Prevent breakdowns, stay efficient

Waste fleet trucks haul heavy loads and spend a lot of time idling. It’s critical to keep the fleet running efficiently and reliably to help prevent unplanned downtime and breakdowns.

The selection of the right engine oil plays a vital role in this, as the oil provides protection for the internal components of the engine. This helps prevent wear which can lead to unplanned maintenance, breakdowns and in extreme cases, engine failure.  

Taking a step back 

Before beginning to consider the heavy-duty engine oil that a waste fleet needs, we should take a step back to consider how lubricants can not only protect the engines internal hardware, but also help achieve efficiencies to enhance the fleet’s performance.  

High quality engine oils minimize metal-to-metal contact between moving components and reduce pumping and rotational losses – resulting in efficiencies in both fuel consumption and emissions.  

The industry transition toward low viscosity engine oils has supported this, as they provide lower frictional resistance and drag in the engine. This allows the lubricant to flow more freely around the engine meaning that the engine does not have to work so hard to provide the same level of power.  

New vehicles also have specific lubricant requirements that need to be considered due to the design of modern engines. Newer engines typically run at higher temperatures which can stress conventional lubricants and accelerate the rate of oxidation and degradation. The latest oil categories, API CK-4 and FA-4 address this by offering greater resistance to oxidation as well as enhanced aeration control and shear stability. 

For waste fleets, the use of stop/start technology also has an impact on the engine and therefore the requirements of the engine oil. The stop/start technology results in a substantial number of on/off cycles which can increase engine wear, so a more durable lubricant is needed to provide the engine with the protection it needs.  

Selecting a heavy-duty engine oil 

The continued evolution of heavy-duty engine oil technology along with industry legislation can pose a challenge for waste fleet owners and managers when choosing a new lubricant. With various factors to consider when selecting an engine oil for your waste vehicles, we recommend starting with these five steps: 

Consult the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) manual. This must be the first step when specifying any lubricant for your fleet. The manual will recommend a lubricant, but if you need more advice, it is prudent to reach out to the OEM directly as they can offer a recommendation based on the engine specification.  

Consider your fleet’s operating conditions. Where your fleet operates and the climate it experiences can have an impact on the engine oil’s performance. Each lubricant has a temperature range for its optimal performance, which is denoted by its SAE viscosity grade.  

The SAE grade of an oil indicates its viscosity at both low and high temperatures, so it is a vital consideration of engine oil selection. Determining the lubricant’s ability to flow and move around the engine to protect internal components, viscosity is directly affected by temperature.

For example, in cold conditions if the viscosity is too high, the oil will resist flow and circulate to critical engine components at a slower rate, resulting in increased engine wear. For fleets operating in colder average climates, a lower viscosity multigrade oil (for example, SAE 10W-30) will provide protection over a broad temperature range. 

Assess the benefits of synthetic vs non-synthetic oils. Full synthetic and synthetic blend engine oils offer better stability and improved performance in varied weather conditions, leading to better performance than conventional lubricants at extreme high or low temperatures. Full synthetic lubricants have a superior and unique formulation to deliver greater performance compared to non-synthetic oils.  

Look for proof and evidence of performance. Engine lubricants must meet strict criteria as set out in global and regional regulations such as API CK-4 and FA-4. Proof of these specifications alongside OEM approvals is crucial. Expert lubricant brands can also provide case studies and testimonials demonstrating the real-world impact of their products. These provide valuable evidence of the product’s performance.  

Ask for support. Leading lubricants brands invest significantly in testing their own product lines so they can demonstrate performance and provide informed recommendations for customers. You can make use of their insight and expertise by reaching out directly for support and guidance.  

The correct engine oil can improve engine performance and offer superior protection against wear. By seeking expert advice, you can select a heavy-duty engine oil which can enhance your waste fleet’s efficiency to help prevent unplanned maintenance and downtime. 

Darryl Purificati is OEM technical liaison at HollyFrontier Lubricants & Specialties, which includes the Petro-Canada Lubricants brand