SANTA BARBARA, CA. The transition to the new generation of engine oils is proceeding smoothly, according to Shell Rotella executives, who also announced several additions to the product line.
Speaking during a special media event, Dan Arcy, OEM technical manager at Shell Global Solutions, said CK-4 and FA-4, “are helping to lower the total cost of operation for these vehicles.” That comes from increased fuel economy and extended oil drain intervals, assisted by enhanced oxidation stability from the new formulations.
The new oils officially debuted industry wide last December and CK-4 can be used in all new engines. Even though the transition to FA-4, which Arcy said offers even greater fuel economy than CK-4, remains slow, there are positive signs as more engine makers begin to approve use of the lower viscosity oil in their latest models.
When FA-4 initially rolled out, only Detroit Diesel recommend its use. Since then, Cummins and Navistar have begun incorporating FA-4 in its newest models. However, Paccar, Volvo and Mack are not yet recommending FA-4, though that is expected to change in the coming years.
Matthew Urbanak, project leader with Shell's heavy-duty engine oil group, said testing of the new oils is rapidly advancing, including with some engines not yet publicly recommending use of FA-4. For CK-4 formulations, Shell has data from 60 million miles of testing, he said.
Looking ahead, Dr. Jason Brown, global technology manager for Shell Lubricants, said a key step to further speeding the transition is for the engine makers to not only say it is appropriate to consider using the oils, “they need to recommend them.”
That will continue to happen in time as newer engine models beginning hitting the highway, he added.
Brown also touted Shell’s new T6 multi-vehicle 5W-30 oil, developed for use in both heavy-duty diesel truck engines, as well as passenger car engines running on gasoline.
He said it is the company’s “first foray into the development of a heavy-duty engine oil that meets all passenger car specifications.” Brown called it the best new option “for fleet owners with a bunch of Class 8 trucks on-highway, but within their fleet have a bunch of vans and pick-ups.”
Shell executives also announced several new products to its Rotella portfolio of products, including diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).
“DEF is a product our customers need now,” Arcy said, referring both to on-highway and off-highway users.
For truckers, DEF has been needed with engines using selective catalytic reduction technology to meet federal emissions regulations beginning in 2010. In recent years, its use has become more commonplace for use in pick-up trucks and the off-highway market as well.
Shell said it plans to offer Rotella DEF in 2.5 gallon jugs at retail stories. It has not yet made a decision in offering DEF at the pump or in bulk.
The company also said it was rolling out a line of Rotella oil filters aimed at pickup trucks that meets nearly every diesel model currently on the market. Also coming next month is the Rotella extended life coolant correction fluid and test strips to help ensure the right mix of additives.