If you haven’t heard by now, starting December 1, 2016, diesel truck owners will need to pay closer attention when purchasing engine oil. That’s when the new PC-11 diesel engine oils will become the new normal. (Not sure what PC-11 engine oils are all about? Check out our previous post).
Today, both new and older on-road diesel vehicles can be serviced with one oil choice: CJ-4. In 2017, your fleet of diesel trucks might require two different oils, depending on the equipment.
Making the transition
Once the new oils are in the market, diesel vehicle owners will transition as needed from traditional CJ-4 oils to the new CK-4 or FA-4 formulations. Most owners will likely switch to 10W-30 CK-4 engine oils first because this formulation can be used in 2016 models and older engines. If you plan to buy newer trucks for your fleet, you’ll need to begin making sure which oil grade is being promoted by the manufacturer.
The good news is that switching from CJ-4 formulations to either CK-4 or FA-4 oils should improve your vehicles’ fuel economy. Moving from CK-4 to FA-4 oil can be expected to show additional fuel efficiency gains.
Watch the label
New label details will help differentiate between CK-4 and FA-4 oils, and each manufacturer will determine its own label standards. Only the American Petroleum Institute (API) “doughnut,” or seal, will be consistent across oil marketers in communicating the proper information. For CK-4 oil used in Cenex® brand lubricants, we expect the API doughnut color to be identical to the CJ-4 doughnut, because CK-4 is backward-compatible. We expect FA-4 oil to have a red quadrant in the doughnut to indicate the oil is not backward-compatible with older equipment.
It is anticipated that the American Petroleum Institute (API) will update its signature “doughnut” label for approved oil formulations, making it easier for users to identify a product that is not backward-compatible.
Watch the oil
Regardless of oil choice, we recommend regular engine oil testing to detect oil breakdown and metal contaminants that may indicate wear on areas of the engine, such as the piston rings and valve train components. Regular oil testing and analysis can help prevent relatively small maintenance needs from becoming an engine failure or major repair down the road.
The CHS team is always available to answer questions about the right oil for each fleet. Feel free to contact us with any questions or for more information about the new diesel engine oil formulations.
Please note: This is an industry update as of October 2016. Industry updates or modifications regarding the new diesel engine oils may be possible until changes are implemented on Dec. 1, 2016.