Commercial engine oil delivers lubrication for larger vehicles transporting goods across countries and continents. These oils have been specially designed to cope with the demands of commercial transportation, including long hours on the road, heavy loads of goods or passengers and inclement weather.
So what are the best oils for commercial vehicles? As a general rule, if a manufacturer directs you to use a specific lubricant, it is for the purpose of aiding optimum performance. However, some commercial vehicle manufacturers don’t specify a particular brand. So what are the best types? That’s what we will discuss in this article.
The viscosity grade is a key indicator of an oil’s suitability for a certain type of commercial vehicle engine. Viscosity grade accounts for factors such as climate and operating conditions.
What does viscosity mean? It is a quantity which represents the extent of a fluid’s internal friction and resistance to uniform flow. This is important to an engine oil because oils thicken naturally when cooling and thin out when it is heated. In practical terms, the viscosity grade of an engine oil can show how well it performs under the demands of commercial vehicles.
The manufacturer of the engine or car may provide a recommendation for the optimum viscosity grade of the oil used. This recommendation is usually provided in the owner’s manual of the vehicle and should be followed at all times for the good of the engine.
Some of the typical viscosity grades you can see for commercial vehicles include 5W-40, 10W-30 and 15W-40.
The first number is the cold weather performance, with the ‘W’ standing for winter, while the second digit represents the stability of the oil at a high temperature.
An engine oil with a viscosity grade that includes 5W as its first number has lower viscosity at low temperature, and that can help ‘pumpability’, circulating oil quicker around the engine. If an engine oil has 40 for its second number, that indicates it performs well at a higher temperature, for instance when a commercial vehicle is being driven for a long time on a motorway with a heavy load.
Many of the oils recommended for commercial vehicles are either full synthetic oils or synthetic blend oils.
Full synthetic oils may be at the higher end of the price scale, but can be considered the ‘gold standard’ for commercial vehicles. Not only can they last for 50% longer than conventional oils, but they also perform well in extreme temperatures, contaminant handling and oxidation resistance (resisting breakdown after reacting with oxygen). Manufactured from highly refined based oils designed to cope with the requirements of modern engines, full synthetic oils contain fewer impurities, last longer and offer better superior protection against the engine wear and carbon deposits that can develop quickly in hard-working commercial vehicles.
Synthetic blend oils are popular due to their combination of competitive prices and superior performance. They are made from a blend of synthetic oil and conventional oil. Synthetic blend oils do a much better job than conventional oils at protecting the engines of commercial vehicles against wear and carbon deposits. Not only that, but synthetic blend oil is a better lubricator than conventional oil, with a molecular structure that is designed to flow easily through an engine. For companies intent on cutting the costs of their operations, synthetic blend oil offers a budget-friendly alternative to fully synthetic oils.
The superiority of full synthetic oil and synthetic blend oil is compared to conventional oil evident in its higher viscosity grade.
There is also high mileage oil, which is full synthetic or synthetic blend oil that is specially designed for engines with over 75,000 miles on the clock. High mileage oil is characterised by its additives that reduce oil consumption, and prevent leaks. As with any type of oil for commercial vehicles, the right type will depend on the particular engine, and the manufacturer’s recommendations should always be followed.
There is a range of established brands that offer oil for commercial vehicles. Rather than the brand, the most important consideration pertaining to choosing engine oil for commercial vehicles remains the type of oil. However, buying commercial engine oil from a reputable brand with proven products can offer reassurance.
Among the brands reputed as manufacturers of commercial vehicle oil are Castol, Mobil, Quaker, Shell and Valvoline. Several of these brands also offer other products for commercial vehicle maintenance, such as coolants and brake fluids.
There is a broad variety of oils on today’s market for commercial vehicles. They are lubricants designed specifically for certain types of engines and transportation and are helping commercial fleets to cope with high engine stresses, reduce wear, and prevent breakdowns. From a buyer’s point of view, the key to finding the best oils for commercial vehicles is to follow a manufacturer’s recommendations.