$49 to $130 and an average of $80
The average cost of a synthetic oil change in Canada is $101.49, with most people paying between $66 to $137.
The average cost of a conventional oil change in Canada is $58, with most people paying between $42 to $73.
The cost primarily consists of $25 to $40 for the synthetic oil (based on 5L of oil) and $10 to $17 for the filter, plus the shop’s markup and hourly rate for labour. The cost varies primarily based on brands used, additives included in the oil, and local cost of living and therefore labour rate.
If you buy your own full synthetic filter, oil and tools and do the change yourself, it will cost you $35 to $60 – saving up to $100 per change.
This article is based on over 150 prices collected from websites, customer experiences, and calls to local service providers in September 2022. Primarily from across Ontario, but also Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan.
Do the numbers not look accurate for your area? Submit a local business’ pricing here and we’ll add it to this page!
Oil change prices by service provider
The following are the average prices we collected for the conventional, synthetic blend and synthetic oil changes at each provider:
|Valvoline Express Care||$59.99|
|Mobile 1 Lube Express||$51.99||$70.99||$94.99|
|Castrol Premium Lube Express||$59.99||$79.99||$99.99|
|Great Canadian Oil Change||$63.19||$86.99||$108.13|
And here is how much each type of provider costs on average, from cheapest to most expensive:
Mobile oil change services are the most expensive – likely due to the time and expenses incurred for the service to come to you, rather than the other way around.
Dealerships were the next most expensive on average – likely due to the added “trust” and “assurance” they provide their customers.
However, a dealership isn’t necessarily a “stealership”. Even when ignoring luxury brands, they had the largest variance between the lower and higher end of prices. Some offered synthetic changes for under $70, while others charged almost twice that at $130.
Drive thru (or “quick lube”) oil change services were not far behind – charging a premium for the convenience of not having to make an appointment in advance and getting you in and out in 10 to 20 minutes.
The cheapest oil change providers on average were from repair chains such as Midas, Meineke and Tirecraft when they have coupons available.
Costco charges $59.99 for a full synthetic oil change at locations primarily in the GTA and Quebec, including, but not limited to, stores in Scarborough, Richmond Hill, Oshawa, Newmarket, Etobicoke, but also in Peterborough, Guelph and Kingston, as well as a number of locations in Quebec.
Unfortunately, not every Costco store offers motor oil changes, so check the services listed at your local warehouse and sign up via CostcoTireAppointments.ca. You can also buy motor oil both in-store and online.
Midas often advertises a coupon for a $39.99 semi synthetic or $59.99 full synthetic change ($10 off the normal price of $69.99, $10 of which is labour) in Belleville, ON. However, the final cost and invoice are only presented to the customer after payment is made. In my case, there was an additional line item “Consumable Products” which I figured must be a mistake as my car’s oil capacity is 4L, less than the coupon’s limit of 5L.
On the phone with the shop, they explained that the $6.18 was for the “parts cleaner” or degreaser they used to clean around the oil filter and drain pan as needed. This seems to fit one of the 3 reasons for additional fees stated in the fine print of the coupon:
- Charge for additional parts and services if needed.
- Taxes and/or disposal fees extra, where permitted.
- Shop fees additional, see store for details and applicability
Great Canadian Oil Change
GCOC charges $70 for a conventional and $102 for a synthetic oil change for a Hyundai Elantra in Trenton, Ontario.
Take 5 starts at $39.99 for a conventional and $69.99 for a synthetic oil change.
Mr. Lube charges $66 for a conventional and $118 for a synthetic oil change for a Hyundai Elantra in Kingston, Ontario.
Canadian Tire charges $62 for a conventional and $90 for a synthetic oil change for a Hyundai Elantra in Belleville, Ontario.
Jiffy Lube charges $59.99 for a conventional and $109.99 for a synthetic oil change for a Hyundai Elantra in Belleville, Ontario.
Walmart shut down 106 Tire, Lube and Express car repair shops across Canada in June 2020.
Cost by car type
SUVs and trucks cost around 50% more on average than passenger cars and they require several litres of additional oil. European cars cost an average of 60% more than regular cars as they require oil that meets additional specifications laid out by their manufacturers.
