Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers Franchising

Our History

In the post-war 1940’s, Jim Lunceford, a native of Berry, AL, and a decorated veteran of World War II, went to work for Standard Oil, the preeminent supplier of oil-based products at the time. Anxious to make a better life for his family, he left Standard in 1948 and started his own business, Jim & Jim’s Service Station, in Homewood, AL, an emerging suburb of Birmingham, AL. Within a year, his partner sold out, but Lunceford kept the name Jim & Jim’s. Jim’s business grew in the years that followed as Birmingham prospered due to the iron ore industry and because automobile ownership flourished. From a single gas station to an entire block of comprehensive automobile service facilities, Jim sought better ways to help the growing number of automobile owners care for their vehicles.

In the late 1970’s, Jim heard of a new West Coast business that offered quick oil changes to busy motorists – an idea he saw as the most innovative step the automotive service industry had ever taken. On a trip to Memphis, TN, Jim saw a fast lube and decided that because of his automotive service experience, he would be able to do it better.

So, in 1979, he founded Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers. Jim opened his first location in Hoover, AL, a burgeoning suburb just south of Birmingham. His second location was opened in Homewood. By 1985, Jim was operating five locations and had ventured into the world of franchising as the first franchise location was opened in Huntsville, AL, in 1983. Less than two decades later, Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers dominated Alabama with more than 50 locations.

By 1996, Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers franchisees Ricky Brooks and Joe Watson were operating fourteen locations. As the chain’s largest franchisees, their operational proficiency, profitability and sales growth were used as the benchmark for corporate and franchised stores alike.

Brooks and Watson saw great promise in the future of Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers and in 1996, purchased the franchise corporation from Jim Lunceford. In 1998, Brooks and Watson purchased a popular, 28-store Atlanta, GA-based automotive service chain, the Tune-Up Clinic. The stores were rebranded Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers and the brand’s growth accelerated into other new markets in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma and the Carolinas. Today, Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers operates over 250 locations providing over 2 million oil changes a year across the Southern U.S. with plans for continued expansion.