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Oil vendors & pricing?


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Who and where does everybody get oil from, and what are you paying around the country?

 

I'm still somewhat small and don't use tons of oil. I was buying single quarts and 5-quart jugs, and still do for some things. Have started getting 6-gal boxes of Mercon V from Worldpac, and 20l jugs of Motul 5W-40. The rest has typically been able to be filled in with great oil sales that I find at the parts stores. Typically spend ~$1k or more every christmas at Autozone scooping up all of the $2/qt synthetic or syn blends or HM oils on clearance. 

 

Where do you buy? Do you have price limits, while still trying to maintain quality??  For generic synthetics, $3.00/qt is where I try to stay under, but will sometimes grab some of the Napa syn when it's on sale ($3.49/qt lately) if I'm running low on something. $2/qt max for conventional or blend/high mileage.  I stock Motul 5W-40 for most of the euro stuff that we work on, and thats obviously a bit more, and those oil changes are of course priced accordingly. The deals are getting harder to find though, and I have a supplier that stopped by the other day with a flyer for decent case pricing, but requires buying 20 cases. Figured before I dump money on that I'd check and see what others are doing. I also like the boxes, I'd love to get one of the racks to store them all on too, saves a ton of space and so much less waste in plastic.

 

FWIW - I contacted Valvoline about bulk purchased, but never heard back. So they're most likely out....

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Unfortunately I cannot identify with your issues.  We are a much larger facility and I do not have the time to shop for specials at various stores.

I recently fell out of contract with Valvoline and after reading posts by Anderson Auto and his strategy of inexpensive synthetic oil changes to drive car count, we decided to shop around to see if we could effectively bring down the price of a full synthetic oil change to increase value to our customers and then make the move to "5k service intervals" and then building a service package around them (LOF, rotate, inspection). There is a company out of Missouri called Keltners distribution who sells Dexos approved full synthetic oils for less than $2 per quart by the case. I used to order that in various weights by the pallet. I think minimum order is like $600. They sell a lot of other things that might make it doable for a smaller shop and you can mix and match.

Recently we found a local supplier where we can buy dexos approved in bulk at $7.10 per gallon....so we no longer use or offer conventional oils. While we dont advertise cheap full synthetic oil changes we are exclusively using synthetics for only a couple of dollars more than we used to charge for conventional.

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Quick update:

 

I've called around to most of the oil distributors that I can find on Google. Some of them are out of their minds, and a few have decent pricing. There doesn't seem to be as much economical advantage to the e-boxes as I would have imagined vs quart pricing though.

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I feel your pain. It took me years of searching prices before I realized its not about price! I have very dedicated customers and most use Amsoil. We believe in the product and educate our customers on the benefits. If you don't keep your customers informed and offer them fair and superior service you will always be competing with the shop down the road. Customers are looking for service they can trust. If you are selling by price you will always be looking for cheaper items and lets face it, We cannot compete with internet prices. We do not install customer supplied parts, We stopped because so many cheap online parts were costing us more time to install and when the part fails the customer blames the shop. We install using quarts or gallons. Oh by he way I am the shop owner, technician, service writer, bookkeeper, etc so we are a small shop as well.

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4 minutes ago, Jeffrey said:

I feel your pain. It took me years of searching prices before I realized its not about price! I have very dedicated customers and most use Amsoil. We believe in the product and educate our customers on the benefits. If you don't keep your customers informed and offer them fair and superior service you will always be competing with the shop down the road. Customers are looking for service they can trust. If you are selling by price you will always be looking for cheaper items and lets face it, We cannot compete with internet prices. We do not install customer supplied parts, We stopped because so many cheap online parts were costing us more time to install and when the part fails the customer blames the shop. We install using quarts or gallons. Oh by he way I am the shop owner, technician, service writer, bookkeeper, etc so we are a small shop as well.

Jeffrey, I understand what you are saying. What you also have to recognize as a shop owner buying right allows proper pricing and proper profitability. While service is what we are all about and what differentiates us COGS is something that NEEDS to be monitored closely and as the owner you need to make sure you are not overpaying which will cause you to unnecessarily price too high.

If you wish to use Amsoil and tout it's benefits thats fine. If you can buy it for $50 a gallon from Napa or order it shipped in for $30 a gallon would you care? I hope so!

i did not see this as a cheap discussion as much as a COGS discussion. Whether you offer Amsoil or Full Synthetic oil really does not matter. While you have a one man operation and can educate one person at a time others have 10 or 20 man operations that cater to a much larger niche than you do and therefore may not be able to educate on the level you do and/or do not have the faith in the same products you do yet still wish to offer quality products.

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14 minutes ago, Wheelingauto said:

Jeffrey, I understand what you are saying. What you also have to recognize as a shop owner buying right allows proper pricing and proper profitability. While service is what we are all about and what differentiates us COGS is something that NEEDS to be monitored closely and as the owner you need to make sure you are not overpaying which will cause you to unnecessarily price too high.

If you wish to use Amsoil and tout it's benefits thats fine. If you can buy it for $50 a gallon from Napa or order it shipped in for $30 a gallon would you care? I hope so!

i did not see this as a cheap discussion as much as a COGS discussion. Whether you offer Amsoil or Full Synthetic oil really does not matter. While you have a one man operation and can educate one person at a time others have 10 or 20 man operations that cater to a much larger niche than you do and therefore may not be able to educate on the level you do and/or do not have the faith in the same products you do yet still wish to offer quality products.

