As fleets continue to be driven by the need to lower costs and reduce maintenance expenses, the extended service diesel oil filter is getting another look. The fact is, oi filters play a crucial role in the life and health of your engine and use of premium heavy duty engine oil. But whether or not you decide to run longer service intervals requires great consideration.
Today we will take a look at the merits of a longer service interval and different types of oil filters available. We’ll answer whether or not there’s any merit to extending oil drain intervals, their cost/benefit equation and potential risks. First, let’s take a deeper look at what extended oil drain intervals are.
The Extended Oil Drain Service Interval
First, you may be asking what an extended drain oil filter is. First, it’s important to discuss what a longer drain interval entails. While a lot of fleets have the old-school mentality of changing their oil filter every 10,000 or 15,000 miles, the rules of the modern day road no longer require such frequent oil changing.
Today, many a fleet walks the balancing act of a 40,000 – 50,000-mile drain. Remember, this doesn’t mean you won’t be getting your hands dirty. It’s still vitally important to make sure you are lubing chassis components and performance regular inspections and oil analysis checks.
When running in an extended drain scenario, oil filters are hugely important. Longer drains mean you’ll need a more robust filter. Some filters are specifically designed to enable greater drain intervals.
This is why it’s especially important that you focus on where you are getting the oil filter directly from an OEM or reputable aftermarket manufacturer. If you have an engine break down and the manufacturer determines it was the result of poor or unapproved filtration, they could deny warranty coverage.
For instance, if you are buying a high efficiency filter, does it have enough capacity? If you don’t have the containment holding ability you need for each drain interval, you will run into problems.
Think of it this way: If you want to double the time between your service interval, you’ll have to double the capacity of contaminants your filter will collect. Traditional cellulose filters may not work. Instead, filters with a synthetic mesh may be your best bet.
How Does It Work?
While many suppliers point to the removal of soot and other contaminants as the primary factor in how well a filter performs, particulate matter isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. Consider that removing a smaller solid piece of particulate bears little bearing on the oil oxidation or depletion rate. While containment control is important for engine wear, it doesn’t bear as much on oil life.
Complex synthetic engine oils are formulated with a precise balance of chemicals that act to neutralize acids and prevent oxidation. When you let your oil go for too long, these additives can start to break down and lose their effectiveness.
Once this happens, not only will the oil lose its ability to protect, cool and clean the engine, but it may also clog up your filter. Never overuse the oil to a point where the additive package forms an unruly sludge.
Finally, you want to closely evaluate the type of filter you are using. There are essentially four different filter types for you to consider:
- OEM: OEM filters will generally have more robust filtering media. They will also be certified by the manufacturer to work with particular vehicle types, leaving less to guesswork.
- Aftermarket: If you are looking for a cost-effective solution, go with aftermarket filters. Just make sure there are no compatibility questions before you make your choice.
- Centrifuge/bypass: These days, there may be less use for filters of these types. They are costly and may not result in higher performance.
- Additive filters: As we mentioned, additives help prolong the life of your filter. Still, use them sparingly and only as directed.
As always, remember that your engine is the heart of your car and your oil its blood. Keep your truck heart healthy by choosing an oil filter and extended drain solution that’s right for your needs.