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Help reduce emissions, enhance engine performance with low viscosity oils

June 4, 2024
Stricter federal regulations are reshaping the engine oil industry. PC-12 and low-viscosity HDEOs can help with compliance and performance.

As the temperatures rise and the days become longer, your fleet faces a unique set of challenges. High temperatures can put additional stress on your fleet, leading to potential breakdowns and costly downtime. How can you mitigate these effects? The right engine oil, paired with proactive maintenance, can help lower these risks and keep your trucks running all summer long. 

The effects of high temperatures on heavy-duty engine oils and engine performance

Heavy-duty engine oils undergo several changes in hot temperatures: 

  • Thermal breakdown: High temperatures prompt the breakdown of the molecular structure of oils, leading to reduced viscosity. This breakdown can compromise the oil’s ability to lubricate the engine components effectively. 
  • Evaporation: Heat accelerates the evaporation of lighter components in the oils, which can result in a loss of volume and essential additives. This can lead to increased oil consumption, increased cost, and reduced lubrication properties.
  • Oxidation: Heat and oxygen exposure can cause oil to oxidize, forming sludge and deposits that can clog engine passages and reduce efficiency. Oxidation also depletes the oil’s antioxidant additives, accelerating oil degradation.
  • Changes in viscosity: Heat can alter the viscosity of the oil, making it thinner and reducing its protective properties. This can increase wear and tear on components over time. 
  • Additive depletion: Extreme temperatures can accelerate the depletion of the additives in the oil. These additives are crucial to maintaining engine cleanliness, preventing deposits, and reducing friction. 

Choosing the right oil is key to optimizing the maintenance and performance of your fleet’s engines. You should use the viscosity grade recommended by the original equipment manufacturer. These grades are recommended according to the expected ambient temperatures, especially starting temperatures. The significance of engine oil viscosity grades is also paramount when selecting the right oil in extreme weather. The "W" in the grade stands for "winter," indicating the oil's cold flow performance. A 15W-40 oil boasts high-temperature stability, making it an ideal choice for heavy-duty engines operating under intense heat or heavy loads. 

Another important consideration when choosing an engine oil for extreme weather is the performance level and engine compatibility. The American Petroleum Institute assigns distinct designations to engine oils, indicating their compatibility with specific engine types. For diesel engines, the API designations usually begin with "C," followed by a number, such as "CK-4." This designation signifies that the oil meets the rigorous demands of diesel engines, providing superior wear protection and performance under heavy loads and extreme conditions. 

Consider using a synthetic or synthetic blend lubricant with the same viscosity and quality claims. Synthetic and synthetic blend lubricants are better designed to handle extreme temperatures. They have better oxidation resistance and a lower coefficient of friction than conventional mineral oils. Opt for oils carrying the SAE 10W-30 viscosity grade as they maintain proper lubrication under high temperatures, thereby helping operators attain new efficiency standards by improving fuel economy (up to 3% fuel economy advantage over conventional SAE 15W-40 viscosity grade oils) and providing superior engine durability. CITGO CITGARD 700 Synthetic Blend Engine Oils deliver the performance needed for newer engine designs while improving performance in older engines. These premium heavy-duty engine oils are engineered with a proprietary additive technology that protects engines running at higher operating temperatures and fuel injection pressures while meeting tighter wear limits and lower emission requirements.

Preventative maintenance can help mitigate the season’s harsh effects 

Selecting the right engine oil is a step towards avoiding summer downtime. However, implementing a proactive maintenance plan can further reduce costly seasonal effects on your fleet. Fortunately, there are excellent resources available to help with predictive and preventative equipment maintenance. Among them, CITGO LubeAlert stands out as a highly effective field tool. 

LubeAlert Condition Monitoring Service is backed by decades of data-driven knowledge. It identifies trends in a variety of equipment, providing valuable insights into equipment condition and conveniently helping to plan your vehicle’s maintenance activities. LubeAlert makes fluid analysis simple: collect one or multiple data samples while in the field and submit them using the LubeAlert mobile app or logging from your desktop. You can also ship samples to the nearest lab. Tests are performed and evaluated by highly qualified lubricant professionals, and results are available almost immediately after sample processing is complete. 

LubeAlert effectively provides information that can affect significant change in everyday maintenance practices by influencing future equipment purchasing decisions and graphing results to quickly identify trends.

Using CITGO LubeAlert Fluid Condition Monitoring Service can help:

  • Increase operational efficiency and production.
  • Decrease maintenance costs. 
  • Decrease unexpected downtime.
  • Optimize lubricant useable life.
  • Increase equipment resale value.
  • Track equipment condition trends.
  • Maintain or increase the resale value of your equipment.

LubeAlert test packages also include Cooling Systems and Diesel Fuel analysis.

By selecting the right engine oil and implementing preventative maintenance with tools like LubeAlert, you can help mitigate the adverse effects of rising temperatures on your fleet, ensuring optimal equipment performance and cost savings. 

Contact your supplier about choosing the heavy-duty engine oils suitable for hot temperatures, such as the premium CITGO CITGARD Heavy Duty Engine Oil line and LubeAlert for your optimized fleet operation. 

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