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Where to Buy Motor Oil?

The usual places to purchase motor oil are typically auto parts stores, big box stores, and now the ubiquitous online marketplace. I always do my own oil changes and I am try to find a balance between economy and convenience. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of buying oil from each of these places:

Big Box Store
Pros:
quick and easy to get if you need it right away, occasionally on clearance
Cons: typically doesn’t go on sale, lower inventory turnover so oil might be older

Local Auto Parts Store
Pros: quick and easy to get if you need it right away, usually offered on sale, good selection
Cons: prices not always the cheapest, sale price is sometimes offered as a bundle with an oil filter (not great if you don’t want/need the oil filter)

Online
Pros: usually the cheapest option, greatest selection
Cons: wait time for handling and shipping can be long (unless ordering with certain vendors, which can still be 2 days)

How to Get the Best Deals on Motor Oil

Buying motor oil online is as easy as ever, and it’s also the best place to score a great deal on it as well. If you need oil for your oil change and you need it now, then going to your local in-person store will suffice. But if you want to get the best deal, you’ll need to order it during specific times throughout the year—even if you don’t need it. The reason for this is that there are deals that pop-up online from time-to-time that will allow you to purchase oil at more than half-off the normal retail price.

If you want to save some money and for some reason would rather purchase motor oil in-person, try to do it when the oil is on sale. These stores make circulars available online for viewing so do check these in advance to save yourself a trip to the store. I’m not a fan of the package deals they offer that includes a pre-determined oil filter for your application. Most of the time, I use an OEM oil filter for my car and would rather not be pressured to use an aftermarket one that is part of their package deal. If you can find a sale on only motor oil, or if you can find a package deal that consists of an oil filter that you already intend to use, then by all means go for it. However, know that the store’s sale price will still be higher than if you take advantage of online promotions.

Also, utilize online tools in order to find out when the optimal times are to buy oil. You can use deal sites like Slickdeals to find out when these deals pop-up. You can also utilize tools like CamelCamelCamel to see the price history of a particular item on Amazon to see if the price is higher or lower relative to its historic pricing. You’ll notice that Amazon’s prices tend to fluctuate quite a bit, so it might be worth while to wait. With these sites, you can also sign-up to get notified when there are price drops.

The Best Deals on Motor Oil in 2021 (Updated 3/3/21)

Rebate deals on motor oil are available from different manufacturer’s, and the deals can vary from one to another. In 2021, it seems that some deals have changed from previous years. At the time of this writing in early 2021, it seems that the deals are not as good as in 2020. Hopefully as the year goes on, there are some better deals to be had (this post will be updated accordingly.)

Keep in mind that prices tend to fluctuate and coupons are sometimes offered/retracted, so be aware that the prices below can ultimately change. However, the offered rebates are still valid based off the information provided below.


Shell $22 Gift Card for Pennzoil Full Synthetic 10-Quart Purchase (valid 2/14/21 to 3/14/21)

Unfortunately, the Pennzoil deal in 2021 now requires you to purchase 10 quarts of motor oil in order to qualify for the $22 Shell gift card. Because you are now purchasing 10 quarts, you are getting about 50% off of 10 quarts versus previous years where the deal qualified for 5 quarts, practically giving it to you for free.

Pennzoil Promotion
Receive a $22 Shell gift card by mail if you purchase 10 quarts of:

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic
Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic
Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage Full Synthetic
Pennzoil Platinum Euro Full Synthetic

* Some important things to note:

  • Limited to one per person, household, or address (email and physical). All offer requests include a USPS address verification check.
  • Not valid for residents of RI
  • If purchasing through Amazon, make sure to submit your invoice which shows “shipped”. If you submit the initial invoice, your submission will likely be rejected.
  • Requests submitted online must be received by March 31, 2021 at 11:59 PM CT. Request by mail must be postmarked by March 31, 2021, and received by April 15th.
  • For a list of participating retailers, please see link.

I typically make purchases through Amazon as it is convenient for me, however you may also purchase through any of the participating retailers in the link above. Some of other most common retailers on this list are: AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, Pep Boys, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and more.

I’ve noticed that the pricing for Amazon can vary significantly depending on their availability, so I wouldn’t make the purchase on a 5-quart container of any of these full synthetic oils unless they were in the low-to-mid $20 range. Try the other retailers to check availability and pricing so you can get the best possible deal you can on this rebate.

AmazonBasics, Kirkland, Super Tech Motor Oils

These three motor oils: AmazonBasics (Amazon), Kirkland (Costco), and Super Tech (Walmart) offer a line-up of motor oils that are all manufactured by Warren Distribution, Inc. These motor oils are more affordable than the other offerings such as Mobil1, Castrol, etc. They do all have an API rating of API SN PLUS and are all acceptable alternatives to the more common brand motor oil manufacturers.

If you cannot score a great deal on motor oil and you have no strong preference to the more commonly branded motor oil companies, then purchasing these oils may be the next best thing. Even purchasing these oils at the normal selling price offers a significant value as compared to the more traditional branded oils.

Recognize that depending on where you purchase these oils from, you may have to purchase in bulk packs. From what I can tell online, Costco seems to be the only one out of these three that offer the 5-quart containers in 2-packs and 4-packs. Purchasing the larger bulk packs seem to net you a greater deal. Walmart offers larger bulk packs, but the price per unit doesn’t really seem to go down at all.

As of the time of this writing, the best price you can get on full synthetic oil (per 5-quart container) is at Costco: $12 for Kirkland Signature if you purchase the 4-pack. This compares to Super Tech at Walmart for about $15 and AmazonBasics on Amazon for about $23.

Amazon: AmazonBasics Full Synthetic, Synthetic Blend, Conventional

Costco: Kirkland Signature Full Synthetic

Walmart: Super Tech Motor Oils

Author

Hi there! I'm Scott and I run The Track Ahead. My goal is to provide helpful articles and tutorials based on my experience and research related to car maintenance and automotive detailing. When I'm not writing and not working my day job, you can find me spending time with my family and working on home and car projects.

2 Comments

  1. Damien Mikkelsen Reply

    Ok Scott What’s your go to motor oil for a 4th Gen 4Runner v6 sr5 with 260k?
    I’m currently running AMES full synthetic @ $100.00 every 6k

    • Hi Damien, my go-to has always been a Synthetic Blend 5W-30, usually labeled as “high mileage”. I go this route because I don’t want to go full synthetic and risk leaking of any engine seals since I have a high-mileage vehicle. I also want that increased oil life so I don’t have to change my oil every 3k miles. I usually stock up on oil during these sales/rebates such as the one listed in this post; unfortunately oil deals are not as good as they used to be.

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