As the colder weather sets in, Total Lubricants has released guidance for road haulage and logistics operators regarding the importance of appropriate engine oil and coolant selection.
“HGVs always have to work hard carrying heavy loads but even more so in winter, and lubricants and coolants play a key role in maintaining the reliability of vehicles, which is a top priority for fleet managers,” said Bob Wood, technical engineer at Total Lubricants.
“Cold weather reduces the effectiveness of oil and makes it thicker, meaning it does not circulate through the engine as easily as thinner oil, which can lead to damage to the engine components, and even failure to start.
“Using the right type of oil is therefore essential to engine health and performance. If it is too thick it may prevent the engine from starting and if it is too thin, it won’t provide adequate protection. The ‘W’ on the code on the label stands for ‘winter’ and indicates the oil’s cold weather ability. The lower the number next to the ‘W’, the more effectively it will perform in cold weather.”
The company says its Total Rubia Fuel Economy (FE) range offers excellent engine protection, reduced component wear, enhanced fuel economy and improved performance.
“Total Rubia TIR 9900 FE 5W-30 offers highly extended oil drain intervals due to outstanding anti-oxidant and corrosion properties, resulting in improved added value through cost savings in maintenance, plus first-rate engine protection and piston cleanliness,” Bob continued.
“Its fully synthetic composition allows excellent thermal stability and easier cold start performance.”
As well as oil, it is also important to check the coolant level and concentration regularly during the winter months, he adds, to ensure protection at sub-zero temperatures.
“Coolants are a necessity all year round, but the winter brings significant challenges that can affect the performance of the cooling system, making it more difficult to start vehicles on freezing mornings,” he said.
“The cooling system in a commercial vehicle’s engine helps prevent damage caused by freezing, cavitation, corrosion, overheating and the formation of deposits.
“Should the cooling system not function correctly, the engine will begin to fail, as could the radiator, water pump, head gasket or engine block. In the worst-case scenario the engine could overheat and seize.
“Total Lubricants offers a suite of premium quality and officially approved OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) products for vans, trucks, HGVs and a raft of other vehicles. The range, which is formulated based on Organic Acid Technology (OAT), includes ready-to-use and concentrate types, and many products that provide protection against freezing, even as low as -37°C.”
Total Coolelf and Glacelf coolants contain the additives required to protect a full range of different types of vehicles, says Total, while providing exceptional performance in freezing temperatures.
“The Glacelf SI-OAT is the concentrate which is added to de-mineralised water at different concentrations to give the desired low temperature operation: freezing point -20°C at 33 per cent and -37°C at 50 per cent,” added Bob.
“This product is a ‘very-long-life’ antifreeze made of monoethylene glycol, whilst the Coolelf SI-OAT -37°C is already mixed ready for use.”
Cited advantages of OAT included increased heat transfer efficiency, extended coolant life, superior high temperature aluminium protection, up to 50 per cent extended water pump life, and excellent cavitation protection.
Total also highlights high temperature oxidation stability, reduced cooling system scaling and deposits, a reduction in required product disposal, environmentally friendly inhibitors, and decreased maintenance costs as key benefits of its OAT offering.
Bob Wood added: “Keeping vehicles on the road and preventing downtime is essential for logistics operators, so, when the temperature starts to drop, using the right lubricant and coolant can go a long way towards keeping hard-working, heavy-duty vehicles operating in peak condition.”
Total Lubricants also offers an oil analysis service, ANAC (Analysis Compared), which fleets can use to help identify and prevent engine health issues before they become serious problems.