Mechanic won’t use oil I’ve chosen

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Aug 15, 2017
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169
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West Michigan
I’m a fleet manager for a delivery company. Recently we expanded into another state and in this purchase came a mechanic and his apprentice.
He is a old school kind of guy, he uses what he’s been using forever, and it is not working. The equipment that came with this purchase is in rough shape.
A Ford V-10 with 85k on it is sludged up For example.
He has been buying the oil as needed at the most expensive place around. The oil he’s been buying is Mag1 which is a Warren Distributing dino oil and he’s paying $6/qt.
For the diesels he’s using Rotella or Delvac.
He is way over paying for the oil.

So I brought him a syn blend 15w-40 diesel oil and told him to use it in everything, he refuses to use it in the gas engines because, according to him, it will mess up the cam phasers and hydraulic timing chain tensioners.
He also claims it will sludge up the engines and that “they are rated for 5w-20 for a reason“

Now I’ve been using this oil in my gasoline engines for almost a year with zero problems. I have one truck closing in on 50k quickly and I am going to do a oil sample at that oil change.
The very first oil change there was oil consumption. 1 qt in 10k on the factory fill.
Now there is zero oil consumption. In the hottest dog days of summer the trucks used less than a quart in 10k.

The cam phasers are electronic.
I have zero timing/run issues. MPG is good for what we do (~8mpg)

Do I need to put my foot down and say use this or else?
Do I need to switch motor oil?

Also he does not go by miles for oil changes, he goes by “I have a system”

Any help would be appreciated.
 
Joined
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Athens, GA
If you're the manager and responsible for the health and wellness of the vehicles, he does what you say or kick rocks. Ultimately, if damage is caused by your policies, you are the one that has to answer for it, not him.

Buyouts happen all the time, and for the most part, new policies and procedures comes with.

And speaking of that, I would make sure it is a written-down policy so you have something to point to. That way he can't say you were being mean or biased towards him. You're just enforcing policy.
 

Spike555

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Just curious here…if he used an oil weight not recommended by the manufacturer and there would be an oil-related engine failure, who would get the blame?

I would because I’m the manager and the equipment is my responsibility.
 

Spike555

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In his old job, probably him. Make him feel comfortable doing what you want. Old mechanics are used to always taking the blame.

That is a good point. Currently, with me anyway, the only blame he is getting is for not doing things on time and severely neglecting the equipment.
BUT, in his defense, his old boss always told him to do things as cheaply and as late as possible.
 

Spike555

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Tell him to got to Walmart and buy the oil at a much better price.

I would not run 15W/40 in everything - so I agree with him there. Run what the vehicle is spec'd for and 15w/40 in a 5w/20 application is not a good idea.

Why? It’s a push rod V8. Over head cam V10. When using the thinner oil, oil consumption is through the roof and the engines are nosey when hot.
 
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Upstate NY
That is a good point. Currently, with me anyway, the only blame he is getting is for not doing things on time and severely neglecting the equipment.
BUT, in his defense, his old boss always told him to do things as cheaply and as late as possible.
Yeah, thats always a super ****ty policy that is the standard for so many companies out there. Shame though.
 
Joined
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Fort Worth, Texas
I’m a fleet manager for a delivery company. Recently we expanded into another state and in this purchase came a mechanic and his apprentice.
He is a old school kind of guy, he uses what he’s been using forever, and it is not working. The equipment that came with this purchase is in rough shape.
A Ford V-10 with 85k on it is sludged up For example.
He has been buying the oil as needed at the most expensive place around. The oil he’s been buying is Mag1 which is a Warren Distributing dino oil and he’s paying $6/qt.
For the diesels he’s using Rotella or Delvac.
He is way over paying for the oil.

So I brought him a syn blend 15w-40 diesel oil and told him to use it in everything, he refuses to use it in the gas engines because, according to him, it will mess up the cam phasers and hydraulic timing chain tensioners.
He also claims it will sludge up the engines and that “they are rated for 5w-20 for a reason“

Now I’ve been using this oil in my gasoline engines for almost a year with zero problems. I have one truck closing in on 50k quickly and I am going to do a oil sample at that oil change.
The very first oil change there was oil consumption. 1 qt in 10k on the factory fill.
Now there is zero oil consumption. In the hottest dog days of summer the trucks used less than a quart in 10k.

The cam phasers are electronic.
I have zero timing/run issues. MPG is good for what we do (~8mpg)

Do I need to put my foot down and say use this or else?
Do I need to switch motor oil?

Also he does not go by miles for oil changes, he goes by “I have a system”

Any help would be appreciated.

