Hope everyone had a relaxing and fun-filled long weekend! Johnny was in NY for work again last week, so we were just happy to have him back. While he was gone, I woke up to Sally yelling, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddyyyy!” from her crib. Our cat, Persie, tried running away one day… I guess life without Johnny is unbearable. And me? Well, I was counting down the days until his return the second he left. So it was a very enjoyable weekend with all of us back under one roof again.
While Johnny was gone, I decided to take the car to get its oil changed. Usually Johnny equips me with some special coupon before I head off into the sleazy world of oil change-dom. He’s also helped me learn the methods they’ll use to charge me extra, and how to avoid them. But I didn’t have Johnny’s coupons or words of advice last week, and so I headed to Walmart because I figured it would be cheap.
When I dropped the car off, the attendant asked me what kind of oil I wanted, and I replied, “Standard.” Our Corolla is four years old, and standard does the job — especially for Toyotas. He then asked me if I wanted my air filter replaced if it was dirty, one of their go-to scammy questions. I said, “No,” and then headed into Walmart with Sally to pass the time.
About 30 minutes later, my name was called over the intercom, and so I quickly headed back to the oil and lube center with Sally in tow. But when I got there, my car wasn’t ready. Rather, a guy told me that they weren’t able to complete my oil change because my car “requires synthetic oil.” He said, “You requested standard, so we just need your okay before going forward.” I was confused. If they’d called my name over the intercom, it was obviously a real issue, right? “Okay. Sounds good.” I said. They quickly finished up my car, and when it came time to pay, I owed $63 instead of $30. The price had doubled! This gave me pause. “So why exactly is synthetic oil required for my car?” “Oh, Toyota requires it for their cars. It’s not us. Your warranty is void if you don’t use synthetic.” What the? Our warranty only lasted until 30,000 miles, and we’re at almost 60,000 now. I had a screaming, cracker-throwing toddler by this point, and so I just paid and left.
When I told Johnny about it, he was peeved. It’s one thing to offer scammy services, and it’s another thing to call customers over the intercom and tell them something is required when it really isn’t. And Toyota doesn’t require synthetic for their cars… that’s another lie. It recommends it, which is a big difference, at least in my book. Needless to say, I won’t be going back there. The only good thing that came of going to Walmart was finding out that my tires actually have over half their tread left, unlike what a Les Schwab guy told me a month ago when I got my brakes checked: “Your brakes are fine, but your tires? They’re not gonna get any traction in the rain. You need new ones.”
It’s downright insulting how these men lie to women — ones with children in tow, taking advantage of our lack of automotive education. I’d like to see an honest tire and lube place open up. They’d get my business. For now, I think I’ll let Johnny handle the oil changes.