Select the Right Fluids for Cold Weather Operation by ProQuest


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									Oils   I   & Lubricants

Select the Right Fluids for
 Cold Weather Operation
                       Don’t let slow fluids hurt performance.
                                                                          By Kim Berndtson

F   or contractors in the Upper
    Midwest, record-setting 70°+
temperatures at the beginning of
                                                                                                                               tors like us to use more synthetic
                                                                                                                               oils. And in fact, some oil specifica-
                                                                                                                               tions can’t be met without using a
November were followed by snow                                                                                                 synthetic oil.”
flurries and below-normal tempera-
tures a few days later. So while the                                                                                           Match viscosity
calendar may say it’s December, the                                                                                            ratings to temps
unpredictability of the weather —                                                                                                  Whether synthetic- or mineral-
regardless of where you live — can                                                                                             based, choose an engine oil with
make it difficult to know what to do                                                                                           a viscosity grade that maintains
with your fluids program to maxi-                                                                                              pumpability when the temperature
mize performance.                                                                                                              drops. In general, most will stay fluid
   That’s why it’s important to                                                                                                to -20° F. But if you live in an area
anticipate what weather is normally                                                                                            where it can drop to -40° F, you need
like in your area. “In places like                                                                                             to pay extra attention. “There will be
Wisconsin, at this time of year, you                                                                                           a big difference in performance,” says
know it won’t stay in the 70s for                                                                                              Gapinski. “For temps below -40° F,
long,” says Dan Arcy, technical man-                                                                                           you will need a specialty fluid.”
ager, Shell Global Solutions.            Make sure the fuel and fluids used in your equipment can provide the                      Multi-grade oils, like a 10W-30,
   All fluids used in heavy-duty         protection required throughout the colder months.                                     will have better low-temperature
equipment are susceptible to poor                                                                                              properties than mono-grade oils,
performance in colder weather, notes     flow, the transmission and hydraulic           Many contractors turn to syn-          such as an SAE 30. “That’s because
Richard Gapinski, BP Lubricants.         systems wouldn’t operate at all,” says     thetic engine oils during the winter       they contain a viscosity modifier,”
Colder temperatures can slow or stop     Gapinski. “If they’re put in motion        because they maintain better fluidity.     says Gapinski. “When these are pres-
their flow, which can cause excessive    without the proper lubrication, you        “Synthetics will flow better in cold       ent, they help flatten the response of
wear or, in the worst-case scenario,     can have a lot of expensive repairs.”      temperatures,” says Arcy. “You will be     an oil to temperature. The higher the
equipment failure.                           Diesel fuel is also more vulnerable    able to get the oil to the critical part   viscosity index number, the less the
   Although wear actually decreases      to colder ambient temperatures than        of the engine faster, and it will take     fluid changes with temperature.”
with thicker fluid, there comes a        gasoline, says Arcy. Make sure any         less energy to start that vehicle.”            For multi-grade oils, the number
point where it can become too thick      fuel you purchase is designed for the          Although mineral-based oils are        in front of the “W” is a measure
to flow. “If the viscosity increases     temperatures you will be working in        more prone to solidifying in the           of pumping and cranking perfor-
severely, the lubricant will cease to    for the time frame it takes to empty       cold, Group II mineral oils are less       mance, with each step lower (15W,
flow and damage to the equipment         your storage tanks. “If a tank lasts a     susceptible than Group I oils. That’s      10W, 5W, 0W) representing a 5° C
could occur,” says Gapinski. And         couple of months, consider the typi-       because Group II oils are more high-       (9° F) increase in low-temperature
even if excessive wear doesn’t show      cal ambient temperatures for that          ly refined; wax and other compo-           capability, explains Eric Olsen, lubri-
up immediately, a few months down        entire time period,” he says. “You         nents that can cause the oil to turn       cants technology, engine oils team,
the road, you may have a failure         don’t want it to gel up.”                  into a solid at low temperatures have      Chevron Global Lubricants.
that could be related to fluid perfor-       Pay special attention to biodiesel.    been removed.                                  “Generally, an SAE 15W-40
mance over the winter.                   It has different flow properties, so           Synthetic oils are becoming more       will have good pumpability down
                                         talk with your fuel supplier to ensure     common because the price difference        to -25° C (-13° F), while an SAE
Effects based                            you’re covered for the
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