Majority of fleets choose multi-grade over single-grade and synthetic
Data from the FLEET OWNER Aftermarket Monitor indicates that most fleets use multi-grade engine oil, followed by single-grade and synthetic oil.
The higher cost of synthetic oil is said to be offset by longer mileage intervals between oil changes. As a result, the reduction in oil changes makes the cost of synthetic oil comparable to that of single and multigrade engine oils. The impact is most apparent in high-mileage applications, where a large number of oil changes are performed each year. Theoretically, if fleets can reduce the number of oil changes on their equipment, they can also reduce downtime.
But maintenance-related downtime is comprised of a lot more than oil changes. In fact, since oil changes represent a relatively small portion of the time devoted to preventive maintenance inspections, a change in how often they need to be done doesn't have much impact on vehicle downtime.
When fleets develop their preventive maintenance schedules, for example, they take a number of parts into account, rather than just a specific component. A decrease in the number of oil changes related to use of synthetic oil will probably not actually impact vehicle downtime since the vehicle may be coming in for preventive maintenance work related to other parts.
In fact, the number of miles between oil changes is determined by OEM recommendations as well as the fleet's preventive maintenance schedule. This suggests that the replacement interval for some parts, particularly those covered by the fleet's preventive maintenance program, will be determined by other parts in the PM program. To maximize the efficiency of a preventive maintenance schedule, all parts must be taken into consideration.
The Aftermarket Monitor divides components into 15 major groups and sends out more than 4,000 questionnaires each month to commercial vehicle operators. Parts categories covered are diesel engines; gas engines; electrical and lights; air brakes, wheel seals and bearings; hydraulic brakes, wheel seals and bearings; manual transmissions and clutches; automatic transmissions; drive axles, universal joints and drivelines, and PTO drives; exhaust components and engine cooling systems; front suspension and shock absorbers; rear suspensions and springs; engine oil and filtration systems; tires; electronics, wheels and fifth wheels; seats, mirrors, tanks, and leak detection equipment; and paint.
For more information on FLEET OWNER's Aftermarket Monitor, call Chris Brady at Martin Labbe Assoc., 904-672-4413.
The following individuals recently received prizes for participating in last month's survey: Cary Smith, W.E. Beaty Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.; Khosrow Vosoughi, Dutchess Terminal Inc., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and John Neff, Neff Construction Co., West Chester, Pa.