Tech Tip: Extending oil drain intervals

Sept. 4, 2015
The first step when considering whether to extend oil change intervals is to see what the engine manufacturer recommends and to see if you are draining the oil from your trucks at the recommended interval.

Modern oils have detergents, dispersants and other additives to ensure that the engine is clean and functions properly in a stressful environment. For this reason, it is highly recommended to use quality engine oil, such as Shell Rotella, that includes enough detergent and dispersants to keep soot and other contaminants in suspension so they will not form deposits in the engine or create wear. 

Conventional and synthetic oils offer the ability to consider extending oil drains. The first step when considering whether to extend oil change intervals is to see what the engine manufacturer recommends and to see if you are draining the oil from your trucks at the recommended interval.

Fleets should also consider what their goals are for extending oil change intervals and how these fit with other maintenance practices. Will the truck be on the road longer and other maintenance services not performed at the interval they were in the past?

Some things to consider when planning to extending oil change interval:

  • If your truck is still under warranty, be sure to consult the manufacturer before extending the change interval.
  • For severe operating conditions such as heat or cold, loads and city driving, also consider the risk verses reward and if the improvements hoped for will be achieved.
  • Long idle times may accelerate the rate of oil contamination and shorten oil change intervals.
  • Will extending oil change intervals impact fuel economy?
  • If you intend to keep the trucks in your fleet for 10 or more years, extending oil changes may not be your best bet.
  • Estimate the potential cost impact of analysis programs, shortened engine rebuild frequencies, etc.

While there are many things to consider, a carefully executed program of extended oil changes may bring cost saving benefits without decreasing the life of an engine.

Information provided by: Shell Lubricants

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