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Keep your equipment running smoothly with the best engine oil for the job

Heavy equipment engines are similar to those used in passenger cars and trucks, but they operate in much more demanding environments. Choosing the right engine oil for your heavy equipment — whether you’re operating a single skid, running a farm, or managing a fleet of construction equipment — is critical to keeping your business running smoothly. After all, if your heavy equipment gas or diesel engine is down, your business is down too.

Choosing the correct engine oil for your heavy equipment can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The best place to start is with your owner’s manual. Choose a lubricant with the viscosity grade recommended by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the life of the engine, and especially during its warranty period.

Viscosity: What do all those numbers mean?

What’s the difference between a 5W-20, 10W-30, or SAE 40 engine oil? Viscosity grades for engine oils are primarily recommended according to the expected temperature that the equipment will be operated at, especially the starting temperature.

In reality, an engine oil’s operating temperature does not change significantly even in different ambient temperatures (like winter and summer), so the OEM-recommended viscosity is quite consistent for various applications. Therefore, you can select the lightest oil your manufacturer recommends for your climate and usage scenario.

The main difference is the viscosity grade “W”, which relates to the starting temperature, as this will determine the lubricant viscosity, its pumpability, and readiness to lubricate the engine. Lighter oils flow better when cold, reducing startup wear. They also improve fuel economy and engine cooling.

For example, a 5W viscosity grade requires the lubricant to flow properly at lower temperatures than a 15W viscosity grade, so it is expected to be used at lower starting temperatures. In tropical weather, most OEMs still recommend multi-grade products, such as SAE 15W-40, because the lubricant flows faster through the engine than a pure SAE 40 even at higher ambient temperatures.

Engine oil classifications

Choosing a high-quality oil is another important consideration when selecting an engine oil for your heavy equipment. In the U.S., engine oil quality certification or performance level is determined by the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Pay close attention to what your engine requires, based on OEM recommendations. Currently, there are four API diesel engine oil classifications. API CH-4 was introduced in 1998, replacing CD, CE, CF-4, and CG-4 oils. API CI-4, CJ-4, and CK-4 were introduced in 2002, 2010, and 2017, respectively. If your engine calls for API CJ-4, you can safely use a CK-4 oil, but not a CI-4 engine oil, for example. Additionally, the latest API FA-4 engine oil is completely incompatible with all API Cx classifications.

Some OEM recommendations exceed the generalized API classifications. Engines using EGR and ACERT emissions-reduction technology are more prone to acid and soot production, for which some OEMs have implemented their own oil classifications. Your oil selection should meet or exceed these specifications, but no manufacturer can require you to purchase a certain brand to maintain the warranty.

Base oils: Conventional or Synthetic

Just like engine oils for cars and trucks, heavy equipment diesel engine oils are either conventional mineral oil-based, synthetic, or a blend of conventional and synthetic. Synthetic engine oils for heavy equipment contain more highly refined base oils than those used in conventional mineral oils, which offer added protection and performance.

All engine oils are made from crude oil. However, synthetic engine oil is made from more advanced refining processes and is higher in purity and quality than conventional mineral oils. The refining processes not only remove more impurities from the crude oil but also enable individual molecules in the oil to be tailored to the demands of modern engines. These customized molecules provide higher levels of protection and performance.

Synthetic or synthetic-blended oils are formulated with additives that can extend oil change intervals and promote longer engine life. A 5W-40 weight synthetic oil is usually capable of providing protection in harsh conditions as cold as minus 40 degrees F and as hot as 120 degrees F.

The benefits of premium engine oils

Two identical pieces of equipment won’t always need oil changes at the same time. The first could work for 500 hours without an oil change, while the second could need an oil change after 200 hours. This difference in performance usually results from three issues:

    • Frequent use of the engine and operating the equipment non-stop can cause stress and reduce oil efficiency.
    • Rough handling by the operator or using equipment in dusty or extreme environmental conditions can impact oil change intervals.
    • Poor-quality oil won’t last as long as high-quality oil and can damage your equipment’s engine.

Premium engine oils, which are typically synthetic, enhance the fuel economy, engine purity, ignition ability, and driving performance of a vehicle. Premium engine oils may not be the most inexpensive option, but they offer savings that add up over time from longer maintenance periods

You can choose an inexpensive product for shorter oil and maintenance intervals, or a higher–priced product for longer intervals.

Phillips 66® Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oils

Maximum loads. Long hours. Punishing environments. They can all extract a toll on your heavy-duty equipment. And as if that wasn’t enough, environmental regulations only increase the challenges. That’s where Phillips 66 comes in. Our premium products don’t just meet these extreme demands. They exceed them and protect your equipment.

Phillips 66 Lubricants has refreshed our modern heavy duty engine oil line so that more of our best products are united under the most trusted and recognized name in our portfolio: Guardol®. From the premium protection and fuel efficiency of full synthetic to the reliability of conventional, you can count on Guardol to supply the right oil for every machine in your fleet. All your heavy duty needs are covered by the new lineup.

Learn more about Phillips 66 heavy duty diesel engine oils.