When having to choose the proper oil for diesel tractor engines, it is best to check the owner’s manual for each tractor.
Please note that oil for diesel tractor engines has been respecified to meet new government standards for emissions and fuel efficiency. Your manuals may not be up to date, so you might need to grab your equipment’s serial number, model number, and ask your dealer what is the latest diesel engine specification for your equipment.
Because of the recent fuel efficiency and emissions requirement standards, diesel engine oils have the CK-4 specification. This new specification offers formulations that can withstand the much higher operating temperatures created by the latest generation diesel engines that have been engineered to operate more efficiently and cleaner.
Your first step is to determine the age of each piece of equipment in your fleet. The latest CK-4 specification has been designed to be compatible with all diesel engines, which would include older tractors. This means that a diesel engine with an American Petroleum Institute designation of CK-4 is backward compatible with CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, & CH-4 diesel engine oils. Typically, you’ll have access to the same viscosities or SAE grades you have used in the past, such as 15W40, 10W30, SAE 30, etc.
The next area to consider in choosing oil for diesel tractor engines would be whether you decide to use conventional (petroleum), synthetic-blend, or 100% full synthetic. The difference between the three is fairly obvious. Petroleum-based oils have the longest history and if we needed to grade from good, better, and best, petroleum rates as “good.” Synthetic-blend would be rated as “better.” Finally, 100% full synthetic could be considered the “best.” With that said, any one of the three, if they utilize quality chemistry, then choosing one of the three would be fine.
For the sake of this blog post, we’ve decided to choose a synthetic-blend engine oil. In terms of value and benefit for the money invested in such a lubricant, a synthetic-blend brings you the best of both worlds. Being that it’s a combination of the finest highly refined petroleum base stocks available, along with a combination of synthetic base oils, you end up with a diesel engine oil that can deliver superior wear protection, can extend drain intervals, will provide increased fuel economy, and will reduce friction.
As an example, a superior synthetic-blend diesel engine oil for tractors will contain a careful balance of additives, perfectly formulated with the proper synthetic-blend base oils. When the temperature is cold during startup and during wintertime temperatures, utilizing an engine oil containing synthetic base stocks will aid in having oil that circulates through the engine quickly. Dry starts are where most of the engine wear occurs, so a synthetic-blend vastly reduces wear during dry starts. This feature alone is enough reason to choose a synthetic-blend over a straight conventional diesel engine oil.
The flip side to cold weather or cold temperature lubrication operation would be how an oil manages high-temperature environments. A top tier synthetic-blend diesel engine oil that is being presented in this blog post utilizes base oils that are thermally stable, contain the best antioxidant additive chemistry, and contain the best anti-friction modifying chemistry. This advanced chemistry works together synergistically by providing the correct high-shear viscosity / high-temperature balance. One can expect anywhere from 1% to 3.5% fuel economy improvements.
We’ve tried to offer some basic insight in regards to choosing the best oil for diesel tractor engines. You have choices and technical data to think about and compare. You have choices in the types of oil to use and hopefully, we’ve shed a little light in helping you make the right decision that could lead to longer equipment life and more profits for your operation.