What is the right oil drain for my shop?

When you’re shopping for an oil drain, you should take a minute to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. How many oil changes are done in your shop daily? This will determine how big your oil drain needs to be.
  2. How do you store waste oil, and do you have a suction pump? This will lead you to the best oil drain style: self-evacuating or pump-assist.
  3. Do you work with expensive vehicles? This will help figure out whether to go with a poly or steel oil drain (You could damage cars with a steel version).

How big your oil drain needs to be
If oil changes are your main service, you need a large oil drain—possibly several of them. If your specialty is in another area, you can get by with a smaller oil drain.

Larger Oil Drains
You should invest in a large oil drain if changing oil is the main focus for your shop. A 25-gallon or 27-gallon oil drain would be ideal if you do a significant amount of oil changes on a typical day. You may even want to consider having multiple oil drains if oil changes are your primary service.

Smaller Oil Drains
You need to go with a small oil drain if your shop’s specialty is something besides oil changes (such as brakes and alignments). An 8-gallon or 18-gallon oil drain would be more suitable in this case. A small oil drain is a more affordable option for lower-volume repair shops, or even for DIYers at home.

The oil drain style you need
When determining whether you need a self-evacuating oil drain or a pump-assist oil drain, consider the following:

Self-evacuating oil drains use shop air to empty used oil and get the equipment back to the service floor. Capacities include 18, 25, and 27 gallons. An 18-gallon oil drain works well for shops who don’t do a ton of oil changes and have fewer bays, where shops who have an oil change focus with multiple bays would need drains that hold 25 or 27 gallons of oil. No auxiliary equipment—such as a diaphragm pump—is needed, so the initial investment of a self-evacuating oil drain is lower because you don’t have to add the expense of a diaphragm pump.

A pump-assist oil drain lets you hook up a suction hose directly to a full oil drain and transfer oil from the drain to the waste oil tank. Shop air usually runs the suction pump. Pump-assist oil drains can vary in size from 8 gallons for a smaller shop with a couple of bays to around 30 gallons for a high-volume operation with multiple bays. Shops already using a diaphragm pump can benefit the most from using a pump-assist oil drain to empty used oil, and then get back to work quickly. 

Determining if you need a steel or poly oil drain
Steel oil drains hold up well and can last a long time. But if you’re working on higher-end or specialty vehicles, you may want to consider a poly oil drain. If a technician bumps an expensive car with a steel oil drain, there could be damage left behind.

Our steel oil drains come in the following sizes: 16, 17, 18, 22, and 25 gallons.

If you are a lower-volume repair shop or a DIYer, an 8- or 18-gallon poly oil drain would be more suitable for your operation. If you are a bigger operation and want a poly oil drain, we offer them in the following additional sizes: 17, 22, and 27 gallons.

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