FLEET MAINTENANCE O IL STUDY
Do you use synthetic
14 Fleet Maintenance | MAY 2017
An interesting trend when comparing the
two Fleet Maintenance Oil Study results
is the increasing prevalence of synthetic
products, particularly engine oil.
Conventional oils come from crude oil
that is separated into various fractions
at an oil refinery. These become the
basis for lubricating oils and fuels.
In contrast, synthetic engine oils
contain non-conventional, high-performance
Oil Study Header
fluids. Synthetic products
typically do not need to be changed
as frequently as fuel-based products,
plus, they can be engineered
for more precise viscosity standards
to meet changing engine needs.
More than half (56 percent) of the
most recent survey respondents
indicated that they use synthetic
engine oil products in their fleet.
This represents a 10 percent
increase from the previous study.
Only 8 percent of respondents did
not use any synthetic products in
their fleet (engine oil, transmission
fluid or differential grease),
down from 11 percent in 2015.
Survey respondents who use synthetic
engine oils in their fleet most commonly
use these synthetic engine oil brands:
• Shell Rotella (29 percent)
• Exxon Mobil Delvac (14 percent)
• Castrol (11 percent)
• Chevron Delo (10 percent)
The top conventional engine oil brands
overall were similar in ranking, but
not exactly the same. Shell Rotella
was still the number one brand used
(42 percent), followed by Exxon
Mobil Delvac (27 percent). However,
Chevron Delo was more popular with
non-synthetic motor oil users (20
percent) than Castrol (12 percent).
The results demonstrate a shift in
brand preferences from the previous
oil study, where Exxon Mobil was the
preferred brand for synthetic oils and
Castrol was used by only 5 percent of
participants. The top engine oil brand
overall was still Shell Rotella, but in
the previous study, Chevron Delo
was more used than Exxon Mobil.
The top five reasons respondents selected
a particular brand of motor oil were:
• Engine protection
• Previous experience
• Brand reputation
While engine protection was still the top
consideration in brand selection, previous
experience with a brand was more
important than price. Previous experience,
which was the second most important
factor in the current study, ranked
as the fifth most important in 2015.
Interestingly, while more respondents
used synthetic motor oils in the current
study, there was a decrease in both synthetic
transmission fluid and synthetic
differential grease. In the previous study,
82 percent of survey respondents used
synthetic transmission fluid. In the current
study that number fell to 76 percent, and
the number of respondents using synthetic
differential grease fell by 6 percent.
While the majority of fleets are now
using synthetics products, the increase
from one year to the next is limited
to synthetic engine oil, not transmission
fluid or differential grease.
A swing in synthetics usage
and brand preference
By Stefanie Von Rueden, Assistant Editor
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