Selecting which lubricants to use in each commercial vehicle can be a minefield for fleet operators.
As a stockist and distributor of Morris lubricants, we can provide a wide range of commercial vehicle lubricants and oils.
Choosing the right lubricant is absolutely crucial as every engine is different and requires a particular specification of oil. Get it wrong and it can cause serious problems and failures and have major financial implications.
The technical team at Shrewsbury-based oil blender Morris Lubricants deals with around 100 queries a day from customers interested in commercial lubricants. Here the company’s automotive product manager Adrian Hill addresses the five most commonly asked questions.
What’s the drain time of your Morris Lubricants oil?
For any given commercial vehicle there could be a variety of different oil drain intervals allowable depending on what kind of workload that vehicle is doing. If you have a truck and all it does is travel from Land’s End to John O’Groats , that will have a different oil drain interval to the same vehicle that’s running around inner-city Birmingham, for example. In a city there will be lots of stop-start and it doesn’t get to cruising speed. There is a lot more workload put on the engine and the lubricant. You generate more soot, there is a lot more heat involved and consequently you have to change the lubricant more often. If you’ve got something on the road, cruising along all day or night on main motorways, the workload on the engine and lubricant is lower and you don’t have to change the oil so often. If it’s a mixed workload, it will be in the middle somewhere. And different makes and models have different oil drain intervals.
Do you do the same product as a mineral, synthetic or semi synthetic?
When people ask whether we have a product as a mineral, synthetic or a semi synthetic, it’s a very generalised question. You have to ask what make and model of vehicle is involved. The specification which is suited to that engine type will denote whether it’s a mineral, synthetic or a semi synthetic, not the other way around. You don’t make a synthetic oil and then give it a performance level which makes it appropriate to an engine.
My transmission has a red oil in it. Can I top up with some Dexron II?
Dexron II fluids are traditionally dyed red. However, they are not the only red fluid on the market place. People see some red oil and think it must be Dexron II. But that is quite dangerous because there are a whole family of transmission oils which are dyed red. Just because it’s red, it doesn’t mean that Dexron II will necessarily be the right product to use as a top-up or replacement oil in that gear box. There is a high level of sophistication now to the driveline of a modern commercial vehicle. The transmission oil is as critical a fit as the engine oil. Always check the make and model of the gear box. With that information you can gain advice on the quality of oil required. Whether it’s red or not is not relevant. It’s just a cosmetic dye and means nothing.
Can I use one oil across my entire fleet?
The only way to assess whether it’s possible to rationalise to one lubricant is to do a full fleet survey. To offer one oil without the detail of the makes and models involved would be a dangerous game. It might be possible to use just one oil if a fleet is made up of vehicles which are all the same make, even if they are perhaps different models. Take Scania, for example. We have an approved product which will pretty much be suitable for all Scania trucks. But on the other hand, there might not be one oil which is suitable for all the MANs in a fleet, as different engine types require different specifications. One oil is ideal, but this can only be recommended if the mix of vehicles lends itself to this type of rationalisation. You may need several lubricants to achieve coverage.
Can I use the product in my car?
The chemistry used in formulating heavy duty diesel engine lubricants is designed around the workload and capacities of a big diesel unit. Their engines are running very differently to your average 1.9 turbo diesel passenger car. Heavy duty diesel engines will have lots of after-treatment devices and lubricants need to have better protection against soot thickening and soot wear issues. Passenger cars potentially have a higher speed of operation, are more fuel economy sensitive and carry lighter loads. You cannot have one oil formulation which is going to look after a passenger car and all the ins and outs of heavy duty diesel. You can get mixed fleet lubricants and they will look after older passenger cars, but with newer engines, you won’t get one formulation which is going to protect 100 per cent efficiently both commercial vehicles and passenger cars.
For more information on our range of commercial lubricants please contact your local depot who will be happy to answer your questions.