Example oil change cost breakdown
The price of oil depends on the type and ranges from:
|Oil type||Price per litre|
|Conventional||$4.25 to $5|
|Synthetic blend||$6 to $8|
|Synthetic||$5 to $8|
|High mileage – Conventional||$6.50 to $9|
|High mileage – Synthetic||$7 to $13|
|European||$7 to $13|
|Diesel – Conventional||$6 to $11|
|Diesel – Synthetic||$12.50 to $17|
The lower end of each range is the average price when on sale.
The price of oil depends on the type and ranges from:
|Conventional||$5 to $11|
|Synthetic blend||$8 to $14|
|Synthetic||$11 to $17|
Top brands of engine oil filters include:
- Mahle (VW/Audi OEM)
- Denso (Toyota OEM)
- OEM (often Denso or Mahle) filters from RockAuto in bulk
- FRAM Ultra Synthetic – Canadian Tire, Amazon, Walmart, Partsource
- Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter – Canadian Tire, Amazon, Partsource
- Amsoil oil filter
- OEM (often Denso or Mahle) filters from RockAuto in bulk
- MotoMaster Oil Filter
- FRAM Extra Guard – Canadian Tire, Amazon, Walmart, Partsource
Environmental Handling Fee
An environmental handling fee (EHF) is paid by the “first seller” (typically the wholesaler) to help fund the cost of the recycling programs for used oil and filters. It is often passed down from the retailer to the consumer, and can either be incorporated into the total cost of the service, or included as a separate line item on the invoice.
Here are the EHFs charged by province:
|Province||Oil per litre||Per litre of container||Filter|
|Alberta||$0.05||$0.05||$0.50 per filter (<8″ long), $1 (>8″ long)|
|British Columbia||$0.06||$0.10 to $0.12 per litre of metal filter or plastic container.||$0.55 per filter (<8″ long), $1.25 (>8″ long)|
|Manitoba||$0.06||$0.12||$0.50 per filter (<8″ long), $1.00 (>8″ long)|
|New Brunswick||$0.03||$0.12||$0.50 per filter (<8″ long), $1.00 (>8″ long)|
|Newfoundland*||$0.07||$0.20||$0.60 per filter (<8″ long), $1.20 (>8″ long)|
|Nova Scotia||$0.03||$0.12||$0.40 per filter (<8″ long), $0.90 (>8″ long)|
|Ontario*||No set fee, but it must reflect the actual cost of recycling. If it seems too high, contact the Compliance and Registry Team at firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Prince Edward Island||$0.03||$0.12||$0.50 per filter (<8″ long), $1.00 (>8″ long)|
|Quebec||$0.05||$0.15||$0.30 per filter (<8″), $0.80 per filter (>8″)|
|Saskatchewan||$0.05||$0.10||$0.50 per filter (<8″ long), $1.00 (>8″ long)|
*Newfoundland: Fees must be included in the product price.
Ontario: As of October 1, 2021, following the closing of the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program operated by Stewardship Ontario and ended September 30, 2021, Hazardous and Special Products (HSP) producers are individually accountable and financially responsible for requirements set out under the HSP Regulation.
Essentially, producers will pay for the cost of recycling certain products to incentivize them to design products that lasts longer, and are easier to reuse or recycle. They will pass this cost on to consumers, but it will be built into their products’ pricing, instead of a separate line item.
Consumable Products fee: Midas explained that it was for the “parts cleaner” or degreaser they used to clean around the oil filter and drain pan as needed.
Oil changes take time and your time is limited and worth something. Saving the 45+ minutes it would take to do it yourself may be worth paying someone else to do it for you at an hourly rate of $80 to $130.
Factors that affect the cost of an oil change
Type and brand of oil
Top brands of engine oil include:
- Amsoil is a popular provider of premium engine oils
- Mobil 1
- Castrol Edge
Mineral-based oil is made from refined crude petroleum sourced from the ground (aka “dinosaur” oil). The refining process removes unwanted contaminants and hydrocarbons.
A full synthetic oil change costs 77% more on average than conventional.
Full synthetic oil costs 17.6% more per litre than conventional ($5 vs $4.25) when comparing the cheapest store branded oils when they are both on sale (which they frequently are).
A mix of conventional and synthetic oils at a price point and performance level in between the two. Blends seem to be falling out of popularity as their availability is limited compared to full synthetic or conventional.
There do not appear to be any regulations in Canada governing the proportion of synthetic oil that must be included in order to be labelled a synthetic blend. Unless they specify what percentage is synthetic, it could theoretically be 2% or 50% and still be called a blend.
