truckMaint11 Photo: Senior Master Sgt. John Chapman/U.S. Air National Guard

Extending drain intervals with the new engine oils

The transition to the new CK-4 and FA-4 engine oils introduced last year offers an opportunity to re-evaluate and alter truck maintenance practices – which includes extending oil change intervals.

By Paul Cigala, ExxonMobil

Trying to save money when it comes to truck maintenance can often times be a tricky business, for you don’t want to sacrifice safety or equipment longevity in the process. Yet Paul Cigala, a 28-year commercial vehicle lubricant applications engineer at ExxonMobil, believes such opportunities exist when it comes to switching over to the new CK-4 and FA-4 engine oils developed via the PC-11 program. Cigala explains his reasoning in the guest column below.

The desire to extend engine oil drain intervals (ODIs) is always an action point for truck owners, and there are a couple common ways truckers are trying to optimize those drain intervals.

Continuing a trend from the last few years, many are investing in low-viscosity semi-synthetic diesel engine oils, such as our Mobil Delvac Extreme.

Compared to conventional oils, semi-synthetics can deliver improved efficiency, enhanced oil drain intervals and potential fuel economy benefits. 

The movement to semi-synthetics is something trucking operations of all sizes, from large on down to small, are doing.  

We’re working with a variety of truckers to evaluate past engine oil performance in order to find more “optimal” intervals for them.

That includes leveraging used oil analysis programs to help identify the best interval as well. Such programs can help provide more data on engine performance and validate the benefits of a trucker’s preferred engine oil, as well as using it to identify potential mechanical issues before a breakdown occurs.

A used oil analysis program can help to provide a benchmark for performance and a starting point toward extending oil drain intervals further.

To that end, we offer a four-step optimized oil drain interval program that helps truck operators determine the right oil drain interval for their vehicles.

The program involves four key steps:

  • Feasibility Analysis – identify improvement opportunities and develop a draft field test protocol.
  • Documenting Performance via Field Testing – collect data from field tests.
  • Evaluating Results – analyze the collected data and develop final ODI recommendations.
  • Staying Connected – ensure continuous monitoring of the program, as well as education and training.

The last step – staying connected – is particularly important. In order to see continued benefits from extended drain intervals and identify ongoing opportunities for improvement, fleets must continue to monitor their fleet performance through services like regular used oil analysis.

Ultimately, as fleets get more experience with the new CK-4 and FA-4 oils, we are certain that many of them will opt for semi-synthetic oils and leveraging the power of a used oil analysis regimen.

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