The tale of the inefficient engine oil

The tale of the inefficient engine oil

What’s the scoop, you say? Use your senses, it’s this goop – goblets packed with greases, grails ladled to the brim with oils.

It seems I have research to do be I to follow through with my pledge to make my truck engines run like new – this all with a little help from some black goo. Perhaps I can pass on whatever I review to you, too?

Click here to watch more of FE’s On the Road video series.

Here is a transcript of the video:

API CK-4 and FA-4 oils were released in 2016, and you’ve likely heard a lot about them at the time, when they were known as PC-11. So, five years later, how widely used are these new oils?

It’s a bit of a mixed bag. While CK-4 is a direct upgrade of the previous CJ-4 category and has replaced it throughout the industry, FA-4 adoption has been slow. Given the performance benefit offered by API FA-4, it’s fair to say that collective lubricant and OEM industries expected greater growth.

Some speculate the main barrier to adoption has been the mix of fleet. If you look at the U.S. market as a whole, the number of heavy-duty trucks with engines approved for API FA-4 is relatively high. But in practical terms, if a fleet has 100 trucks but has just one engine not approved for FA-4, they will probably not adopt FA-4.

That said, the industry is seeing a notable uptake from those fleets that were early adopters of 10W-30. These are typically fleets accumulating high mileage per unit, which therefore have high fuel costs, and fleets with truck ages in the two- to four-year range.

Adoption rates aside, the oil companies report that fleets who are able to adopt these lower-viscosity FA-4 and CK-4 oils will likely see savings.

So CK-4 and FA-4 engine oils are great options today, sure, but what can we expect in the future? The ongoing quest for better performing, longer-lasting products has led to dramatically improved finished lubricants – CK-4 and FA-4 oils is an example of this. As new engines emerge demanding more performance for less emissions, new oils will emerge with them.

It is even possible we could end up seeing very low viscosities like 5W-20 in the years ahead. One of the largest costs for over-the-road fleets is fuel. If you can improve fuel economy by just 1 or 2 MPG, depending on fleet size, annual savings can be in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, for a fleet with 200 or more trucks.

The key will be to deliver these viscosities without sacrificing wear control—and at these low viscosities, that will likely require novel additives and formulating.

You May Also Like

Discussing the lubrication needs of internal combustion engines

Natural gas and hydrogen combustion engines need lube love too.

Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about engine oil, alternative fuel internal combustion engines are well positioned to eat up market share in an increasingly sustainability-focused trucking market. Last year, Cummins announced the development of a common X Series engine platform that would offer a selection of diesel, natural gas, or hydrogen fuel capabilities to serve fleet decarbonization efforts and meet application demands set by diesel engines. This isn't just the continued evolution of ICE efficiency. Changing the fuel that the engine burns changes a host of variables, including lubrication.

Using telematics insight to improve fleet operations 

Urgency isn’t a new concept to the world of fleet operations and neither is flexibility. Being in an industry that changes everyday means it’s important for you to keep track and keep up. If your ship doesn’t rise with the tide, it sinks.  Related Articles – Picking up the trucking pace: An industry update –

Picking up the trucking pace: An industry update

According to some of the latest numbers from ACT Research, there are some positive and negative factors equally impacting the overall freight outlook. Let’s start with the not so great points presented through their research: Related Articles – The right heavy-duty truck maintenance practices to protect fuel efficiency – Let’s brake it down: Heavy-duty truck

Success by the truckload: Truck technician training tips 

There’s a shortage in just about every aspect of every industry. Driver shortages, supply shortages, technician shortages, parts shortages – they are all plaguing fleet operations and slowing down the entire expediting process. The only thing the commercial industry isn’t short on is, well, shortages.  It’s extremely inconvenient, to put it nicely, but in every

The benefits of electrification in last-mile applications

If your trucks are operating in the long-haul segment carrying goods from New York to California, well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but EV range capabilities and infrastructure can’t practically support that yet.  Related Articles – Lion Electric announces production of first lithium-ion battery pack – Lightning eMotors launches fleet planner,

Other Posts

Electric trucks are coming: We need training

You don’t have to wait for an EV to get started with training.

Where we’re at with ‘Right to Repair’ in the heavy-duty aftermarket

What truck data access and visibility means to the aftermarket.

Photo Gallery: Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week 2023

A pictorial walk-around of the show floor.

How trucking fleets will benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act

How much money can you squeeze out of the tax credit for EVs? Find out here.