Best Practices for Optimizing Engine Oil Change Intervals


The maintenance department can’t do much to help fleets on fuel prices and inflation right now, but a renewed focus on engine oil management can help improve fuel efficiency and engine life to cover all the pesky issues that eat into fleet profit margins.

Top of the list, of course, is making sure the engine oil is suitable for the engine. You should also consider the overall benefits provided by an oil dispenser formulation, not just the cost.

See also: The wealth of data from maintenance inspection reports

“Small changes to achieve a better performing product translate into many other, much more tangible benefits,” noted Tom Gaurke, business affairs consultant for Chevron. “When we went from 15w-40 to 10w-30, we got about a 1% increase in fuel economy, and that was at $4 per gallon of diesel. That’s $900 in savings per truck per year. »

The amount of ash created in the aftertreatment system is another factor to consider. Chevron has formulated its Delo 600 ADF heavy-duty engine oil with 0.4% sulfated ash, which can save fuel and prevent drivers from taking the time of day to regenerate.

“Over time, as the diesel particulate filter accumulates more and more ash, the number of regenerations you have increases, and each of those regenerations costs you fuel,” Gaurke added. “Not only does Delo 600 generate a much smaller amount of ash, but that ash is packed into the DPF more densely, so for the same amount of ash placed into the DPF, you’re actually able to hold more and extend the PAF.

Oil change intervals

Next, make sure the oil change interval (ODI) schedule matches the real thing. Too much time between oil changes will make the engine work harder and reduce fuel efficiency, and properties that reduce friction between moving parts also degrade, exacerbating wear. On the other hand, premature oil changes can deplete resources, manpower and asset availability.

Paul Cigala, commercial vehicle lubricant applications engineer at ExxonMobil, noted that small fleets and owner-operators may take this precautionary approach to oil-drain intervals depending, perhaps, on what their dad might have done. These users are “throwing in good oil” which Cigala said larger fleets would gladly put into their own engines because “there’s still life in there.”

And with the general scarcity of oil around the world, the transportation industry must rethink this conservative strategy and strive to conserve more oil. By finding the ideal time to perform ODIs, fleets will ensure that engine oil does not hinder fuel efficiency and, at the same time, does not waste technicians’ time by performing oil changes too soon. .

This is why Cigala advises the fleets with which it works to set up a used oil analysis program.

“If your OEM allows a 40,000 mile oil change interval and you do it at 15,000 miles, I’ll say, ‘Let’s take a look at the data,'” he explained.

A used oil analysis involves taking oil samples from the engine and testing for contaminants and the chemical integrity of the lubricant.

These data were illuminating for customers using Mobil Delvac’s used oil analysis program. Stewart-Haas Racing trucks that haul NASCAR vehicles and parts across the country have extended ODIs from 20,000 miles to 70,000.

“There’s less downtime for us and a lot more time to chase the checkered flag,” noted Stewart-Haas Racing fleet manager Gary Geissman.

Transportation in Texas pushed the ODIs of their Detroit Diesel engines 50,000 to 70,000 miles, saving $734,000 per year and reducing labor by 475 hours per year.

Cigala said fleets that regularly sample used oil can also detect EGR cooler leaks, fuel dilution and excessive metal wear inside the engine.

According to Darryl Purificati, Senior Technical Advisor, OEM/Automotive for Petro-Canada LubricantsSome important pieces of the engine efficiency puzzle include “keeping overall performance at optimum levels for the longest period of time, extending drain intervals with proper oil maintenance, and ensuring that An engine’s critical components are protected by oil analysis. program.”

This can be tracked digitally with a solution like Petro-Canada’s LUBE 360 Oil Diagnostic Solution, Purificati said. Fleet managers can enter samples and access results from a PC or mobile device via a customizable dashboard, which he says “prioritizes critical results and detects abnormal conditions before they happen.” ‘they don’t lead to costly repairs’.

“Fleet managers can benefit from expert analysis and recommended maintenance activities based on their oil sample results,” Purificati added. “They can track maintenance events, manage sampling schedules, and receive email reports sent directly to them and their team for one site or across multiple sites.”

For example, sampling can alert a float of glycol or coolant in the engine oil, which could indicate a failing EGR cooler gasket; or iron and aluminum, which could signal a failing camshaft, leaking coolant, or that the engine needs a mechanical tune-up.

This article originally appeared on Fleet maintenancethe sister site of Fleet owner.

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