The Bulkbuy

John Baxter | June 03, 2011

   5 trucks                                                25 / 300 gal.                  3,900                        3,000         2,550

   10 trucks                                               50 / 600 gal.                 7,800                         6,000         5,100




Payback time

To change oil yourself, you’ll need to invest in equipment you may not have. The tools you’ll need are likely to cost at least $300. If running five trucks, you’ll need to spend at least $600 on tools and an oil storage tank to buy in bulk.

BASIC RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR EQUIPMENT. Expect more than two years if you run one truck, but considerably less than a year if you have three or more.

SELLING YOUR USED OIL. If you live near a facility that accepts used oil in good condition for re-refining, you could pick up $2 per gallon for your drain oil. That would effectively increase your savings when buying in bulk to $1,950 with five trucks and $3,900 with 10 when buying in bulk.

BURN YOUR USED OIL. Small fleet owners can use a waste oil heater to heat their shop. Prices for Clean Burn shop heaters start at about $4,000, but if you could burn 400 gallons or more per year, saving over $1,200 in heating oil costs, the payoff could work in your favor, especially if you had been paying for used oil disposal.


Tools needed to perform an oil change

Changing oil is one of the easier truck maintenance jobs. One reason is that the truck does not need to be raised off the ground and supported during an oil change. All that is needed are tools to remove and replace the drain plug and oil filter, something to punch a hole in the filter to drain it, and ways to collect and store the oil.

Craftsman large sockets 1 1⁄2-1 3⁄4-in.: $25-$28, Large ratchet drive: $90, Pipe 1 1⁄2-in. diameter pipe to use as a cheater: $15. If you want to add a torque wrench to torque the drain plug: $250.

 Ed Geiger, leased to FedEx Ground, has a dedicated run from the western Philadelphia suburbs to Woodbridge, N.J. Here are the tools he uses to change oil on his Kenworth T800.


• Socket drive and wrench that fits the drain plug, plus cheater pipe.

Punch set: $40

• Hammer and punch to drain oil filter.

• Wide band oil filter wrench for removal and final tightening of oil filter(s).

• Pan for collecting oil.

Heavy-duty strap wrench for oil filters: $15. Wide, large diameter band type wrenches go for $25 at OTC tools.

• Buckets for saving and transporting oil to waste facility.

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