Testing of great lengths … and miles

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Safety-Kleen is a company mostly synonymous with part cleansing systems, lubricant recycling, and other “shop safety” products. Yet the company also produces a line of engine oils under the brand name “EcoPower” that’s made from all that waste motor oil it collects under contract from dealerships, repair facilities, fleet shops, you name it.

In talking with Curt Knapp (at right), senior VP and chief marketing officer for Safety-Kleen, at special engine teardown event the firm hosted this week, it became pretty clear that the company is pushing hard to change the image of “recycled, re-refined” engine oil in the minds of truckers: namely, that it’s just as good a motor oil as anything else out on the market, while at the same time it’s almost a completely recycled product thus helping the consumption of so called “virgin petroleum” by the industry.

[You can view more photos of the event by clicking here.]

That’s why Safety-Kleen put a lot of time, money, effort, and (of course) miles into a nearly five-year million-mile test program it recently wrapped up – a program guided by third-part testing firm Infineum using two Peterbilt 387 tractors equipped with 455-hp Cummins ISX 15-liter engines.

Pat Fetterman, Infineum’s industry liaison advisor, explains below some of the major findings from this long-term test program – the biggest one being that the recycle and re-refined EcoPower motor oil protected the two Cummins engines just fine over their million-mile operating life.

Fetterman also shared some of his insight as to what he looks for when conducting oil analysis: a critical part of this million-mile testing effort, as analysis of the oil every 15,000, 25,000 and 40,000 miles – the 40,000 mile mark also being when the EcoPower oil got changed in these test trucks – allowed Infineum to determine whether the oil “performed its proper job,” he explained.

Safety-Kleen noted that it plans to reveal much of the data gleaned for its million-mile test of EcoPower by mid August this year, with further details gathered from the engine control modules (ECMs) on fuel economy and engine power to be released in September.

That’ll give fleets even more information to review to see if recycled, re-refined motor oils might work for them. We’ll see. 

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