1. Make Sure They Specialize In Oil Change - Once upon a time, I got my oil changed at a Muffler Shop that says they also do oil changes. Judging by the length of time I waited, they must have learned it on the job and I was their first customer! I was in their waiting area for over an hour and a half. That is way too long to be waiting for an oil change. In my opinion, the maximum time you should be expected to wait for a standard oil change is 45 minutes.
2. Read the Reviews - Nowadays people are more than happy to share whether or not they had a good or bad experience on Google+ and other review sites. Look up your intended garage and see what others are saying. Also don't be afraid to place your own review for others to benefit!
3. Ask What the Expected Wait Time Will Be - In light of how long I waited, I always inquire the approximate time I will have to wait. If they go much past 15 minutes beyond the expected time, they will definitely get a star off of their online review and I will tell them so.
4. How Busy Is It? If you are the only customer in the shop, that's not a good omen. On the other hand, if the place is overrun the chances of getting their best service isn't the greatest. Case in point: Once I took the car to my local Walmart. It was crazy busy and the next time my husband tried to change the oil, he couldn't get the oil plug off. They had wrenched it on so tightly that the threads were stripped. Not a great service if you can't go back and do it yourself.
5. How convenient is it to where you are? It doesn't make sense to drive over 15 minutes out of your way. I say 5 minutes is a reasonable time to drive and not much more. If it's a few minutes off my route to or from work, from my house or from where I shop and eat, that would be an acceptable distance. Unless, of course, there isn't a place within miles...then make a day-trip of it and do the shopping, appointments and errands as well.
6. How Welcoming Is It? Face it, you want to feel wanted where you are paying good money for a service. Granted, you may not get complimentary herbal tea or an essential-oil sensory journey while you wait, but the lobby should be nice, the personnel should be friendly and answer your questions AND they should have vending machines, bathrooms and a t.v., don't you think?
7. Price - Last but not least, the price should be reasonable. You can call around and find out what the different auto centers charge for an oil change. Sometimes it may be worth paying a little bit more if any of the above considerations are important to you. If not, by all means, get the lowest price possible! Bottom line, you should feel that getting an oil change is worth the time and money you spend for an essential maintenance on your car!
Once you find a place that may be to your liking, let them know that you are planning on being a regular customer and that you would be pleased to recommend them to your friends if you continue to like their service. Make sure they know that you are potentially there for the long-term. If they are wise, they will aim to please!