 

Thanks, yes this is absolutely a COGS discussion. I have no plans of using a no-name, unknown, untested oil in my customers cars. As I said in the initial post we use Motul 5W-40 in our European cars where it's required, and educate our customers on the benefits of top quality oil in those vehicles. I mentioned Mercon V because we can get it for a good price in the 6-gal boxes from Worldpac. We run Redline & Motul gear oils,a nd am investigating other quality options. I run brake fluids from ATE, Motul & Textar. We use quality oils, and only use factory spec'd fluids, none of the universal 1-size fits all (especially the ATF's, such a good way to burn up a torque converter, if not an entire trans). 

 

This isn't a question of quality, this is a question of suppliers, pricing and options. So lets keep this on topic please. Thanks.

Edited by OTPAuto
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I feel that I can contribute a little to this. I was also in search of bulk oil pricing and something with decent quality. There are two other vendors to consider: Mighty which can supply the 6 gallon boxes and I believe the cost boiled down to about $2 a quart and the benefit is a nice display rack and several flavors to satisfy most vehicles. I don"t remember the manufacturer they use but I think it was something decent.

The second vendor (the one that I switched to) is Safety Kleen. I never realized they carried fluids because they are known for oil disposal and parts washer maintenance. One day out of the blue I received a call from a sales lady in Texas and they carry their own line of oil and they are certified and Dexos aproved, bla bla bla. They are ultra competitive and they sell either drums or 5 quart jugs or cases of quarts. She said they will beat my current vendor rates however their standard pricing was already low. 

I attached the email she sent me with the current pricing. I have been using this oil and has worked great so far. They don't seem to sell regular oil, but synthetic blend as their standard. I purchased multiple cases of 5W20, 5W30, and a couple 10w30 so satisfy most of the vehicle that I get. An example is that I buy the 5qt jugs of 5w20 and the cost is about $1.75 per qt. When I get my european cars like Benz, Porsche etc. my local Walmarts have the Mobil1 0w40 which is manufacturer approved for certain european vehicles and I pay normally $24ish for a 5qt jug. 

The attachment also has her number if you wish to contact her. I believe they have a guarantee/warranty on the oil as well. 

oil pricing.docx

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Another thing to consider is ATF. I have used Amilie and Wolf's Head brand universal synthetic ATF and the pricing at my local Cold Air Distributors is pretty good. Its about $46 for a case of 12qts and if you look at their website they are compatible with almost everything except CVT and even then I think they have a fluid for that. I have never had a problem with them whenther its a toyota, honda, chevy or whatever. They work in european transmissions as well. I will try to link the compatibility list. Call them up and ask for their local distributors list and try to get the best pricing. 

BTW I am not endorsing or selling these products, i am simply a one man operation who doesn't want to keep too many variations of fluids taking up space in my two bay facility as well as getting quality stuff for reasonable prices.

http://www.amalie.com/Universal-Synthetic-Automatic-Transmission-Fluids/Universal-Synthetic-Automatic-Transmission-Fluid/products/files//6158B98821D3/AmalieUniSynATF_3.10.14.pdf

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Thanks everybody.  It seems that VP has a new line of oils coming out, and we have a local distributor with VERY competitive pricing that seems very easy to deal with. 6-gal boxes of syn blends for $1.87/qt, high mileage for $2.42/qt and full syn or Dexos syn for ~$2.70/qt. We'll stick to the Motul for the euro cars, and I'll keep looking for vehicle-specific ATF's.  

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19 minutes ago, xrac said:

I have bought antifreeze from Safety Kleen.  I also buy some 5 quart jugs from Walmart to use when people request Mobile 1.  However, when it comes to the Euro vehicles at Walmart I cannot seem to find much of the full synthetic oils formulated for European Vehicles.  I wind up buying that most of the time in Castrol Edge from my parts vendor when they have it on special.  It usually runs from $5-$6 a quart.  Occasionally I find the Mobile 1 European Formulation at that pricing which brings me to this point.  As you all know I was not a technician or a car guy before buying a franchise.  It is only within the last few years that I realized that there was a difference in full synthetic oils and Full Synthetic oils with European Formulation.  How critical is it to use the European Formulation in these cars versus the non European Formulation?  Sorry to say that I was in this business for 15 years before I realized there was a difference. 

 

Euro syn oils are rated to a different standard, and typical US API certifications don't apply. Most SN oils will breakdown in no time in a lot of European engines. The BMW's, for example, are more like old American stuff. They use bucket lifters with direct cam>lifter contact, so they need a higher ZDDP oil than say, a Toyota or a GM thats a full roller valvetrain. It also requires a more shear-stable oil.  A3/B4 oils typically have an HTHS rating of 3.5 or higher. M1 5W-30 will shear to a 20 wt in a matter of miles in a BMW engine that sees redline once in awhile. They also run, for the most part at least, a larger sump and higher oil temps, and see heavy rod bearing loading (sometimes with an inadequate rod bearing - but thats a typical for a whole other discussion.

 

Also of note - not all Euro ratings are the same either.  Most of the manufacturers have their own specs, but most of the Euro rated oils are similar. Beware - Euro gasoline & diesel, like the US, are a completely different spec, except they aren't nearly as cross-compatible as US ones are. Rotella can be ran in damn near anything and be happy. An LL-04 BMW rated diesel oil, otoh, isn't the case.

 

Lubrizol is an additive manufacturer, and has a really nice tool to let you compare most of the oil specs on the market and how different their areas of focus are.

 

https://www.lubrizol.com/Lubricant-and-Fuel-Additives/Engine-Oil-Additives/ACEA/Relative-Performance-Tool

 

 

Edited by OTPAuto
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