Darryl Purificati

Waste fleet trucks operate under extreme pressure, hauling heavy loads and spending a significant amount of time idling. It is therefore important that fleets run efficiently and reliably to help prevent unplanned downtime and breakdowns that could have an immediate negative impact on their operations.

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 and can help prevent engine wear. Choosing the wrong engine oil can result in unplanned maintenance, breakdowns, and in the worst cases, engine failure. Lubricant technology has evolved to help meet the needs of modern waste fleets, and heavy-duty engine oils have been transitioning toward lower viscosities.

The Benefits of Low Viscosity Engine Oils

For waste fleets, the use of stop/start technology has an impact on the engine and therefore the requirements of the engine oil. The 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.

Lower viscosity lubricants require less work to move through the engine and can flow faster, resulting in less drag in the engine. This allows the lubricant to flow more freely so that the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to provide the same level of power.

Lower viscosity lubricants can play a major role in enhancing fuel efficiency and optimizing overall fleet performance in refuse fleets. By reducing drag in the engine as well as pumping and rotational losses, low viscosity oils enable the engine to run more efficiently, using less fuel to achieve the same level of output — resulting in improved fuel efficiency. In addition, they protect the engine’s internal workings against wear to help protect against unplanned maintenance and downtime.

Moreover, conventional lubricants can be stressed by newer engines that run at higher temperatures which can accelerate the rate of oxidation and degradation. Low viscosity oils provide excellent resistance to oxidation, as well as outstanding aeration control and shear stability.

Selecting a Low Viscosity 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. The climate a waste fleet operates in 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 waste fleets operating in colder climates, a lower viscosity multigrade oil (for example, SAE 10W-30) will provide protection over a broad temperature range.

When selecting a lower viscosity grade engine oil, the first step should always be to consult the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) manual for its recommendation and to clarify if the engine warranty will be affected. When these considerations are taken into account and applied to the selection of an engine oil, engines are able to run more efficiently with improved levels of protection and enhanced fuel economy. A low viscosity engine oil can improve engine performance and offer superior protection against wear. By seeking expert advice, waste fleet managers can select a lower viscosity engine oil which can enhance their waste fleet’s efficiency, while helping to prevent unplanned maintenance and downtime.

Darryl Purificati is OEM technical liaison at HollyFrontier Lubricants & Specialties, which includes the Petro-Canada Lubricants brand. For more information, call (866) 335-3369 or visit https://lubricants.petro-canada.com/en-gb.