There's more to the oil in your engine than you may think, especially with improvements in engine oil technology over the past decade. The right engine oil will provide longer drain intervals, higher performance and better protection. Some of the benefits include extending the time between oil drains and protecting vehicles in extreme operating conditions.

The Shell Rotella Synthetic and Synthetic Blend oils you put in your truck's engine are developed as the result of hundreds of thousands of hours of chemical engineering, testing, and refinement. So, what does Shell do to make today's synthetic engine oils so much more efficient and high-performing than either earlier or lower specification lubricants? As with many things in life, what you get out of a lubricant depends on what you put into it.

There are two import things that determine the quality of engine oil (or any other lubricant): the quality of the base oil and the additives used to enhance the protection offered by the engine oil. Over the last decade, Shell has improved upon the base oil used in its lubricants. Changes to the refinement process have created base oils in which the bonds between molecules are stronger, making the oil more resistant to high engine temperatures.

The additives in diesel engine oil have made a significant difference as well. This includes the use of more and improved antioxidants that adapt physically and chemically when required, to provide robust protection of the engine. The powerful combination of superior base oil and adaptive additive technology are what make Triple Protection Plus™ Technology in Shell Rotella Synthetic and Synthetic Blend oils able to provide enhanced oxidation control1, improved shear stability2 and aeration control.

Triple Protection Plus Technology helps to make the oil effective for longer, allowing the time between oil drains to be extended - saving money and cutting down on maintenance.3 The ability to maximize oil drain intervals can save money by reducing avoidable downtime and keep trucks on the road longer.

Oil Drain Interval

The main function of engine oil is to reduce friction in your engine and to ensure that no two moving parts are directly in contact with each other without a lubricating film of oil between them. Oil also has other important roles such as transferring heat away from the moving parts of your engine and removing or neutralizing impurities and foreign particles that would otherwise clog filters, piston rings and other key components.

However, engine oil has a useful lifespan. After it's been in the engine for many miles, the heat and stress it's been working under reduce its lubricating properties. It also becomes contaminated with particulates, soot and other substances which make it less effective. This means that you have to drain used oil and replace it with fresh oil.

The maximum time you can go between oil drains depends on the type of the engine oil you use, the manufacturer's guidelines for your truck - or more specifically, your truck's engine - and your operating conditions. If you leave the oil in longer than prescribed by the manufacture, engine performance may suffer, and your oil may not be protecting your engine well enough. You may even void your engine's warranty.

Trucks that operate in dirty, dusty and heavy-load conditions will need their oil changed earlier than vehicles operating under less demanding conditions. Your OEM's guidelines will take this into account - providing synthetic blend oils are suited to operate in harsh or cold environments.

An oil that is suited to operate in all types of environments is Shell Rotella® T5 Synthetic Blend 10W-30. The oil has better cold cranking properties and low temperature pumpability at -13°F and -22°F (-25°C and -30°C) respectively. That means it reaches critical engine parts faster in cold temperatures, minimizing engine wear and making hard work easier in harsh environments.

Understanding the manufacturer's guidelines for draining your oil and using a high-quality Shell Rotella engine oil that meets API CK-4 specifications will maximize the number of miles you can drive between oil changes. Be certain to review your maintenance practices to be sure you are not draining your oil before it is necessary. Often, the oil drain tends to get changed when the truck goes in for its service, on the theory that it's just less hassle to do everything at one time. But if you do this, you may be draining oil that has months or thousands of miles left in it4 which will cost you money in additional oil changes.

1 When compared to previous formulations

2 When compared to previous formulations

3 Always follow the ODI recommendations provided by the maker of your truck. Extending oil-drain intervals is only a good idea if it is officially approved by the manufacturer of your truck and is conducted with the support of a Shell Technical Advisor coupled with the use of oil analysis like Shell LubeAnalyst.

4 ODIs are measured in time or distance, depending on the OEM specification