You can produce a synthetic blend yourself and get similar mid-range performance and price simply by mixing a conventional oil and synthetic oil as long as they are the same viscosity grade (eg. 5W-30).
Has additional anti-wear additives and detergents to help reduce engine wear caused by metal to metal contact in older engines and conditioners to treat seals and prevent leaks.
Formulated to meet or exceed the additional requirements of European manufacturer specifications, for example: BMW’s Longlife-01, Mercedes-Benz MB-Approval 229.3, MB-Approval 229.5, Porsche A40, VW/Audi 502 00/505 00, Fiat 9.55535-N2, 9.55535-Z2 vehicles for gas and diesel engines:
Motorcycles and ATVs
Oil that is collected from auto repair shops, quick lubes and dealerships by a company such as Safety-Kleen or Canadian company Klondike and re-refined by removing water, separation into light/middle/heavyweight oils, distillation to remove unwanted materials and treated with hydrogen to remove impurities such as heavy metals, sulfur and chlorine.
How much oil do you need?
The average passenger car’s engine oil capacity is around 5L, with an additional 1 to 2 litres for most midsize trucks and SUVs:
|Vehicle||Oil type||Oil capacity|
|2016 Hyundai Elantra||5W-20||4L|
|2019 Ford F-150 2.7L ECOBOOST||5W-30||5.7L|
|2020 Honda Civic||0W-20||3.5L, 4.2L|
|2021 Kia Sportage Theta II 2.4 L GDI||5W-20||4.8L|
Oil change vs service
Is it an “oil change” or “oil service”? An oil service includes additional bells and whistles on top of replacing the oil and filter.
For example, a Lexus dealership in Calgary, Alberta offers a $139.95 oil service that comes with the following perks:
- Manicure or pedicure in our Royal Lounge (savings of approx. $75 – $95)
- Complimentary exterior & interior clean (savings of approx. $45 – $95)
- Access to a Lexus loaner vehicle while you wait (savings of approx. $75)
- Use of our city-wide valet service (savings of approx. $65 in manpower, gas, etc.)
More common “included” services are:
- Tire rotation
- Car inspection
- Brake inspection
- Tire pressure check and adjustment
- Free car wash
- Road test vehicle
- Water, coffee or pastries while you wait
Which oil should I use?
Check your owner’s manual to confirm the grade and classification recommended by the manufacturer.
The oil used must match the SAE viscosity grade required by your car and meet or exceed the recommended API service classification.
The API Certification Mark or “Starburst” indicates it meets the requirements of ILSAC GF-6A engine protection standard and fuel economy requirements of the International Lubricant Specification Advisory Committee (ILSAC).
Oil standards are constantly evolving and improving to meet industry demands. Look for the service classification – typically the API service symbol indicating that it meets or exceeds the requirements for your vehicle.
- API (starts with “S” for gasoline engines, “C” for diesel)
- SN (2011)
- SN Plus (2018)
- GF-5 (2011)
- GF-6 (2020)
Both API and ILSAC are backward compatible, meaning you can use an oil that meets the SN Plus standard in a vehicle made before 2018 that recommends the use of SN standard oil in the owner’s manual.
Dexos is another specification developed and first released by GM in 2010 for their vehicles that puts oil through a series of tests including fuel economy, protection against friction in cold weather and resistance of sludge buildup. Here are lists of certified oils:
- dexos1 Gen 2 (2015)
- dexos1 Gen 3 fluids exceed the performance of dexos1 Gen2 fluids and are backward compatible.
- dexos2 also covers diesel engines
- dexos D covers light diesel engines (eg. 0W-20)
- dexos R covers performance cars (eg. 0W-40)
2. SAE Viscosity Grade
An engine oil’s grade is a measure of its viscosity. One of the most common grades is 5W-30.
The first number (0, 5, 10, 15, 25) before the ‘W’ – which stands for Winter – indicates how easily an oil pours when it’s cold such as at engine start-up or low temperatures during winter.
The lower the number, the easier it pours. 0 pours easier than a 5, a 5 pours easier than a 10, a 10 pours easier than a 15. The colder the climate, the lower the first number should be in order to ensure the oil can move around the engine quicker and keep parts lubricated at start-up.
