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Regular Oil Changes Maximize Fleet Vehicle Performance

Imagine if you went through life without paying any attention to your health. You’d feel sluggish and would probably develop serious health problems. Fleet vehicles are no different. Without regular oil changes, their life expectancy is limited.

Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for your fleet vehicles enhances their performance, longevity, and overall efficiency.

Regular oil changes are part of routine upkeep. Failing to keep your fleet’s engines properly lubricated now can lead to more expensive repairs later.

In this blog, we answer some of the most common questions about regular oil changes for fleet vehicles, including:

Why are regular oil changes essential for fleet vehicle performance?

You need a fleet of vehicles that perform reliably and consistently. Regular oil changes ensure the engine operates at peak performance, delivering adequate power. Vehicles with well-maintained engines exhibit smoother acceleration and responsiveness and have a longer lifespan.

Some of the other reasons why sticking to an oil change schedule is important include:

  • Engine lubrication and cooling. Engine oil serves as a lubricant, reducing the friction between moving engine parts. Proper lubrication prevents excessive wear and tear, allowing engine components to work smoothly and efficiently. Additionally, oil helps dissipate heat to maintain optimal engine temperature to prevent overheating.
  • Minimized wear and tear. Some fleet vehicles cover significant distances, putting extra stress on their engines. Clean and fresh oil provides a protective barrier between engine parts, reducing friction, and minimizing wear.
  • Optimal fuel efficiency. Clean engine oil improves engine efficiency, which contributes to better fuel combustion. The improved fuel economy, coupled with reduced fuel consumption, leads to substantial savings for fleet operators over time.
  • Prevention of contaminant buildup. Over time, engine oil accumulates contaminants such as dirt, debris, and metal particles. These impurities hinder engine performance and can cause damage. Regular oil changes drain out the old, contaminated oil and replace it with clean oil to prevent the buildup of harmful substances.
  • Compliance with warranty requirements. If your fleet vehicles are new and have a manufacturer’s warranty, failing to follow the recommended schedule for oil changes can void the coverage.
A driver sits behind the wheel of a fleet vehicle.

What’s the connection between regular oil changes and engine lifespan?

The connection between regular oil changes and the engine lifespan of a fleet vehicle is rooted in the critical role that engine oil plays in maintaining engine health and overall vehicle longevity.

One of the biggest benefits of regular oil changes that directly impact how long your fleets’ engines last is the removal of contaminants from the oil. Regular oil changes rid your engine of any debris, dirt, or metal particles and replace them with fresh, clean oil.

Other ways changing your oil helps extend engine life include:

  • Prevention of engine damage. As oil circulates through the engine, it collects contaminants. Over time, those impurities form sludge in your engine, which clogs oil passages and restricts lubrication. Clean oil prevents the buildup of sludge, reducing the risk of engine damage caused by poor lubrication.
  • Dissipation of heat. Engine oil works with your fleet vehicle’s cooling system to carry heat away from critical engine components. Overheating causes stress on engine parts and leads to premature wear. Regular oil changes help maintain the oil’s cooling properties.
  • Protection from corrosion. Engine oil contains additives that prevent corrosion and oxidation of engine parts. Over time, these additives break down, leaving engine components vulnerable to corrosion. Regular oil changes ensure that these additives are replenished, preventing corrosion-related damage, and extending the life of engine parts.
  • Preservation of resale value. Fleet vehicles with documentation of consistent maintenance records fetch a higher resale value.

How do oil changes prevent breakdowns and costly repairs?

Think of engine oil as the lifeblood of your fleet vehicle. It lubricates and cools engine components and provides energy for efficient operation. Without it, your fleet vehicles wouldn’t perform to standards.

One of the most costly mistakes fleet owners make is to think they can push back the time between oil changes to save money.  Failing to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes can end up costing you more money in the form of expensive repairs.

Effective engine lubrication reduces friction and prevents metal-to-metal contact. It stops excessive wear on bearings, camshafts, and pistons, which keeps your fleet’s engines humming along smoothly.

Regular oil changes offer the opportunity for the early detection of other issues. Mechanics inspect the engine for signs of damage, leaks, or other abnormalities while changing the oil. Catching problems early allows for timely repairs and reduces the likelihood of a breakdown.

Fleet vehicle oil changes require the right type of oil. A mechanic pours engine oil into a fleet vehicle during an oil change.

How do you know what type of oil to use?

Like passenger vehicles, fleets have specific guidelines for what type of oil works best for maintaining engine health. The first and most reliable resource for determining what type of oil to use is your owner’s manual.

Fleet vehicle owner’s manuals typically specify the recommended oil viscosity, type (conventional or synthetic), and any other manufacturer-approved oil standards.

Some of the other factors that affect what type of oil to use include:

  • Age and mileage. Newer fleet vehicles might require synthetic oils because of their improved durability and performance. Older vehicles might still benefit from conventional oils. However, synthetic blends provide enhanced protection.
  • Operating conditions. If your fleet vehicles operate in extreme conditions such as high temperatures or pulling heavy loads, you may need oils with higher viscosity or specific additives to handle the stress. Stop-and-go or frequently idling vehicles might benefit from oils designed for that kind of driving.
  • Fuel filter type. Some filter types are designed to work optimally with specific types of oil. When changing the oil, make sure the filter and oil are compatible. You can find this information in the owner’s manual, or by consulting a fleet mechanic.

When in doubt, ask a trusted fleet mechanic which type of oil works best for protecting and extending your fleet vehicle’s engine life.

What are some common misconceptions about fleet oil changes?

There are several misconceptions about fleet vehicle oil changes that can lead to incorrect maintenance practices. Addressing these misunderstandings is crucial for maintaining the health and performance of your fleet.

Some of the most common false impressions include:

  • Frequent oil changes are always better. While regular oil changes are essential, changing oil too frequently might not provide significant benefits. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and consider factors like vehicle usage, oil type, and operating conditions before deciding on intervals.
  • Synthetic oil lasts forever. Synthetic oil generally has a longer lifespan than conventional oil. However, that doesn’t mean they never need changing. Synthetic oil still degrades over time, risking contamination.
  • Any oil works for my fleet vehicles. Not all engine oils are created equally. Using the wrong type or viscosity can damage your engine, decrease performance, and reduce fuel efficiency. Always use oil that meets manufacturer recommendations.
  • Changing the oil filter is enough. Changing the filter is important, but it doesn’t replace the need for fresh oil. The oil degrades over time, losing its ability to protect the engine, even if the filter is replaced.
  • Higher viscosity oil is always better for heavy-duty vehicles. Choosing a higher-viscosity oil for heavy-duty vehicles might seem logical. However, it can hinder the flow and lubrication of engine oil in colder temperatures. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate viscosity.

Creating an effective strategy for fleet oil changes

Rio Grande Automotive’s skilled fleet technicians can help you create an effective strategy for your fleet’s regular oil changes. Our team has extensive experience in keeping your fleet at peak performance.

Stop by our shop or give us a call to schedule a service appointment. We can handle even the largest fleet’s needs.

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