• Less depreciation: optimal lubrication increases a truck’s resale price, returning up to 5% more than similar but less well-maintained vehicles.

The built-in performance reserve of top tier fluids offers fleet managers three clear routes to enhancing fleet profitability. These value-added claims, validated by engine testing, are now a more attractive marketing proposition than ever.

Greater reliability

Unplanned downtime causes fleet managers far more than just a financial headache. Keeping trucks running is essential for meeting pickup and delivery schedules and maintaining high service levels. Truck breakdowns mean unhappy customers and ultimately can result in lost business.

Higher-grade performance engine oils offer better piston cleanliness and protection from cylinder liner wear, minimising the risk of vehicle breakdowns and customer service disruptions.

Fleets with a reputation for good reliability may also attract resale prices up to 5% higher when their trucks are sold on at end of life. Helping to reduce vehicle depreciation is therefore another way in which top tier oils can add significant value.

Higher productivity

Safely extending the driving distance between oil changes also enables fleets to extract maximum value from each truck.

With the right additive package to protect against oil oxidation, top tier oils can extend their piston cleanliness performance, helping trucks to stay on the road for longer without compromising engine reliability. This can reduce maintenance costs by up to 10%. While this may seem insignificant for a single truck, the impact of longer maintenance intervals can be considerable when aggregated across an entire fleet.

Take a typical European fleet of 100 trucks, each covering an average of 120,000 km per year. Switching from a mainstream to top tier oil could extend the drain interval by as much as 50%. Over a three-year period, that would save a total of 120 days’ downtime for oil changes; the equivalent of keeping a truck on the road for 3 extra days every month.

Better fuel economy With fuel making up around a third of fleet operating costs, there is a powerful incentive to minimise fuel consumption – by optimising driver behaviour and also engine efficiency. From a lubricant perspective, reducing viscous drag within the fluid improves engine efficiency – so lower viscosity engine oils are inherently desirable.

Viscous drag is most apparent where there are fine tolerances between very hot moving surfaces – such as in the piston ring and cylinder liner area, the bearings and the camshaft. Fluids with dynamic viscosity characteristics that minimise friction under these challenging conditions, the so-called low High Temperature, High Shear (HTHS) oils, can further increase this efficiency.

Imagine again the same fleet of 100 trucks. Each drives an average of 120,000 km per year with an average fuel consumption of 35 litres per 100 km. If diesel sells at €1.45 per litre, changing the fleet’s mainstream SAE 10W-40 oil for a SAE 5W-30 oil (typical top tier lubricant) would save in excess of €50,000 in fuel costs every year.

Paying more pays off

In the highly competitive logistics market, it is extremely challenging to turn a profit – which is why there has been a proliferation of tools and services to refine fleet management.

Taking a simple cost-cutting approach and using mainstream lubricants might seem appealing as a part of a simple cost-cutting exercise. However, as Afton’s recent Heavy Duty survey of fleet managers shows, doing this overlooks the negative impact of lower efficiency and reliability on both finances and service levels.

The superior productivity and efficiency that top tier engine oil offers fleet managers not only outweighs the higher cost of the lubricant itself, it can increase customer satisfaction.

Flexible partners

Close collaboration between additive supplier and OEMs at an early stage of development is key to success. This approach is used to facilitate the formulation of engine oils that enable current OEM hardware and future designs to perform optimally, across a range of viscosity grades, with greater

Continued on page 12 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.164 AUGUST 2021 11

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