Best practices when switching to CK-4 and FA-4 heavy duty engine oils

May 7, 2019
API's Director of Product Programs provides several important measures fleets can take to ease the transition to the latest engine oils.

“With the creation of two diesel engine oil categories a few years ago and with a growing number of viscosities for diesel engines, shops need to properly accommodate numerous oils,” says Kevin Ferrick, API’s director of product programs. “Training technicians and service people about each application is very important so that misapplications don’t occur and potentially result in expensive engine damage and voided manufacturer warranties.”

If a fleet hasn’t done so already, replacing CJ-4 with CK-4 oil is a relatively simple transition because CK-4 is backward compatible and an improvement over CJ-4. Ferrick provides several important measures fleets can take to ensure that diesel engine oils are being installed and dispensed properly.

  • Storage. Be sure to completely drain all bulk tanks that will be receiving a new oil. You can still carry CJ-4 oils in drums if you want to keep some on-hand.
  • Identification. Clearly mark all bulk or packaged oil as appropriate for API CJ-4, CK-4, and FA-4 oil.
  • Dispensing. All dispensing equipment should be properly labeled with product name, viscosity grade, and service category to prevent misapplication.
  • Education. Technicians should be made aware of the changes to oil categories and requirements for each.

For any diesel oil, be sure to mark tanks, storage, tools, etc. to avoid commingling different products and misapplication. Reassess your shop’s need for all the oils you stock and eliminate older oils like CJ-4 which should no longer be necessary. Also, evaluate specific viscosity grades and adjust inventory to ensure you stock the proper supply of the most commonly used oils. If you plan to make changes, set a specific date and clearly communicate that information to staff.

About the Author

David Brierley | Editor | Fleet Maintenance

David Brierley is a former editor of Fleet Maintenance magazine.

Brierley’s education and career have been based in the publishing industry. He is an award-winning writer and comes from a background in automotive, trucking, and heavy equipment. Brierley joined the Endeavor Business Media vehicle repair group in 2017 as managing editor for Fleet Maintenance, PTEN, and Professional Distributor magazines, as well as In his current role, he writes for and oversees production of Fleet Maintenance magazine. He has worked in the publishing industry since 2011.

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