The oil we use in our engines has changed quite a bit over the years. Most shops today, are on an API category CJ-4 oil. While this oil can be used in today's modern diesel, there’s a new category designated FA-4, which will better exploit the benefits of your 2017, and newer, Detroit DD series engines. FA-4 10W-30 oil has been the factory fill oil in Detroit DD series engines since 2017. To give you a little of history, in the past, the most common diesel engine oil was a 15W-40 API CJ-4/CK-4. This oil was backward compatible for many engines, so a lot of fleets and shops stayed with this grade of oil, in order to avoid confusion. The common 15W-40 oil was replaced by 5W/10W-30 API CJ-4/CK-4 from a .5 % to 1.5% fuel economy improvement. In addition, the factory recommended that oil change intervals continue to increase. 

At this point, a fuel-efficient long haul DD15 engine had a recommended oil change interval of every 50,000 miles. This was unheard of at the time. In 2017, with the adoption of the API FA-4 category of oil, the same engine operating in a fuel-efficient (7 miles per gallon) long haul duty cycle saw its oil change interval extend all the way out to 75,000 miles.

To put this in perspective, when I first started driving trucks, it was a common practice to install a new rod and main crankshaft bearings every 250,000 miles. Now we talk about oil change intervals of every 75,000 miles. This is only 3.33 oil changes in the time period where partial engine overhauls were performed in the past.

Today's engines not only operate cleaner and are more fuel-efficient, but have also extended the time period between oil changes, and for that matter engine overhauls. Sure, many of us old-timers long for the time of the past. But this is one area where massive improvements have been made.  

Take advantage of all the positives that technology, through better oils and engine management, has brought to us in regards to efficiency.

Here is some additional information regarding this subject:


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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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