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Why does high mileage oil cost less than normal oil?

I was looking at the price of engine oil in 5 quart containers the other day at Home Depot, and the price for the “high mileage” version is less than the price for the corresponding “normal” version. Dinosaur oils, not synthetics. Seemed to apply to most of the brands, including Pennzoil.

Any ideas why? Does it cost less to manufacture “high mileage” oil, or do they have too much of it on hand need to shift it off the shelves by reducing the price?

In my limited experience, Home Depot prices for auto supplies (when they are carried) seem to do their own thing – sometimes this means good deals.

i live in south georgia and high mileage oils around here is way more than regular oil.

We don’t have Home Depot in my town. Menards, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart are it for the big box stores along with several chain parts stores. I agree. The high mileage oils usually cost more. I assume this is related to extra additives and such but don’t know.

It might be about demand rather than supply costs, or maybe the high mileage oil has a higher profit margin because of how or where it is refined.

so, answer is, why is home depot charging less for hi mile oil and none else does?

Usually this is called a “loss leader” used to get you into the store. The cost of this oil to Home Depot is irrelevant’ they want you to buy other stuff.

Here Walmart usually had rock bottom prices on windshield washer fluid, especially in the winter.


Hasn’t anyone ever told you it’s bad form to answer a question with a question? :wink:

@Docnick, that’s as good a theory as any, especially if Home Depot advertised the price of the high mileage oil.

Coincidentally, I decided to use 10W-30 high mileage synthetic on my last oil change (rather than normal 5W-30 synthetic). The ‘98 Civic has 315,000 miles on it and 10W-30 is listed as an approved viscosity in warm climates.

I’ve been making a lot of runs to my mother’s house and back with a utility trailer, burning about a quart of oil every 350 miles, and this seems to have slowed my oil consumption by a noticeable amount. I’ve driven about 400 miles with a heavy load and haven’t had to add oil yet.

Why is that?


And, to my great misfortune, Wally-World’s so-called “winter” washer fluid froze in my car a couple of years ago, when the ambient temp was in the 15-20 degree range.
Wally-World lost a customer for “winter” washer fluid at that point.

Good to know. I rarely need the stuff, but if I do, I’ll buy it at an auto parts store.

At Walmart you are on your own. A few years back in late October I wanted to buy some washer fluid, and could only find the yellow stuff which is cleaner only. It will freeze at below freezing temperatures.

I asked the department manager why there was no Winter (-40) and blue in color.
'He told me “head office” had told him to sell the summer stuff first!!!

It is illegal in MO to sell milk, eggs, and similar for less than cost. This is to protect small stores because big stores could sell milk for a penny with a certain other purchase amount while this would hurt smaller independent stores. You see frozen turkeys for 99 cents before Thanksgiving if you buy $150 worth of food. They lose money on that turkey but make out like bandits when you buy all your other food and beverages there. That is how it works with this oil as well. They are using it as bait to get you in the door to spend money on something else.

We recently got a Menards in town and they always have something on sale super cheap. I bought several PINK windshield washer fluids there a couple weeks ago. This is supposed to be the next best thing and I have been seeing pink and purple elsewhere as well. It has been cold here so decided to give the pink a try. It seems fine. Menards also offers crazy rebates but you have to fill them out and send them in. Again, they get you in the door but for one small item the effort and cost of the stamp might make this not worthwhile so you end up paying full price by not sending it in. Everyone has a trick.

Harbor Freight always has a free item and 20% off coupon. Find them on your phone or in the newspaper. You don’t go in that store without a coupon.

You have to know what you are doing when you buy from Wal-Mart. They sell cheaper grades of a lot of stuff. I have never had issues with their windshield washer but I haven’t been going that a lot lately. It seems that they are trying to compete with Amazon and eliminating the only thing that they have over Amazon. That is service from real people in person. I wish they would realize there are people willing to pay more for a slightly better product and better service as well. They have pretty much lost me to other stores in town and I only go for very specific items so might go a month between visits. One of those items happens to be Mobil 1 oil. It isn’t watered down and they have by far the best price on the 5 quart jugs, especially when you include a rebate deal.

As for windshield washer, I actually like the summer formula better for cleaning. It is cheaper, works better, and is less toxic to the environment. You just can’t use it right now because it is FREEZING here!

I am 100% sure they know that already, but they don’t want or need to compete for that segment of the market to be profitable.

In other words, if that’s how you feel, you’d probably be happier shopping somewhere else, like Target, and everyone wins.

