higher vehicle volume – More cars booked for service equals longer wait times between steps. Larger dealers see heavier traffic.
  • Staffing constraints – Too few technicians working causes delays if volume exceeds capacity. Understaffed service departments get backlogged.
  • Multi-point inspections – Many dealers perform full vehicle inspections with oil changes. This comprehensive check adds time.
  • Intermittent issues – Small problems the technician notices may need extra time to diagnosis before recommending repair.
  • Parts delays – Getting specialty parts needed from offsite warehouses can pause progress.

Asking for a time estimate when booking helps set realistic expectations. Allow extra cushion for unforeseen delays, especially on busier days.

Tips for Quicker Oil Change Service

If you need your car back quickly, here are some tips to help expedite the oil change process:

  • Schedule first thing in morning or early afternoon for fewer preceding bookings
  • Inform advisor upfront of any time constraints so they can fast track
  • Ask if an express oil change lane is available for short visits
  • Avoid weekends or Mondays when most customers book appointments
  • Request a weekday over lunch hour if leaving car is feasible

Streamlining your visit to just the basic oil service speeds up the turnaround. But keep in mind added wait times are a tradeoff of using dealer service, where volumes tend to be higher.

Trusting the dealer’s expertise across all your vehicle’s service needs far outweighs any small delays for the convenience. With a new understanding of their oil change process, you can plan accordingly and continue relying on your skilled service team!


How long does a standard oil change take at the dealership?

Most dealerships can complete a basic oil change within 30-45 minutes. The actual oil draining and refill generally takes 15 minutes or less.

Do dealerships offer quick or express oil changes?

Most dealers focus on doing oil changes thoroughly rather than the fastest possible. However, let the service advisor know if you are in a time crunch.

What is included in a dealership oil change?

Draining old oil, installing new filter, refilling oil to factory specifications, resetting service light, inspections, and a test drive.

Should I make an appointment or can I do a walk-in oil change?

Appointments are best to avoid wait times. Dealerships are busiest first thing in the morning and early afternoon.

How much does a dealership oil change cost?

Costs range from $40-$75+ depending on vehicle, oil type (conventional or synthetic), and any extra services. Prefaid maintenance plans can reduce per-visit costs.

How often should I get an oil change at the dealer?

Most automakers recommend oil changes every 5,000-10,000 miles or 6-12 months. Checking your owner’s manual for specific intervals is recommended.

Can I wait in my car or do I have to sit in a waiting room?

Dealerships will accommodate your preferences – just let them know when you drop off your vehicle! Contactless oil changes are common.

Do dealerships offer any perks during an oil change visit?

Many dealers provide free multi-point inspections, vehicle wash/vacuum services, and shuttle rides within a specific radius during an oil change.

Do dealership oil changes void warranties?

No, dealer maintenance using factory approved oil and filters will not void new car warranties and may even help protect coverage.

Should I specifically request synthetic oil or use what they recommend?

For most models, the factory convention oil is suitable, unless you prefer synthetic. Communicate any oil type preferences when scheduling.


Getting your oil changed at the dealership provides peace of mind knowing your vehicle is being serviced by factory-trained technicians using specialized tools and Genuine parts. While independent shops may promise the fastest oil changes,

dealers focus more on doing the job thoroughly with inspection checks versus pure speed. The total time for a dealership oil change can range from 20 minutes for a simple drain and refill to an hour if additional maintenance or repairs are needed.

With an appointment scheduled during less busy service hours, the typical oil change takes 30-45 minutes. Communicating any time constraints is key so the service team can accommodate your schedule.

Proactive maintenance like regular dealer oil changes helps keep your vehicle running smoothly for the long haul and prevents avoidable breakdowns. Knowing what to expect timing-wise for this common service helps you plan your visits accordingly.

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