It should come as no surprise that paying to service a luxury vehicle like a Mercedes-Benz is going to cost more than your average Toyota Camry. But when it comes to an oil change, the cost difference can be disproportionately high for such a basic service. Follow along as we break down how much it is for a Mercedes oil change, why it costs so much, and how to save money doing your own Mercedes oil change at home.
How Much Is An Oil Change For A Mercedes At A Dealership?
The honest answer is that the exact cost for a Mercedes oil change will usually depend on your exact year, make, and model and where you go to have it changed. If you have a 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder Mercedes, it will take less oil and usually be less expensive than a big-body car with an 8-cylinder or 12-cylinder. Likewise, some of the more performance-oriented AMG models may have a more complicated oil system. You can expect to pay somewhere between $180-$450 for an oil service at a Mercedes-Benz dealership.
Why Does A Mercedes Oil Change Cost So Much?
There are several reasons why a dealership will always charge more for an oil change. First, any dealership's baseline labor rate will almost always be more expensive than any independent shop or quick-lube service center. Dealership techs are often better trained and more well-paid for one, but the service centers are usually the most profitable part of a new car dealership. Tiered and variable hourly rates can make some of the most basic jobs the most expensive when it comes to a per-hour labor rate or cost.
The other major reason a dealership charges more is that they package together more than just an oil change when you come in for service, and charge accordingly. Typically they'll have an A/B/C option of different vehicle checks and services, all of which will ultimately cost you more money. An oil change alone is not a big moneymaker for any service department, so they have to make the most out of your visit. Plus, a broader vehicle inspection gives them a chance to upsell you on other work. While regular checks are important to keep your Mercedes running its best and keeping it safe and reliable, many of these are just as easy for you to do yourself if you know what to look for.
Because of their engine designs, a lot of Mercedes-Benz vehicles have multiple drain points between oil pans, coolers, and other components. This means more time to make the changes, which means more hours billed to you as a customer. The easiest way to save money on your Mercedes oil change is to do-it-yourself. With a little bit of time and some basic hand tools, you can easily save hundreds compared to paying a dealership to do your oil change.
Lastly, another reason that a Mercedes oil change will often cost a lot is that the engines typically hold a lot of oil. Most 6-cylinder engines take between 6.5 and 8.0 liters of oil, while 8-cylinders take 7.5 to 9.5 liters. At dealership pricing, the cost of oil alone can easily be $85-$145 depending on the oil and how many liters your car takes. Taking advantage of the FCP Euro Lifetime Replacement Guarantee is a great way to significantly reduce what you pay for your oil changes. Purchase one of our Mercedes oil change kits, perform the service, drive the car, and when you're ready for the next change, simply purchase a new kit and send us the used oil and filter back in the new containers, and we will credit you back.
Should You Take Your Mercedes To A Quick-Lube Shop?
While there is an exception to every rule, generally, no, you shouldn't take your Mercedes to a quick-lube shop. While there are undoubtedly some that do excellent work, quick-lube shops work on a sales volume basis. The quicker they can turn and burn the cars coming through their doors, the more money they can make. In fact, because of their low pricing, many may not even allow enough time for the oil to fully drain on your Mercedes before they start buttoning things back up and refilling your oil.
Related to that hustle to get cars out the door, the lube tech handling your oil change may rush to reassemble the underbody, leaving out crucial fasteners. We've all seen the cars on the highway with the belly pan flapping in the wind, and it's no fun to deal with if it happens to you.
Mercedes, like most European makes, also have very specific oil requirements. The average quick-lube shop that deals with every year, make and model may not have the correct oil for your Mercedes. While this may not seem like a big deal, it actually is. You don't want to put any old oil into your engine, whether it's synthetic or not. If your car is still under warranty, you have to use the correct specification oil to maintain that warranty. Additionally, an approved oil has been tested and meets the requirements of a Mercedes-Benz engine. For example, LIQUI MOLY Leichtlauf 5w40 has been paid to be tested by Mercedes and is approved for all engines requiring MB 229.5. This ensures that your engine has the protection it needs in terms of lubrication, protection, service interval, detergency, and avoiding the build-up of sludge and other harmful deposits.
BlueTEC diesel engines or any diesel engine with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) in the exhaust system require a very specific kind of oil, such as the LIQUI MOLY Longlife III 5w30. These low-SAPS (sulfated ash, phosphorus, and sulfur) oils are required in order to prevent clogging of the DPF or other damage to the exhaust emissions components. Low-SAPS oils do tend to be more expensive, and it's highly unlikely that a quick oil-change shop will use a low-SAPS oil for that $19.95 oil change special.
It may seem obvious that engine oil is important, but the engine oil filter is just as important and sometimes overlooked. Your average parts-store filter brand is simply not going to offer the filtration of a German-made Purflux oil filter, the OE-supplier for Mercedes-Benz Genuine filters. You can bet that the chances of a quick-lube shop having Purflux oil filters on hand for your Mercedes are slim to none. Other quality OEM supplier brands include MAHLE, MANN, and Hengst, some of which may also be available for your Mercedes.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if a tech is rushing to finish your oil change, they may over or under-torque the drain plug. If the oil drain plug strips out, it can, at the very least, cause you headaches and more money on a future oil change along with a probable small leak. If the drain plug is significantly loose, you'll have a major oil leak and a mess on your hands. If it falls out completely, it could result in a total loss of engine oil, and in a worst-case scenario, cause engine failure. Either way, you're potentially out more time and money than you saved by going to a quick-lube shop.
