Be careful where you get your oil change in Santa Barbara

When you take your vehicle to a car repair shop in Santa Barbara for maintenance, you expect to get what you pay for. But a KXAN undercover investigation in Austin, Texas found that’s not always the case at some auto repair shops.

Automotive experts say full synthetic oil is better for your car than much cheaper conventional motor oils. That’s why it can cost up to and more than $100 to get an oil change with a high quality, full synthetic oil. But unless you’re an expert, it’s impossible to tell the difference between conventional motor oil and synthetic motor oil just by looking. That’s why one mechanic says his former employer was taking advantage of customers by not giving them the high quality oil they think they’re buying.

“It’s a rip-off,” said Terry Withrow, who says he worked at the True Balance Express in Round Rock, Texas for four months. “They’re doing their oil changes, but they’re telling you its Castrol or its Mobil 1 and it’s not. It’s cheap oil,” Withrow explained. “It’s for money. All for profit,” he continued.

“They’re telling them it’s Dom Perignon and they’re handing them a Miller Lite with a Dom Perignon sticker on it,” claimed Withrow. “They’re refilling a full synthetic jug with regular oil,” he continued.

So KXAN’s investigative producer went undercover to get his car’s oil changed at the True Balance location in Round Rock.

“I wanna get the best you got,” their producer told a True Balance employee named Jeff. “Synthetics start off at $89.99. You want to get that?” Jeff asked. “Yeah,” our producer replied.

After changing the oil, Jeff told their producer he put Mobile 1 5w30 synthetic oil in his car and charged $95.19.

They then pulled a sample of the oil from the Round Rock True Balance shop out of their producer’s engine and sent it to Alcor Petrolab where technicians can run tests to determine whether or not the type of oil sampled is what the shop claimed on the sales invoice.

Failing our tests

Alcor Petrolab has been conducting tests on petroleum products for businesses in the industry since 1968.  The lab’s analysis showed the sample of oil from the Round Rock shop came no where close to matching the chemical make-up of Mobil 1 Full Synthetic.

They went back to True Balance shop in Round Rock a second time.  They paid for Mobil 1 full synthetic but lab tests again show they got a cheaper, lower quality oil.

At Richard’s Accurate, we have a 100% transparency policy when it comes to giving your car an oil change in Santa Barbara. Have a question about the differences between synthetic and conventional oil or want to book an appointment? Feel free to contact us or schedule an appointment!

Article originally sourced from KXAN