As I put the finishing touches on a feature in the June issues of Truck News and Truck West about the impending PC-11 heavy-duty engine oil category, I received word implementation of PC-11 has been moved forward from Spring 2017 to December 2016. The reason for this is the engine OEMs want to use the fuel-saving benefits of PC-11 as a means of complying with GHG Phase 2 requirements, which will be brought in on 2018 model year trucks.

The PC-11 category will be divided into two sub-categories; one will be a backwards-compatible direct replacement oil for what you’re using today. The other will be a lower-viscosity oil designed to significantly improve fuel economy. While it’s widely been said the fuel economy grade oil won’t be backwards-compatible, Shell oil guru Dan Arcy revealed in an interview with me that he’s not yet convinced that’ll be the case.

“Shell has gone out and we’ve run our low-viscosity PC-11 B oils in all the manufacturers’ engines out there,” he said. “We’ve been able to show equivalent wear protection (to today’s oils). If we go back to CJ-4, originally the engine manufacturers during the development process said ‘We don’t think this is going to be backwards-compatible.’ It turned out enough data was generated and they allowed for it. So what I’m really saying is, although we say it may not be backwards-compatible, I think the jury is still out on that one. We’ll have to wait until we get closer to get a definitive statement from each of the individual OEMs on what their position is on it.”

If you missed our update on PC-11 in the June issue, you can check it out online here and start planning your oil strategy for 2017 and beyond.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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