What is preventing fleets from adopting FA-4 diesel engine oil?

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The choice of motor oil may not be something that many of you, as a fleet owner or operator, think about every day, but it is a choice that could have a significant impact on the performance. total cost of ownership. Why is that?

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The American Petroleum Institute introduced the FA-4 performance category for heavy-duty motor oils, in addition to the more conventional CK-4 category, in 2016. The division within the category covered low viscosity lubricants designed for heavy-duty use. new model engines that could offer fuel economy gains of up to 2%. During this period, FA-4 certified lubricants have been shown to be applicable to most engines newer than the 2010 model year. Since the introduction, the adoption of FA-4 lubricants among fleets has increased. been limited, while increasing the number of newer lubricants. 2010 model year engines have proliferated in North American fleets and on highways.

Most fleet owners, for a variety of reasons, were hesitant to make the switch, even though they operate many applicable vehicles. If you’re one of those fleet owners, let’s explore a few reasons why it might be worth changing your mind.

The Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) recently approved a new recommended practice (PR) on how heavy vehicle operators can manage their switch to low viscosity engine lubricants. The RP recommends that fleet operators investigate a switch to low viscosity engine oil for most vehicles, and possibly up to FA-4 lubricants. It is a good resource for any fleet operator who has been considering making a change. The RP includes a guide to help fleet operators determine the best change to make.

The short version is: If you are using engines newer than the 2010 model year and these vehicles are manufactured by OEMs who approve the use of the FA-4 (Detroit Diesel, Cummins and Navistar), FA lubricants -4 are likely a good option for these vehicles. For newer vehicles from OEMs who have not explicitly recommended the FA-4, the RP recommends contacting the manufacturers to determine if the oil recommendations have recently changed to include the FA-4. In any case, the RP recommends that fleets consider at least switching to 10W-30 or 5W-30 CK-4 lubricants to reap the fuel efficiency benefits.

First consider that fuel costs are about 24% of a fleet’s average cost per mile, according to the ATRI Trucking Review. Low viscosity formulations can help. According to “Trucking Efficiency Confidence Report: Low Viscosity Engine Lubricants ” a joint report from the North American Council for Cargo Efficiency and the Carbon Warroom, the benefits of upgrading to available low viscosity lubricants are clear:% -1.5% by going from l ’15W-40 to 5W / 10W-30 engine oil.

FA-4 lubricants offer even greater benefits when used in the correct engine. According to the same report, “The savings from switching to the fuel-efficient FA-4 variant… should add an additional 0.4% to 0.7% increase in fuel efficiency.

Over the life of a given vehicle, which can travel over a million kilometers on the road before being taken out of service, the FA-4 has the potential to enable fleet owners to achieve considerable fuel savings compared to a more conventional lubricant choice. Projected across an entire fleet, these figures will lead to substantial savings that will increase the profitability of your fleet.

Proof of protective performance

A source of hesitation among fleet owners and operators regarding low viscosity lubricants and FA-4 is their ability to provide the kind of protection they expect from more conventional lubricants. After all, downtime is the biggest enemy of profitability: keeping trucks on the road is a top priority for fleet operators.

The point is, FA-4 lubricants are subject to the same performance criteria as their CK-4 counterparts and must demonstrate the same rugged protection through various tests as any API certified commercially available lubricant. But lab testing is one thing, what about the real world?

TMC Recommended Practice notes the following: “Additive companies, petroleum companies, and OEMs have generated hundreds of millions of miles using low viscosity oils and API FA-4 oils in testing on the field in real conditions. The tests cover all major OEM engines in a wide variety of duty cycles. These tests are performed to validate the performance and durability of low viscosity CK-4 and FA-4 engine oils. “

Indeed, at Lubrizol, we have field tested FA-4 lubricants in real world engines from various OEMs, generating over 75 million miles of tests. This includes newer models designed to be filled with FA-4 lubricants and older trucks for which the FA-4 is not specified by the manufacturer. From these tests, what we found is clear: Engines, old and new, demonstrate expected wear levels up to 500,000 service miles while demonstrating significant improvement in fuel economy.

Barrie Masters is Director, Heavy Duty Engine Oils, America’s for The Lubrizol company., which supplies specialty chemicals for transportation and other markets, including additives for motor oils. He has been with Lubrizol for 12 years and has held various sales positions in America, Europe and Asia.


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