Why Are The Ford Oil Drains So Expensive?
We have noticed talk on the public forums specifically the Ford Mustang forum: https://www.mustang6g.com/forums/threads/1st-oil-change-drain-plug-options.119019/page-4
Some people seem to have issue with the current $80 price. I'd like to explain why the price is what it is here. We're posting this because likely other consumers are likely asking the same question. We haven't posted this direct to the forums because we are not members. So feel free to post this on the forums.
First - Some state that the price is $80+Shipping. Actually shipping is Free to all US addresses, so it's only $80 to your door. (we are covering the approximate $7 in shipping)
So to dive deeper into the pricing, compared to other quick-drain type brands:
Materials: We use aluminum that is 100% CNC machined from billet. Other brands use cast /brass/bronze material. Casting can be done at a lower price but requires higher tooling costs and is best for mass production. Because we are not selling 10,000 of these a month, we don't plan on investing in molds to make them out of a different material. We would have to outsource this work and we prefer at this time to keep this under our roof.
Our o-rings (4 of them per product) are some of the best money can buy. They are rated for extreme low and high temperatures. That way they don't become brittle, stiff or take a set over time as other materials would. Other brands don't rely on o-rings in their design, (that fit into the conventional threaded drain bolt with crush washers) so they don't have that additional cost.
Springs - The wave spring that us used to keep pre-load on the plug to keep it in place is a specialty item with a unique coating. This spring is a "high-risk" item, meaning that if it failed, it could have damaging results. So we specifically sought a coating on the spring that would keep it from corroding. Most steel parts you just apply a zinc chemical coating to it and done, but high-carbon steel springs will become brittle when coated and will break. So we had to find a rare plating process done on the other side of the US who specializes in this. As we all know, specialization means more cost.
Coatings - We chose to coat the aluminum in an anodized finish to deter any corrosion from taking place, specifically for those that live in snowy/salty areas. This also prevents any chance of galvanic corrosion between some of the aluminum and stainless parts. Most other brands would overlook this and they don't have any coatings at all. Plus our coatings look great too if I must say! Just our attention to detail even though we know no-one will see it, just the fact that we take pride in what we deliver.
Fixtures - To aid in proper installation, we specifically take the time to use a fixture to laser-etch the logo and company name in specific spots so that it ensures when the user installs it properly, the laser etched references will be correctly aligned. This is just another belt and suspenders approach and gives the customer peace of mind that they installed the oil drain plug properly. We also use fixtures to aid in the installation of the o-rings to prevent damage and rolling when installed as well as fixtures to properly set the valve o-rings in the seat and staking fixtures to secure the magnet to the valve and assemble the valve. All of these steps are manually done by a person which takes considerable time.
Manufacturing Process: Our valve bodies are machined in one process start to finish, but they do require more complex 3D machining processes. Again, since they are not cast, we can very accurately control all of the features. The tolerances and fit on these pieces are very tight and we prefer to have complete control start to finish. Because each piece is made one at a time and not 100 casted pieces at a time, the labor cost to make them is more.
100% Quality Tested - Each part, once its finished is placed into multiple fixtures. One fixture checks that the location of the crucial o-ring groove is set in the right location of the oil pan to ensure proper sealing. Another fixture is used to ensure that the wave spring will have the proper amount of pre-load on the spring when installed. Various dimensions which are critical to fit, function, sealing, etc are also check and recorded.
We could go on, but I think you get the idea. We spent a lot of time developing this item. Over time, costs may come down as we invest in higher-production manufacturing processes. But on the other hand, we are selling them as fast as we are making them, so the cost seems to be about right for a majority of people who feel that the product solves a problem for them at a reasonable price. Everyone's perceived value is different and it can be unfair at times to compare one product to another that are almost completely different products.
We could easily cut corners and make it a $30 part, but we would likely not feel comfortable sleeping at night selling that product to people.
And finally, (cherry on top) if you follow the Ford replacement service of every other oil change to replace the $9 yellow plastic drain plug, you can see that over time you will end up paying more. Plus you get the added benefit of not having a mess, a magnet to collect iron particles and you can easily collect oil samples if you are that kind of owner.
Class is over for today :)