Oil change that almost cost me tire valve stems

This happened about a month ago. I went to Jiffy Lube for an oil change and the guy at the station convinced me to do tire rotation. I agreed since I usually try to rotate my tires every other oil change or so. Went home not suspecting any trouble. Last week I decided to check tire pressure and realized I can’t reach the stems on any of the tires!

Went to a local shop and had the covers removed. It turned out the Jiffy Lube guys didn’t put them properly in place after rotating the tires. Each of the covers has a set of tabs on the inside that go into the wheel rim when cover is put back properly. When not they press hard against the valve stems and can damage them over time. Replacing stems is time and money and absolutely not something I want to have to deal with.

I have long been trying to get off my addiction to the chain and find an alternative place to service my car, there is just too many bad news (here is a fresh example) but it is not easy. With a shop at every corner and the speed of the service they are very hard to find a replacement.

Where do you bring your car for maintenance? Do you change your oil at home or at a shop? What about the tire rotations? Please share your story in the comments

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11 Responses to “Oil change that almost cost me tire valve stems”

  1. 1 Adam Feb 17th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I change my own oil each time. I used to take our car to a Goodyear service station until I found out they used regular oil rather than the synthetic I requested and paid for.

    By changing my own oil, I know what is going in, what products are being used and I also get to inspect my car while underneath for any potential issues.

    I recently bought five quarts of Valvoline MaxLife and a Bosch oil filter from AutoZone for $19.99. The quarts of oil are typically $4.99 each. My labor is free. :-)

    The downside is trying to make time to get the oil changed. I usually carve out some time on a Sunday afternoon and take an hour to get the oil changed and give the undercarriage a once-over.

  2. 2 Laura Feb 17th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Even though my husband is a body mechanic, much of the time we go to small “quick lube” shops for oil changes. He doesn’t believe in changing oil at home because he (and many of us) can’t properly dispose of the waste oil.

    However, the last time I went to the local “quality” lube shop, all seemed find until the next time (15, 30, 45 days later?) that we popped the hood. Apparently the mechanic had broken the cap from the stem of the oil cap and rather than say something, duct taped it back together and put it back in the car!

    Lesson learned. Next time I go to a lube shop, I’m checking EVERYTHING over before I sign off and pay. It is a bargain but you get what you pay for.

  3. 3 Alex Feb 17th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I would absolutely never go back to Jiffy Lube. They have damaged my car on more than one occasion. The last time I found a few quarts of oil in my antifreeze overflow bin, a day after having my oil changed with them.

    I now mostly use the Honda dealership in my area for the oil changes, they mail out a coupon once every 3 months which brings them fairly close to other prices. Right under $20.

  4. 4 linlu Feb 17th, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I actually go to a local dealer or my favorite mechanic (Dr. Honda). The local Priority dealership chain will also wash and vacuum your car for you – which is well worth it. Anyway, if I recall correctly it costs about the same as Jiffy Lube. You can also wait on it. I usually have to schedule an appointment, but that is not hard to do since they usually can schedule these oil changes just about any time of day.

    Also since I own a Honda, I learned long ago never to trust Jiffy Lube after they stripped my oil pan bolt and I had to take it to my mechanic to get it fixed ( it then started to leak oil). That and another time a Texaco Oil and Lube overfilled it by more than 1/2 a quart. So I had to take to a dealership the next day and have them redo the oil change. I will never do business again with either of those companies.

  5. 5 Wise Finish Feb 17th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I definitely change my own oil…I can’t trust those shops to do anything right.

    Here’s the top list of issues:
    - They don’t really change the oil
    - They don’t let the really nasty, sludgy oil drain out (because they are so fast) – when I let it sit on my driveway and drain it can sit for an hour with the sludge still dripping out
    - They tend to over tighten/strip the oil pan nut.

  6. 6 Alex MN Feb 17th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Jiffy Lube should be wiped out from the face of this planet. I went there for an oil change with Subaru Forester. They drained the transmission fluid and poured extra oil in the engine. I took the car to my dealer next day and transmission was ruined. Jiffy did pay for the trasmission replacement (around $6000) but I will never ever go there again. There’s not enough profanities in the world to describe my feelings towards this evil place.

  7. 7 Paul Feb 17th, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I work for Jiffy Lube and I just read about this experience. I’m happy that you trusted your vehicle to Jiffy Lube and I’m sorry that we didn’t meet your expectations because of improperly reinstalling wheel covers. All of our services are designed to be convenient ways to maintain your vehicle and in this case you were inconvenienced by having to take your vehicle to another facility.

    I’ve already told our Customer Service Department about the experience and if you contact them, they can put you in direct contact with the operators in charge of your service center. We are always happy to hear from our customers and would like the opportunity to address your concerns. You can call Customer Service at 1.800.344.6933 or email

  8. 8 Steve VA Feb 17th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    @Wise Finish: “- They tend to over tighten/strip the oil pan nut.”

    They did that to my Ford Escape. I had to take it somewhere to have another bolt welded to the old one to back it out.

    After that I do the oil change and tire rotation on my own. It takes me longer, but I know its being done right.

  9. 9 acidspit Feb 17th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    I go to a local guy that I’ve been going to for about 5 years or so. I’ve taken all of my cars (I’ve driven 3, maybe 4 in the last 5 years.. all hand-me-downs that needed work). I found him by dumb luck, actually; he was close by the city library.

    He’s probably not the cheapest guy around, but always knows what the problem is and can give me an estimate of how much it will cost and when it’ll be done. I could probably go to a chain place and get my oil change done for cheaper, but I like having him look at it on a regular basis, since he always tells me if I need anything (or tells me I don’t need it quite yet when I ask him about something that I thought needed to be fixed).

  10. 10 Daniel Feb 23rd, 2009 at 6:21 am

    I have an 09 corolla that uses a special cartridge filter — so for now, I have to take it to the Toyota dealer to change the oil — but i discovered in doing this that with a coupon it is almost as cheap as Jiffy Lube, and they vacuum the car and wash the exterior for about $32. It’s a fair deal.

  11. 11 ted Mar 22nd, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I have worked for both jiffy lube and Valvoline instant oil change as a technician. To be completely honest, if you want good service than try not to show up at lunchtime or after work like everyone else..we are way over worked and way under paid..if there is a line of cars..then yes we are rushing on your car. also try and be nice to us..i know we are trying to sell you crap you don’t want..but its our job. :)

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