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Every fleet is feeling pain at the diesel pumps. As fuel prices continue to pummel bottom lines, the way to eke out even more fuel efficiency is to focus down on the details–nitty-gritty maintenance practices and component selections that will boost profitability. So let’s take a look at proper diesel engine oil maintenance practices that will help keep your engines running efficiently.
“In modern diesel engines, the oil packages have come a very long way, but it is very important to use the correct specified oil as it has to work in conjunction with aftertreatment systems,” noted Donald Chilton, director, product management, WIX Filters. “If you have performance issues with the aftertreatment system, your mileage will suffer. Similarly, the wrong oil will cause increased engine wear on critical parts and reduce mileage.”
That means cost increases on both the fuel and maintenance. Chilton noted that studies have shown how increasing your filtration protection in a diesel engine will improve fuel economy. With increased filtration efficiency comes fewer contaminates and less wear. That means increased fuel economy.
That’s not to say that you want to over-spec your filtration needs. Instead, you want to ensure that you’re striking the right balance of efficiency and filtration protection with a high-quality filter. For its part, WIX Filters offers a range of heavy-duty diesel engine filters that include its XD (extended drain option) and XE (extra efficiency option).
Speaking of oil drain intervals, fuel economy plays a large role in how intervals are set, and filtration is key to ensuring you’re getting the best fuel economy out of your engine and the longest possible drain interval out of your duty cycle.
“There is a huge amount of testing and engineering that goes into determining the correct drain interval for a particular engine,” Chilton noted. “Fuel economy is tied to engine wear and wear is the engine’s enemy. Fleets need to keep fuel efficiency as high as possible when working to extend diesel engine oil drain intervals.”
The WIX XD extended drain with Spin Flow Technology, designed to increase filter life, can increase oil drain intervals by up to 50%, saving money on oil, filters, disposal and maintenance costs. While those numbers are impressive, it’s important to note that oil drain intervals lean heavily on stringent engine maintenance schedules and proper oil analysis.
“Oil analysis will quickly tell you what the oil is, or isn’t, doing, and how the engine is wearing,” Chilton said. “It shows how the acid and base numbers are progressing to effectively see how much life is truly left in the oil before a change is needed.”
When your truck is in for engine oil maintenance, it’s important to consider that these filtration best practices extend to other related components.
“If you don’t take care of your oil, you probably are not taking care of other important maintenance aspects–how is your air filter or fuel filter?” Chilton said. “The fuel filter is the first line of defense in modern diesel engines. They need to be changed more frequently due to the ULSD fuels used. Water–that you cannot see–is present in this fuel due to humidity and it will destroy the engine if left unchecked. Make sure to change your fuel filter!”