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Becoming Un-Conventional

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Aug. 21, 2020—The quick lube industry is trending away from the use of conventional oils and more toward synthetic blends and full synthetics.

In the 2020 NOLN Operator Survey, 60 percent of operators said that their bulk oil is a blend. That's the highest for a non-conventional oil in the history of the survey. 

A mix of new OE engine designs and recommendations, customer expectations and improved oil technology have all contributed to this trend. One operator who's seen it happen is Robert Repka, who runs Kwik Kar Lube and Tune of Crandall, Texas. He's been in the business for 21 years.

He says that OE recommendations for blends and full synthetics among his customers' vehicles is the main reason. What started as just boxes of blends grew into a need to fill his bulk tanks with it.

“As the other oils started coming in like the 0W-20s, we were using them in eco-boxes or quarts," he says. "As we started using more gallons of that than we were using in conventional, we pumped  the conventional until it was almost out and brought the used oil people in, and they sucked the tanks dry and put the new 0W-20 in that.”

Repka has a lot of tank space at his shop to accommodate a lot of different grades, but the trend is clear. The old mainstay, 10W-30, is now ordered in boxes.

“And we’re steadily looking at the full synthetic and everything else,” he says.

Look for a full report featuring Repka and other operators who are having success turning to synthetics and synthetic blends coming in a later issue of NOLN.

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