What influences oil drain intervals?

March 3, 2020
Factors to consider when deciding if extended oil drain intervals are right for a fleet.
  1. Lubricant consumption: While excessive lubricant consumption may indicate other problems, all other things being equal, the greater the lube consumption and replenishment, the better the chances for an extended drain. Any time you add more lube, it’s being renewed or “sweetened,” including beneficial additives.
  2. Lubricant quality: Some lubricants are simply more effective than others for particular applications, whether due to better base stock or to superior additives.
  3. Fuel economy: Fuel economy is a direct indicator of how much acid, unburnt fuel, fuel dilution, soot, and other contaminants are developed and placed into the oil. An engine that consumes more fuel is doing more work, which can cause the oil to degrade faster. Most engine manufacturers have information that uses fuel economy to indicate what sort of duty cycle the engine is operating and therefore what potential there is for an extended drain interval.
  4. Duty cycle: Duty cycle is a set of factors that indicates how hard the engine is working. For vehicles making long-distance trips where optimum road and engine speeds can be maintained for long periods, there is generally less stress on the oil, and longer drain intervals can be achieved. 
  5. Heat: Excessive temperature is an enemy of all engine oils, promoting oxidation and other forms of lubricant degradation.
  6. Contamination: Contaminants will ultimately render a product ineffective as a lubricant. Type and degree of filtration can influence and prevent this condition, depending on the nature and cause of the contamination and the composition of the filter.
  7. Equipment usage: How a particular piece of equipment is used plays an important role in lubricant drain interval and affects all of the above parameters.
About the Author

Chris Alley | Global product manager, lube-air filtration for Cummins Filtration

About the Author

Ismail Bagci | Chief engineer, GOE liquid engineering for Cummins Filtration

Sponsored Recommendations

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...

Fleet Industry Benchmarks: How does your fleet stack up?

Discover how your fleet compares to industry benchmarks and gain insights from a 2024 Benchmarking Report on maintenance spend, turnaround time, and more. Join us to identify ...

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...