What to consider when selecting a lubricant
Evolving industry legislation and heavy-duty engine oil technology means that selecting a lubricant can be challenging. So, with an abundance of oils available, what factors should be considered before making a choice?The first step should always be to consult the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) vehicle manual or contact the company directly for information and advice.
Following this, the fleet and its operating conditions should be considered - a particularly important factor for the heavy-duty equipment used in the recycling industry where the use of stop/start technology is common. For this type of technology, it is important to use a more durable lubricant that can provide protection during the engine's high number of on/off cycles.
Also, for newer engines that run at higher temperatures, a conventional lubricant that suffers from an accelerated rate of oxidation and degradation under these conditions would not be the most suitable solution. Recent innovations, such as oils that meet API CK-4 or FA-4 standards, should be utilized as they offer greater resistance to oxidation and improved aeration control and shear stability.
As part of this process, operators should examine their region and climate. Fleets operating in warmer climates will have different oil requirements to fleets in the colder regions of Canada and the northern U.S. Oils that are designed to provide protection in colder temperatures have a ‘W' (which stands for winter) on the container, which features after the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineer) grade.
For those fleets in warmer areas, a heavier oil such as an SAE 30 or 40 grade would be more suitable - these resist the breakdown associated with high temperatures and ensure proper flow and engine protection.
The oil's viscosity dictates its ability to flow. In cold conditions, if the oil's viscosity is too high it may resist easy movement, delaying the lubrication and protection of the engine resulting in increased engine wear. Oils that meet industry standard tests such as Cold Crank Viscosity and Low Temperature Pumpability provide peace of mind that the oils will lubricate critical components, even in the coldest of operating conditions.
Because, there are a multitude of factors to consider, it's always important to seek OEM and expert lubricant advice and recommendations ahead of changing the type or grade of engine oil used.