If you don't want to pay dealership prices but don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, we would recommend finding a well-reviewed independent Mercedes-Benz specialist in your area. Aside from the usual online review sites and search engines, check out the LIQUI MOLY dealer locator. Using the LIQUI MOLY dealer locator ensures that you'll find a shop that will perform a LIQUI MOLY fill to give your Mercedes the protection it needs.
When Should You Change The Oil In Your Mercedes?
There are a few simple guidelines as to when you should change the oil in your Mercedes. First, we generally don't recommend following the extended drain intervals from Mercedes-Benz. Although the exact mileage can vary, some Mercedes cars have up to a 12,500-mile oil change interval, which is far too long for the driving conditions and fuel quality in the United States. The average American driver does a lot of stop-and-go driving and multiple short trips a day, both of which are hard on engine oil. These shorter trips don't get the oil hot enough to burn off impurities, leading to sludging issues and increased wear on engine surfaces.
The problem with our fuel, compared to Europe, has nothing to do with the gasoline itself but the ethanol that is present in the vast majority of fuel sold in America. Ethanol is water-soluble, which means that it can more easily pick up harmful contaminants. Your engine oil is exposed to these contaminants through the combustion process, and while there is no harm or issue in the short run, the more fuel you burn and the more miles to do, the more likely it is that you're adding to the contaminants in your oil. Because of this, we can't successfully run for extended drain periods without seeing increased engine wear.
When Mercedes and other European manufactures set these extended drain intervals, they also don't necessarily do so with the idea that you will keep your car for hundreds of thousands of miles. As long as you can get through your lease and out of warranty, that's good for them. After all, they'd much rather you buy a brand new car after a few years rather than keep your old one. If you want your Mercedes to last and provide many miles of smooth running, we recommend one of the following two oil change intervals.
If your Mercedes-Benz is either turbocharged or supercharged, we recommend a 5,000-mile oil service interval using a high-quality, approved specification oil. If your Mercedes-Benz is a naturally aspirated gas engine, 7,500 miles is a safe interval. If you have a BlueTEC diesel, the factory recommended 10,000-mile interval is safe provided that you're following all the other service recommendations in terms of fuel filter changes and diesel fuel quality. If you don't do much driving and you don't hit these mileages, you should change your oil and filter every 12 months.
How Do You Know How Much Oil To Use In Your Mercedes?
Running the correct level of engine oil in your Mercedes is extremely important. Either underfilling or overfilling your oil can both lead to problems. Underfilling can result in severe engine damage from oil starvation or sludging, and excessive wear due to high operating temperatures. Overfilling can damage expensive exhaust components like your catalytic converters, throw off your engine air/fuel mixture, and lead to other issues.
Using our vehicle selector to input your Mercedes-Benz year, model, and trim level is the best way to ensure you purchase the correct oil change kit for your car. All of our kits feature high-quality oils and filters, and you can rest assured they will come with the correct amount of oil for maximum fill.
We always recommend filling to approximately 0.5 L under the maximum oil level for your car. After starting the car to circulate the fresh oil and fill the filter, let the car sit for 10 minutes before checking the level and topping off as needed. The length of your drain time, ambient temperature, oil temperature, and the angle of the vehicle can all affect how much oil you'll need to add to reach full capacity.
If your Mercedes-Benz is one of many that doesn't come with a dipstick to check levels, Baum Tools makes a special engine oil dipstick tool that removes all the guesswork setting your oil level.
How Much Can You Save By Doing Your Own Mercedes Oil Change?
Obviously, this will depend on your Mercedes' exact year, model, and engine, but there are substantial cost savings if you do your own oil changes. FCP Euro's oil change kits give you everything you need to change the engine oil in your Mercedes, and typically cost $80-$100 depending on the exact LIQUI MOLY oil change kit. That's a savings of over $100 compared to most dealership prices, possibly even more.
A Mercedes oil change may be expensive at a dealership, but it doesn't have to be. By doing your own oil changes and other basic services on your Mercedes, you can save a lot of money, and take pride in knowing that it was done right by the person who cares the most about your car: you. If you're looking for a little bit of guidance on how to change your oil or other popular Mercedes DIYs, check out the FCP Euro YouTube channel or our blog for more.
If you don't see what you're looking for or have any comments, questions, or suggestions, drop them in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you!
FCP Euro's Event Director by day, writer and contributor by night, and wanna-be race car driver on the weekends. Nathan has been working in the VW and Audi performance aftermarket for nearly two decades, and dabbled with Porsche and BMW. He also used to write under the pen-name of Alex Rogan for magazines like Eurotuner, Performance VW, Total 911, and European Car. He has a Cornflower Blue Rabbit Edition GTI daily driver which is surprisingly still mostly stock, and a Mk5 GTI track car which is mostly not. ••• Instagram: @njbrown55