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Choosing an Oil Tank

Considerations for Auto Shop Owners when Choosing an Oil Tank

Written by: Proformance Supply


In the automotive service industry, proper storage of oil is crucial for efficient operations, fluid management and customer satisfaction. Auto service shop owners need to select suitable bulk oil tanks that meet their specific shop requirements. Several important factors should be considered when choosing an oil tank for a small auto service shop.

Capacity When Choosing an Oil Tank:

Oil storage tanks are available in various storage capacities and range from sizes small (30+ gallons) to large (more than 200 gallons). Auto shop owners often choose an oil tank with a larger capacities to accommodate a higher volume of oil. This reduces the frequency of refills and allows for more efficient operations. If you have a flexible budget, you may want to consider buying a storage tank with a capacity slightly greater than your current needs, for ease of future operations expansion.

Consider Tank Materials:

When it comes to choosing oil tanks for auto service shops, two common options to consider when choosing an oil tank are heavy-duty polyethylene (commonly listed as plastic/poly oil tanks) and steel tanks for oil. They should be resistant to corrosion, leaks, and other forms of damage to ensure long-term reliability. 

Plastic Oil Tank Pros:

  • Our plastic tanks are rotomolded, a method of heating poly and rotating it to evenly distribute the material throughout, and then cooling and adding fill ports and necessary components. Rotomolding creates a seamless tank without weak areas such as seams or joints. Our rotomolded process eliminates points of force, friction or failure.

  • Corrosion Resistance: Plastic tanks are highly resistant to corrosion, making them ideal for storing oil and other fluids. They can withstand exposure to various chemicals and environmental elements without deteriorating.

  • Lightweight and Easy to Install: Plastic tanks are lightweight, making them easier to transport and install compared to their steel counterparts. This can save you time and effort during the setup process.

  • Cost-Effective: Plastic tanks are often more affordable than steel tanks, making them a budget-friendly option for small auto service shop owners.

Plastic Oil Tank Cons:

  • More vulnerable to accidental damage

  • Limited Strength: While plastic tanks are overall considered very durable, they may not be as strong as steel tanks. They have a lower impact resistance than steel, and may be more prone to damage from extreme conditions.

Steel Oil Tank Pros:

  • Excellent Strength and Durability: Steel tanks are known for their strength and durability. They can withstand heavy use, impacts, and extreme conditions, providing a long-lasting storage solution for oil.

  • Fire Resistance: Steel tanks have inherent fire-resistant properties, offering an extra layer of safety in case of a fire emergency.

Steel Oil Tank Cons:

  • Higher Weight and Installation Complexity: Steel tanks are heavier than plastic tanks, requiring additional effort and equipment during transportation and installation. This may increase the overall setup cost and complexity.

  • While small steel tanks are likely be in stock, large steel tanks are typically built to order and can carry extended lead times up to 8 weeks compared to the plastic tank alternative, depending upon the capacity.

By evaluating the pros and cons of plastic and steel oil tanks, you can determine which material aligns better with your auto service shop's specific needs, budget, and environmental factors.


The available space and location choosing an oil tank play a significant role in the selection process. The dimensions of the tank, such as tank depth and height, should be compatible with the installation area. It is crucial to measure the available space accurately to ensure the tank system fits properly. If space is not a limitation, a tank with a larger width or diameter and lower height may be preferred for accessibility to the top of tank fill ports.


If space is of concern to choosing an oil tank, consider a stackable poly tank set up. The Wall-Stacker Gravity Feed Systems have a compact footprint of 30"D x 38"W system footprint and are ideal fluid and oil storage solutions for constrained locations such as bay ends and pits. Another solution are the Tote-A-Lube Gravity Feed Systems, which can be conveiently optimized for with pump packages, secondary containment vessels, mobile casters and bases, and more.

Weather and Climate:

Consideration should be given to the surrounding elements and factors that may affect the oil tank. If the tank is to be placed outside, factors such as wind loads, roof loads, and seismic conditions should be taken into account. In areas prone to seismic activity or high wind loads, a tank with a larger diameter and shorter height would be more suitable. For auto service shops located in coastal or industrial areas, tanks with industry-grade external coatings provide enhanced resistance to environmental damages.

Safety Features and Security:

Remember to check local regulations and compliance standards related to oil storage tanks in your area to ensure you select a tank that meets all necessary requirements. Tanks should have features like overfill prevention, venting systems, and proper labeling for easy identification of contents. Many oil storage tanks are fully lockable. However, if you want additional security, you can accessorize your tanks with add-ons such as locking caps, high-security alarmed padlocks, and security lights.

Choosing an oil tank for an auto service shop is essential for efficient fluid management and shop operations. The right oil tank for your shop will offer optimal storage and inventory of oil and automotive style fluids. There are a great variety of oil storage tanks available on the market. By considering factors such as tank material, capacity, placement, climate elements, and security, auto service shop owners can properly select the oil tanks that meet their specific needs and contribute to the overall success of their business.


To purchase high-quality oil tanks for your auto service shop, consider Proformance Supply for top rated sales and reliable shipping accomodations!