The second number (20, 30, 40) indicates how easily it flows when it’s hot such as at peak operating temperatures (especially those during summer). It also indicates how much pounding force it can take before it spreads out completely and how hot the temperature can get before the oil thins out beyond its working viscosity.
The lower the number, the easier it pours. 20 pours easier than a 30, which pours easier than a 40.
Check your car’s owners manual to confirm what grade of oil the manufacturer recommends.
Group number (I to V)
The American Petroleum Institute (API) classifies oils based on their saturation as well as paraffin and sulfur content in 5 groups, from least refined (Group I) to most refined (Group V).
In general, the higher the group number, the better the performance of the oil, however, additives can make a Group III outperform a Group IV, so you should take the entire formulation into account.
Group I and II are conventional oils.
Group III, IV and V are considered synthetic, even though Group III is partially derived from petroleum. Group IV (polyalphaolefins) and V (esters, polyglycols and silicone) are chemically engineered synthesized base oils.
How to save money on oil change?
Bring your own oil and filter
Most oil change service providers, including many quick lubes and independent shops will allow you to bring your own engine oil and/or filter as they don’t make as much on the materials (oil and filter) and will be charging you for the labour of replacing them.
Depending on the shop’s hourly rate, this can reduce the cost to something in the range of $30 to $60 for a typical passenger car.
Buy the cheapest SAE certified oil that matches your car’s viscosity grade requirements
Costco’s Kirkland Signature, Walmart’s Super Tech and Amazon’s AmazonBasics (US only) are all store brands that sell oil produced by large manufacturers of private label oil such as Warren Distribution, Inc., a US company founded in 1922 and one of the largest lubricant manufacturers in North America that meet all of the same testing requirements as name brand oil.
They may be designed to provide specific traits such as withstanding high temperature for race cars, sealing and cleaning for older high mileage engines, etc.
If you drive around like Max Verstappen and/or own a valuable luxury brand vehicle, you might want to consider premium oils.
Buy oil and filters in bulk or on sale
Most Canadians buy their engine oil when its on sale from:
- Canadian Tire
- Costco for their store brand full synthetic
- Amazon for specific brands, or less common applications and grades such as Liqui Moly for European and diesel vehicles and for motorcycles and ATVs
There’s a different brand on sale literally every week and when it’s on sale. on a rotating weekly basis for 40% to 45% off.
Do it yourself
Legendary car repair YouTuber Chrisfix has an excellent and easy to follow video on how to change your oil:
- Impact wrench, torque wrench, breaker bar or lug wrench or simply a tire change kit
- Impact sockets, torque socket set
- Car ramps
- Oil drain pan
- Jack stands
- Oil funnel
- Filter pliers
- Oil filter – Partsource, Canadian Tire, AutoZone, Amazon
- Oil – Canadian Tire, Amazon, Walmart, Partsource
- Paper towels
Say no to upsells
In the process of changing your oil, a technician may point out that other parts of your car need to be replaced such as fluids or air filters.
Aside from Costco, the cheaper the oil change, the more likely they will push additional products and services. Their low price is what gets you in the door, which then gives them the opportunity to convince you to buy higher markup items – where they make most of their profit.
Be wary – staff may tell you whatever it takes to make the sale, including that the oil or other fluid (transmission, power steering, brake) is the wrong colour or smells burnt.
A shop might charge you $40 to replace your cabin air filter, when a FRAM cabin air filter is around $15 on Amazon or Walmart and swapping them out is very easy to do. Sometimes all your engine or cabin air filters need is a good shake, brushing or blasting with compressed air to remove the leaves and twigs.
Consult your car’s recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual to learn exactly what services you need and at how many kilometres they should be done. That way you’ll know when you’re being upsold.
A 2013 hidden camera investigation by CBC Marketplace of Economy Lube in Guelph – a quick oil change service – found that staff had no formal training as automotive technicians, and were instructed to upsell customers as many products and services as possible – whether or not the customer needed it and given commissions on each sale. For example, $2 on a $59 cooler flush.
The investigation also found that add-on services they were charged for, including a brake flush, were not even performed by the shop.
Still in operation today, they somehow continue to offer basic, warranty approved oil changes for $19.99 – likely a loss leader for their aggressive upsells and potentially the continuation of the approach of fraudulently “providing” these services as illustrated by CBC.
How long does an oil change take?
