Preparing your fleet for winter

Preparing your fleet for winter

Sponsored by Petro-Canada Lubricants

Winter provides fresh challenges for fleets. Plummeting temperatures cause operational issues for drivers and if ignored, can lead to vehicle breakdown and the subsequent time, cost and effort getting the vehicle back on the road.

Unplanned downtime has a huge impact on a business’ bottom line, so as winter approaches it’s important for fleets to make informed lubricant choices.

The winter months expose engines to stressful conditions, such as cold starts, that can increase the wear rate of the engine and its vital components. These freezing temperatures will result in the engine lubricant taking longer to warm up, impacting the flow of oil around the engine and reducing the level of protection that the oil offers.

All lubricants have optimal temperature ranges. Taking the oil outside of that range will result in sub-optimal performance. Take extremely cold conditions as an example – when the temperature drops into the ‘critical’ zone of an oil’s operating parameters, the lubricant can stiffen or become overly viscous, causing wear rates to increase and when under stressful conditions, engines can seize up or in some cases, fail.

There are steps that fleets can take to protect their engines, and bottom lines, against extreme weather conditions in the winter. Selecting the right quality engine oil is an important first step and can provide protection in all weather conditions. When it comes to cold extremes, high quality heavy-duty engine lubricants offer a world of benefits.

What can engine lubricants do?

Heavy-duty engine oils, like the DURONTM product line, minimizes friction between moving components, while reducing pumping and rotational losses. This reduces viscous drag and will result in increased engine efficiency, including improved fuel economy

For vehicles operating in cold conditions, switching to a lower viscosity oil is recommended to maintain flow as temperatures fall. These types of lubricants move more quickly around the engine and ensure proper and adequate flow to protect the engine’s crucial components. By adopting the lowest viscosity grades as recommended by the specific Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) ambient temperature range, the entire vehicle’s powertrain can experience improved efficiency benefits.

Vehicles with newer engines run at higher temperatures which adds additional stress to conventional lubricants and in turn increases the rate of oxidization and degradation. To help address this, select an oil that offers greater resistance to oxidation, improved aeration control and shear stability.

Considerations for cold temperatures

There are further considerations that can be made for fleets regularly operating in very cold climates. It may be worth considering engines oils with improved low temperature performance as these oils ensure enhanced engine protection when working in the extreme cold. Choosing a lubricant that has a lower cold cranking viscosity (CCS) means that the fluid will flow faster through the engine upon start-up in cold temperatures which provides better wear protection.

Fleets should only change a vehicle’s engine oil after consulting with the OEM. Conducting seasonal oil changes can lead to increased downtime, so how can owners and operators protect their fleets during the winter months and avoid unnecessary oil changes?

Year-round solutions

Multigrade oil such as SAE 10W-30 is a popular choice for vehicle owners and operators that work in both extremely hot and cold temperatures. This is ideal for fleets travelling across North America that will experience temperature extremes throughout the year. Choosing a solution like this means fleets only need to stock one product rather than two to meet temperature requirements and avoid seasonal oil changes. However, it’s important that the choice of engine lubricant is only made after consulting the OEM ambient temperature recommendations provided in the owner’s manual.

Full synthetic and synthetic blend engines oils should also be a consideration. They offer better stability than conventional oils and benefit from improved performance in varied weather conditions. Fully synthetic engine oils take advantage of specialized base oils to provide enhanced properties and longer life, leading to greater levels of performance and a year-round solution.

Informed oil selection decisions can help fleets to deal with the challenges posed by the extreme conditions of winter. By prioritizing superior protection in cold conditions and considering alternative types of engine oils, fleets don’t have to accept reduced oil performance during the winter.

This article was sponsored by Petro-Canada Lubricants. To find out more about Petro-Canada Lubricants visit

TM Owned or used under license.

You May Also Like

From hands-on training to video-based learning: Keeping truck technicians trained

Hendrickson’s service philosophy on how to teach the next generation of technicians.

The combination of a global pandemic and rapidly evolving truck and trailer equipment and technology forced changes in every trucking industry segment, including technician training. All that while the industry was already facing a technician shortage. Through it all, keeping trucks and trailers in safe and productive working order was key to survival as average lifecycles lengthened. Tough times called for innovative solutions.

The Future of Trailer Telematics: Going Beyond Track & Trace

The Benefits of Integrating Trailer Telematics with Fleet Management Systems

Dana Products, Education, and Programs Offer Optimized Uptime

At Dana, we do a lot more than manufacture high-quality replacement products to Original Equipment standards. Through the expertise of the Dana Training Academy team, we work to ensure you have the knowledge and training you need to properly install and service our products for longer life and maximum performance, with the ultimate goal of

The ever-improving truck parts availability, efficiency relationship

Right part, right place, right time moves toward 24/7 availability.

Improve your aftertreatment diagnostics today

DPF Regens Performing regens, whether passive or forced, is necessary as they help to remove the soot buildup, prevent filter blockage, and increase the longevity of the DPF. By removing the accumulated soot, regens can help create a well-maintained DPF that lasts longer and avoids the hefty costs of replacing it. Passive Regens A passive

Other Posts

Peterbilt offers Cummins X15N natural gas engine in Models 579, 567, 520

Orders are scheduled for production in Q3 of this year.

Truck maintenance recommendations for the spring season

Brian Screeton of Bendix talks about what maintenance practices fleets should put into place for their trucks, trailers and components during the spring.

CARB’s Clean Truck Check testing pushed back to 2025

This delay is only for required inspections, meaning fleets and owner/operators are still expected to register and pay fees.

Inside the International S13 powertrain

As the International S13 powertrain rolls out to customers, the OEM also rolled its new engine, transmission and aftertreatment package out to TMC, held earlier this month in New Orleans. David Crowe, S13 integrated sales manager at International Trucks, walked us around the powertrain that is characterized by its dual overhead cam engine design, which