Slick deal: Synthetic oil delivers peak performance

Knight Transport, in business for nearly 30 years, prides itself on delivering the best possible service as a carrier that specializes in short- and long-haul transportation of wood and metal products, machinery and manufactured goods across the U.S

Manager: Jason Zengota

Title: Fleet maintenance manager

Fleet: Knight Transport, Tacoma, WA, a long- and short-haul carrier operating rolling-tarp flatbeds nationwide

PROBLEM

When your company's slogan is “Probably not the cheapest, never most expensive…always the best,” you tend to leave no stone unturned in any facet of your organization.

To be specific, Knight Transport, in business for nearly 30 years, prides itself on delivering the best possible service as a carrier that specializes in short- and long-haul transportation of wood and metal products, machinery and manufactured goods across the U.S., according to Jason Zengota.

He says the fleet's 36 tractors, powered by Cat C-15 and Detroit Series 60 engines, annually run from 108,000 to 120,00 mi. pulling flatbed trailers equipped with a rolling tarp system that handle loads of 48,000 to 52,000 lbs.

“All of our trucks are on the road every day,” says Zengota, “and some of our trucks are running — moving or idling — almost 24 hours per day.” He says it's a constant battle to keep his trucks on the road every day running at peak performance and views engine oil as playing an integral role. “We're a small shop and we really rely on our oil lasting and performing,” he explains. “If our oil didn't do its job, then it would cause a lot more work and stress on us here in the shop.”

Zengota says reviewing Knight's experience with motor oil revealed that “soot buildup and increased top-ups were some of the issues we faced. We also wanted to extend drains, but the oil samples weren't coming back with favorable results so we decided not to chance it.”

Ultimately, he determined Knight Transport should switch to a more cost-effective lubricant, one that would provide the performance benefits required by the fleet's demanding customer-service commitment.

SOLUTION

In June 2007, Zengota began switching the fleet over to a synthetic blend motor oil, Petro Canada's Duron XL 15W-40. “The decision to switch came because we felt we needed a premium synthetic blend oil, and this oil had all of the performance benefits we were looking for,” he states. “Plus, it costs less than the previous oil we were using — we're saving about $4 a gallon.”

Zengota says he became interested in considering switching to Duron XL because Petro Canada claimed it provides enhanced soot dispersancy, reduces the need for top-up oil, and provides the option of extending drain intervals. He also says the “extended-season performance of the synthetic blend gives me peace of mind that I didn't have in the past with other oils” used by Knight Transport.

He reports that oil analysis samples are coming back with “very favorable” results. Therefore, Zengota says he's planning to extend drain intervals in the near future and is anticipating substantial cost savings from that move will follow on top of the cost-per-gallon savings already realized by the fleet.

“Duron XL is performing better than any oil we've used in the past,” Zengota relates. “We're glad we made the switch and are looking forward to extending our drain intervals as well.”


Maintenance Bay presents case studies detailing how fleets resolve maintenance-related issues.

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