Extended oil drains may decrease costs

A plethora of lubricants now exist that make extended lubricant service intervals a viable alternative


No signs of distress where found anywhere on the engines, commented Pat Fetterman, industrial liaison for Infineum. “In fact, these [original] cams meet the visual guidelines for reusability. And when we rebuild these engines…the cams are going right back in the engines, and they’ll be going back into service with these cams, even after a million miles.”

The motor oil company Amsoil (www.amsoil.com) advertises the ability to provide lubricants that outlast the standard service interval. One case study of its motor oil’s use involved Guardian Pest Control, which has a fleet of 60 vehicles, most of which are Ford F-150s. The company totally switched over to synthetic lubricants and extended oil drains.

Before converting every truck in the fleet to Amsoil motor oil, Guardian was running conventional oil, with oil changes performed at 3,000 to 5,000 mile intervals. This resulted in a lot of downtime, as the trucks usually needed service every month, company officials said. They found that the switchover to synthetics led to significant cost savings in the long-term.

SOME WORDS OF CAUTION

It is very important that when making a decision concerning what lubrication methods a fleet should employ, that they follow OEM specifications for motor oil weight. Some motor oil manufacturers might recommend switching to a lighter-weight oil in order to save fuel over the long run, but this might put the light duty vehicle’s warranty into question, according to Pierre Respaut, vice president of Technicians Service Training, an automotive training not-for-profit organization (www.tstseminars.org).

Respaut has taught on the topic of vehicle lubrication and has observed that many passenger vehicles and light duty trucks call for specific weights of oil, regardless of temperature.

For the same reason, exceeding service intervals, even when the oil and filter can stand up to the test, opens up the fleet owner to liability when a vehicle is under warranty, he says. Many OEMs require service records in order to perform warranty work and a “missing” oil change can be used as evidence for denying coverage.

So, with improving motor oil technology, service intervals will continue to far surpass the old 3,000-mile standard. It is essential that fleet managers balance pros and cons as it pertains to cost considerations and liability when deciding upon what approach to take with vehicle lubrication.

We Recommend