The Cam Phasers are Hydraulic that are controlled by a Electric over Hydraulic Solenoid. I take care of a fleet of 5.4L 3V Modular Fords which are the same as 6.8L 3V engines.
I run Supertech full synthetic 10w30 with great results, Though I wouldn't be opposed to using 15w40 year round in Texas, Might be a tad thick in areas with an actual winter??
 
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Yeah most "mechanics" aren't that competent and are really just part changers who are stuck in old ways and ive worked in the shop with them before. Oil is always a different viscosity and having a bit more tension wouldn't hurt but having too little would and the majority of phasers are solenoid or torque actuated but a thin oil in a worn out engine can cause the locking pin to not engage so a thicker than spec oil is known to fix those issues. And what a diesel oil would sludge more? lol that's a knee slapper.

Just tell him to put it in and to not worry since it was managements decision incase something "bad" happens (which wont)
 
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British Columbia, Canada
Why? It’s a push rod V8. Over head cam V10. When using the thinner oil, oil consumption is through the roof and the engines are nosey when hot.
In my opinion, the oil recommendation by the manufacturer should govern the weight used. The mechanic is right about that. He may have a preferred brand - and that's fine as long as it's a well known brand and reasonably priced. He's the mechanic.

As a manager you need to pick your battles. On time and good quality service is what you should require - no late as possible stuff. But you can certainly specify where to buy his oil, even provide a budget - that's all a manager's domain.
 

4WD

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Other than a cheap cat killer - what 5W40 is easier to find and cheaper than 5W30 ?
The one oil only thing is the “forced fit” here …
 

Spike555

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West Michigan
The Cam Phasers are Hydraulic that are controlled by a Electric over Hydraulic Solenoid. I take care of a fleet of 5.4L 3V Modular Fords which are the same as 6.8L 3V engines.
I run Supertech full synthetic 10w30 with great results, Though I wouldn't be opposed to using 15w40 year round in Texas, Might be a tad thick in areas with an actual winter??

Our trucks are parked inside a heated building when not in use. So cold weather pump-ability is not a concern.
 

Spike555

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West Michigan
In my opinion, the oil recommendation by the manufacturer should govern the weight used. The mechanic is right about that. He may have a preferred brand - and that's fine as long as it's a well known brand and reasonably priced. He's the mechanic.

As a manager you need to pick your battles. On time and good quality service is what you should require - no late as possible stuff. But you can certainly specify where to buy his oil, even provide a budget - that's all a manager's domain.

Picking my battles is a great point. Thank you.
 

Spike555

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Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Messages
169
Location
West Michigan
In my opinion, the oil recommendation by the manufacturer should govern the weight used. The mechanic is right about that. He may have a preferred brand - and that's fine as long as it's a well known brand and reasonably priced. He's the mechanic.

As a manager you need to pick your battles. On time and good quality service is what you should require - no late as possible stuff. But you can certainly specify where to buy his oil, even provide a budget - that's all a manager's domain.

He does not have time to shop for oil. He is going to the place 5 min from the shop, walking in and saying “hey Bill, I need 8 qts of…” and then walking out the door and handing me the bill for the oil.
He is going to do what is easiest for him.
He will not stay within a budget. I can’t even get him to write down when he does what.
 
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Canadia
I wonder if the mechanic gets some kind of kickback from the parts store in return for his purchases of overpriced oil? I would definitely take purchasing off his plate as much as possible.

Maybe give in on the viscosity choice for the 5w20 spec'd vehicles. Or meet half way at 5w30. It would be an easy way to offer an olive branch, and would keep the diesel oil out of the vehicles with catalytic converters.
 

Spike555

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Aug 15, 2017
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West Michigan
Other than a cheap cat killer - what 5W40 is easier to find and cheaper than 5W30 ?
The one oil only thing is the “forced fit” here …

The 15w-40 that I buy in bulk is easier and cheaper to find. And I can extend oil changes.
5w-30, $30 per oil change and needs to be changed every 5k.
15w-40, $30 per oil change and needs to be changed every 10k.

Other companies doing the exact same business as us use 10w-30, change it every 5k and eat engines for lunch. 150-175k is about all they get out of them.
When you put 50-60k on a truck each year and the service life for the body and chassis is 20 years…that’s a lot of engines.
 

Spike555

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Joined
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Location
West Michigan
I wonder if the mechanic gets some kind of kickback from the parts store in return for his purchases of overpriced oil? I would definitely take purchasing off his plate as much as possible.

Maybe give in on the viscosity choice for the 5w20 spec'd vehicles. Or meet half way at 5w30. It would be an easy way to offer an olive branch, and would keep the diesel oil out of the vehicles with catalytic converters.

The diesels have cats. And particulate filters. And DEF. And have to re-gen every couple of days.

I can get a decent full syn 5w-30 for cheap in bulk, let him use that for now and once his contract is up next year put the screws to him.
 
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