Express Oil Change

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Express Oil Change logo.png

Express Oil Change is a chain of southeastern car maintenance shops, both franchised and company-owned. Its corporate headquarters is located at 1880 Southpark Drive, just off the intersection of Valleydale Road and U.S. Highway 31, in Hoover. Although they provide a variety of services, including transmission service, tire rotation, brake inspection, and regularly scheduled maintenance, as their name indicates, the business specializes in fast oil changes. The first store opened in 1979 in Birmingham. As of 2018, the company has 114 locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.


In the late 1970s, Jim Lunceford, already deeply involved in the automobile service industry, heard of a business on the west coast that offered quick oil changes to consumers. He decided to perfect the concept, opening the first Express Oil Change in Birmingham in 1979. By 1984 there were four company-owned locations and the first franchise opened. In 1991, Express Oil Change moved their headquarters to 190 West Valley Avenue in Homewood.

In 1987, investor Ricky Brooks was approached by someone wishing to borrow money to open three Express Oil Change franchises. Brooks new nothing about the industry at the time, but was intrigued after researching it. Brooks' client ultimately decided against borrowing the money, so Brooks partnered with Joe Watson to open their own franchises.

By 1995, Brooks and Watson were the largest franchisers, owning 14 centers. Lunceford, now in his 70s and ready to retire, asked the two if they would be interested in buying the business. They agreed, with Brooks selling his investment firm and the deal closing in 1996. At the time, there were approximately 48 stores in the chain, 11 of which were company owned.

In 2005, Carousel Capital, a private investment firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina, purchased the majority stake in Express Oil Change, which had grown to 149 locations. Brooks and Watson were retained as CEO and COO, respectively.

In late 2006, Express Oil Change announced plans to move its corporate headquarters to their current location in Hoover. The new location, designed by the Garrison Barrett Group, took an existing 5,500-square-foot building, renovated it and added a 6,000-square-foot addition. Originally expected to open in May 2007, Maxus Construction Company announced completion of the job in March 2008. In addition, Express Oil Change added a new training facility to the nearby Cahaba Valley Road location, which is used to train both employees and franchisees.

Express Oil Change Tire Engineers.jpg

In 2010 Carousel sold part of its investment in Express Oil Change to Thompson Street Capital Partners of St Louis, Missouri.

The company acquired Birmingham-based Tire Engineers in 2013. By February 2014, the company had co-branded 20 of its corporate stores with the Tire Engineers name with plans to do an additional 40. Franchisees would also be given the opportunity to co-brand their stores, if they wished. No separate franchises of Tire Engineers stores would be offered, but the seven stores acquired by Express Oil would continue to be operated without co-branding.

Father and son Fred and Michael Johnston continue to operate Tire Engineers while Fred's other son, Howie joined Express Oil corporate to assist with tire strategy and inventory control.

In 2017 Carousel sold another stake to Golden Gate Capital of San Francisco, California.

In 2018 Golden Gate merged Express Oil with the newly-acquired Mavis Discount Tire of Millwood, New York to create a combined company spanning 24 states with more than 830 locations.

Birmingham District locations

Jefferson County

Shelby County

St Clair County

Tuscaloosa County


  • "Our Company's History." (n.d.) Express Oil Change. Accessed March 17, 2008 from Franchises.
  • "ASO, The Auto Services Operator Magazine, recognizes the Dynamic Duo of Joe Watson and Ricky Brooks of Express Oil Change." (January 16, 2004). Auto Services Operator Magazine. Accessed March 17, 2008 from Press Releases.
  • "Express Oil Change: A Fan Favorite." (September 1, 2004). National Oil & Lube News. Accessed March 17, 2008 from Press Releases.
  • "Carousel Capital takes stake in Express Oil" [1]. (April 11, 2005). Charlotte Business Journal.
  • "Express Oil Change Moving Headquarters to Hoover, AL." (November 22, 2006). Express Oil Change. Accessed March 17, 2008 from Press Releases.
  • Cooper, Lauren B. "Maxus completes Express Oil Change HQ" [2]. (March 14, 2008). Birmingham Business Journal.
  • Schertz, William. (February 3, 2014). "Express Oil going full tilt with tires." Tire Business.
  • Thornton, William (February 24, 2018) "Express Oil Change merging with Mavis Discount Tire" The Birmingham News

External links