Surprise! Conventional Oil Is Still Popular For Fleets

Fleet Maintenance Magazine recently released the findings of an extensive study for those who own and operate trucks for their fleets. Two surprises are there for those of us who want to be keepers of our light-duty trucks.

bySteven Lang|
Surprise! Conventional Oil Is Still Popular For Fleets

Why spend seven bucks a quart for synthetic motor oil if your engine runs perfectly fine on the conventional stuff?

The oil retailers are more than happy to promote what is one of the biggest myths in the car business, and that is synthetic oils are inherently better than their conventional counterparts. Therefore you should pay more for the good stuff.

It's not true. What matters most when it comes to all things motor are two things. The additive package and whether you simply follow what is recommended in your owner's manual. Follow that? You're good. Manufacturers employ small armies of chemical engineers who figure these things out for all of us so that we don't have to be swayed by the anecdotal evidence that's offered throughout the internet. 

Fleet Maintenance magazine recently developed an extensive study on the maintenance regimen for light-and-heavy duty trucks and there were two eyebrow raising surprises.

1) Conventional oils are used just as often as synthetic oils by those folks who maintain fleets of trucks for a living. 

2) Synthetic transmission fluids are more popular than synthetic motor oils

Anyone who has ventured through the Long-Term Quality Index has found that for most cars and light-duty trucks, it's not the engine that usually breaks first, it's the transmission.  Sealed transmissions and the mythical lifetime fluids within them add a lot more cost to the ownership experience, but it's rarely reported on by the mainstream media because these issues typically happen well after the new car warranty expires. 

Those who maintain trucks that often cost well into the six-figures already know that transmission fluid needs to be changed, preferably a 'drain and fill' with a synthetic transmission fluid. Trucks can handle a lot more abuse than cars and they also have larger sumps that handle a greater volume of fluid to protect your powertrain. Yet those transmission fluids need changing at some point.  

You can find the study here