A drive thru oil change at a quick lube shop takes 10 to 15 minutes. At a repair shop or dealership where they have to hoist your car, it will typically take 20 to 40 minutes.
If you do it yourself and it’s your first time, it will likely take over an hour, but once you’re experienced it takes about 1 hour when done at a relaxed pace.
Synthetic vs conventional oil
When it’s brand new, a 5W-30 synthetic oil acts exactly like a 5W-30 conventional motor oil.
However, all lubricants break down over time during normal use, primarily due to oxidation, the chemical reaction brought about by the combination of air (oxygen) and hydrocarbons in the oil. Through additional chemical reactions,
- Carboxylic acids are formed, increasing acidity and encouraging corrosion,
- Sludge and deposits form, and
- Viscosity increases
Synthetic oils can last 1.5 to 2.5 times longer in kilometres than conventional. Synthetic oil is chemically developed to be more pure, meaning the molecules are all similar size and shape, giving it a more uniform consistency.
It can better withstand the factors that accelerate the oxidation process, including:
- Heat – thermal stability to operate at high temperatures without burning or evaporating.
- Cold – higher viscosity index (thickness changes less) keeps it thin enough to flow properly more quickly. On short trips, conventional oil may never get warm enough to burn off moisture and impurities.
- Contaminants – fewer impurities to serve as catalysts
It performed an average of 47% better than conventional oils in a variety of industry-standard tests, according to a 2017 study by AAA (the US version of CAA).
Overall, synthetic oil change services are slightly cheaper and DIY synthetic changes are considerably cheaper compared to their respective conventional versions because they typically last about twice as many kilometres, not to mention more convenient because you don’t have to get it changed as often.
However, if you don’t drive much, putting less than 5,000 to 10,000 km on your car per year, using synthetic would be excessive as it would need to be changed after 6 months to 1 year anyway.
Why is an oil change so important?
Oil breaks down over time during normal use and becomes darker, thicker and more contaminated – making it less effective.
Changing it is the single most important piece of maintenance that you can do to ensure it lasts a long time. It is also required to keep your warranty coverage valid.
It is used in a variety of ways in a car’s engine, including:
- Lubrication of moving parts such as pistons and valves to reduce friction and prevent wear and tear caused by metal on metal contact
- Cooling the engine by carrying heat away from the hottest components and releasing it at the oil sump.
- Cleaning your engine by collecting sludge (dispersants) and varnish (detergents)
How often does oil need to be changed?
Modern vehicles and lubricants typically need their oil changed every 7,000 to 10,000 km, depending on their year, model and driving conditions.
- Ford Canada – 8,000 to 16,000 km
- Toyota Canada – 8,000 km or 6 months
Most newer vehicles have oil life monitoring systems that will notify you when an oil change is needed. They were initially time and mileage based, but more advanced systems analyse the vehicle’s operating conditions to determine oil quality.
Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval.
Your driving habits and location will make a difference on how quickly the oil breaks down and therefore how frequently a change is needed.
For example, my 2016 Hyundai Elantra maintenance schedule recommends changing the oil every 12,000 km (7,500 miles) or 6 months, or every 6,000 km (3,750 miles) or 6 months under severe usage conditions, which include driving:
- Frequent, short distances of less than 8 km in normal temperature or less than 16 km in freezing temperature
- Extensive engine idling or low speed driving for long distances
- On rough, dusty, muddy, unpaved, graveled or salt-spread roads
- In areas using salt or other corrosive materials or in very cold weather
- In sandy areas
- In heavy traffic area over 90°F (32°C)
- On uphill, downhill, or mountain road
- Towing a trailer, or using a camper, or roof rack
- As a patrol car, taxi, other commercial use or vehicle towing
- Over 106 mph (170 km/h)
- Frequently driving in stop-and-go conditions
As you may have noticed, several of these apply to many Canadians’ everyday driving conditions including short distances, slower speeds, freezing temperatures, salted or dusty roads and stop and go traffic – especially in the winter months.
To get a sense of whether or not a change is needed, check the oil level on the dipstick. Clean oil is amber in colour and slightly translucent, so If you cannot see the dipstick through the oil, it’s time for a change.
How much did you pay for an oil change?
We’re interested to know – how much did your last oil change cost you? Where did you get it done? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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- Bob is the Oil Guy
- Machinery Lubrication
- Petroleum Quality Institute of America’s independent oil tests