Developer: Tap Savvy
Price: free Download on the App Store
If you follow the every three months/3,000 miles rule and have trouble finding a convenient place to get your oil changed, then let your iPhone find one for you with the Oil Change app. Oil Change is a location-based app that pin points nearby oil change franchises on the map and is also designed to sort the facilities by distance or price so you can comparison shop the service. Oil Change could be a rather convenient application to run if you are in unfamiliar territory and in desperate need of an oil change, but unless you don’t use a regular dealer or location for routine car maintenance, its practicality goes unnoticed.
Oil Change is a decent idea, as are so many iPhone developments, but execution seems to fall a little flat in many cases. So is the case with Oil Change. Assuming there is no universally accessible database of oil change locations, one obviously had to be created for this use. It would be understandable why rural locations may have a shortage of listings, but a heavily populated area should return a fair number of results. Unfortunately when I searched for an oil change, I was given two options – each with only two (rather inconvenient) locations.
The list that populated for my area was very brief indeed and didn’t even include some of the closer locations of the franchises that were included. There are literally four different places where I could get my oil changed within a two mile radius, but for some reason, they aren’t on the list. It could be a matter of store participation, but it’s not a helpful comparison tool if the available options are so limited. It would be easy to overlook the limited number of returns if the prices actually populated because at least you would have a basis of comparison, but this feature failed to work. Certain areas appear to return more information, including prices, but overall it's ineffective for all users.
Essentially, Oil Change populates a few choices that are in the same geographic region as you and also lets you search other locations, but the only useful information to be retrieved is a phone number unless you're searching a specific location and the information is actually made available. Even though Oil Change is a free app, it would be just as convenient to Google nearby stores, thus the app is hardly saving you any time or money. Given that Oil Change is fairly new, maybe it will take time for more stores to participate (no idea if they have to pay to be listed or not) but without a more comprehensive list and no way to determine price in many areas, you’re going to have to call around to comparison shop whether you have the app or not.