Yep, that is how I have been doing it lately. I go to other stores and am happier. I also find that prices are not really that much worse elsewhere but there are certain things where Wal-Mart wins on the price like the mentioned Mobil 1 oil deals. There is also a dog leash that is their store brand. It is much cheaper and better than the farm stores in town which is surprising. I always worry that they will change suppliers or lower the quality but it has been consistent. That same exact leash with different packaging is 4x more at the PetSmart store. Wal-Mart won’t stay in business on people who maybe come in once a month on a good day and only buy what is cheap though.

The other issue is the house brands and their quality. The dog leash is an outlier of something that is good. I bought a used car and it came with seemingly decent tires on it based on the tread and such. I knew nothing about Douglas tires being a Wal-Mart brand but these were terrible tires and they quickly got replaced after a close call that nearly killed me. They have other tires as well but are Wal-Mart only models even if they are a brand like Goodyear. I have had mixed luck with their Everstart batteries as well. The good news is that if you buy the yellow one with the 3 year free replacement, you usually never end up having to pay for a battery again. They NEVER seem to last 3 years. Some of the mechanics around here call then Neverstarts. The mentioned “winter” windshield washer solvent is yet another example.

I did recently have a good experience with the auto center. I needed tires and my car takes a somewhat odd size so I had to either wait for a tire store to order them or order them myself. Wal-Mart came up online as having them in my size and at the local store but they were the Douglas and I wasn’t getting that. They also had the best deal on decent tires. They could be shipped right to the auto center for no additional cost and I could pay for the mounting at the same time. I am gone a lot so am not around to sign for deliveries. I also didn’t want tires just stolen off my place if they left them while I wasn’t home as I hear package theft is a big deal these days. The service they offered was very convenient for me so I went with them and it worked out well. I have two complaints and suggestions as to how to make it better. One is that they don’t take appointments which would have been great for me. The other is that I wish they had better tires in stock as well but I can understand that is isn’t worth it is most of their customers want the cheap stuff.

I considered buying cheaper tires with a decent traction rating but a low wear rating. I figured out that it was more expensive to buy 30,000 mile tires when the mounting and disposal costs were factored in than a 50,000 mile tire.

I was careful to compare all the specs on the Mobil 1 to make sure it wasn’t a watered down grade and it isn’t. I also don’t think that their store brand oil is bad for the money either and would have no issues running it. Again, I can get the Mobil 1 for less money if I wait for the rebate and stock up. I always buy my allotment when that deal comes up.

My last issue with them is the whole “Wal-Mart mentality” as I call it. I service computers and electronics for a living and have pretty much cut out the demographic that buys their stuff at Wal-Mart. I used to try and sell computers but there is no way I could come close to the prices of a big box store. I have talked to the big box office supply store in town and they often sell computers as a loss leader and count on people buying paper, software, printers, ink, etc. to make up for it. The people who buy at Wal-Mart just want cheap. They don’t care if it won’t do what they want it to do very well as long as it is cheap. Companies make special models just for Wal-Mart. I don’t care if it Goodyear Tires or Dell Computers. They all have a spec number that is only sold at Wal-Mart and it is typically a cheapened version. I cater to businesses as well as the demographic that subscribes to Consumer Reports and shops at Costco. They are willing to pay for a better product and service to set it up correctly. In addition they are just a lot easier to deal with which is important for my safety and sanity.

I guess they have their niche but I choose a a step or two up from this type of product.

interesting item I heard is that a 5 quart Chevron motor oil is cheaper than the W branded one

edit: and here it is


I seriously doubt anyone can beat their price on five quarts of store brand gen-2 dexos-approved synthetic oil ($17.47).

I wasn’t aware of a new Dexos oil but looked. It looks like they are trying to match the European standards for extended changes and cleanliness.

Anyway, here is a list of currently approved oils:

The Mobil 1 0W20 EP I usually get is approved as are other M1 products. Generally with the rebate the price is at least as good as the WM brand. That being said, if you need more than your allotment, don’t want to deal with rebates, or need it in a pinch, the WM oil is a great deal!

Then there is the Pennzoil synthetic. It also meets this and you can always find good rebates on it as well.

I once dated a gal and she had let her car go WAY beyond the oil change interval. She always used the WM brand conventional and although the oil was black as night and about a quart low, I couldn’t see any sludge or otherwise nasty looking deposits on the inside of the valve cover. The oil was definitely due for a change but I couldn’t knock the Wal-Mart oil. I went ahead and used the same oil when I changed it for her.

Appx Home Depot price for Penzoil 5 quart container

  • conventional $18
  • high mileage $16.50
  • synthetic $28