Walmart and Super Tech: The Poor Man’s Automotive Savior

Ben Scheppmann, Staff Writer

Picture this: you’ve just woken up from a long week of school and it’s finally the weekend, but better yet, spring break has just started. You and three of your friends decide you all want to go on a road trip to Daytona Beach in Florida. You all pool your money together to get a cheap hotel room near the beach for the week and scrap together enough cash for gas on the way there and back (along with enough money to have a little fun).  

You all pile into your 2008 Ford Focus and are just leaving to hit the road when you glance up to pull down your sun visor and something catches your eye…the oil change sticker. You scan the mileage marker for your next oil change and get a sinking feeling, because you’re not only due for an oil change, you’re far overdue. You quickly pull off at the nearest Walmart and park to talk with your friends. In the end, you scrape together $30 between everyone. Now what? At least one of you knows how to change a car’s oil, but what about the materials? 

While this specific scenario may seem like an unlikely circumstance, it’s not entirely unlikely that many college students are tight on money and don’t have much to spend on vehicle maintenance. Basic vehicle maintenance is crucial and can’t be skipped if you want to avoid car troubles; for instance, the longer you ride on old oil the more it breaks down and is unable to protect your engine as it should. This is where Walmart and their value auto brand SuperTech step in. Walk into any Walmart auto section and you will no doubt take notice of the incredibly low prices there. So let’s go back to our example; you have $30 for an oil change. 

The Ford Focus in the example takes 4.5 quarts of 5W-20. Walmart sells their house brand of 5W-20 for only $11.97 for five quarts. So oil is covered, but what about a filter? Not a problem either—that’s only $2.84. So the total is only $14.81 before tax and you still have over $15 left in the budget. Now, SuperTech doesn’t make a drain pan, but thanks to their savings, you can still get one for $2.97. Now your total is $17.78 before tax and you still have over $12 left. After a quick Google search, it’s easy to find the size of the drain plug in the oil pan is 13 millimeters. A quick scan of the tool isle reveals an 11-piece Hyper Tough wrench set, perfect to do the job, for $7.97. Lastly, you pick up a five-pack of mechanics rags for $2.49 to wipe away any oil you may spill. After tax, the grand total is $29.80. That’s less than $30 to buy the materials you need to change your own oil, and you still have enough money for your road trip. 

The most immediate upside to this oil change plan is that you can do your oil change and get back on the road without any worries. Another benefit for down the road is that you now have everything you need to do oil changes in the future. You’ve got rags, wrenches, and a drain pan. Your future oil changes will only cost the price of oil and a filter, which can be well under the $30 cost for oil service at Jiffy Lube, for instance.  

It’s not just oil that Walmart sells for cheap; they have SuperTech power steering fluid, transmission fluid, brake parts cleaner, grease, and plenty more supplies. You don’t need to break your college budget to maintain your vehicle. You can only spend a little and get a lot for your money.  

Now it’s worth mentioning that some argue that $12 oil surely cannot protect your engine well enough. There is proof, however, that it meets all industry standards. This comes in the form of a 2015 independent report from the Petroleum Quality Institute Of America, which found that even SuperTech’s oil meets all the required standards and is safe for use. There are still differences in oil-base stocks used in different oil brands, like that between Mobile One and SuperTech, but this isn’t something the average consumer should worry about. Minor differences in oil brands largely come from the refining process. 

In the end it’s clear: Walmart and SuperTech can be saviors for college kids who use cars and know how to manage them efficiently. Oil is cheap, filters are cheap, tools and chemicals are cheap. None of it’s expensive, but it all meets industry standards. You may still have a preference or the time and money to use other brands, but ultimately, Walmart and SuperTech will get you through in a pinch without any trouble and without emptying your wallet.