Using a specially formulated winter oil is vital to keeping your car running in cold weather

With the cold weather starting to set in, Total Lubricants has released guidance for commercial vehicle fleetsand workshops about the importance of appropriate engine oil and coolant selection.

“Commercial vehicles always have to work hard carrying heavy loads but even more so in winter, and lubricants and coolants play a key role in maintaining their reliability, which is a top priority for fleet managers,” said Bob Wood, Technical Engineer at Total Lubricants.

“Cold weather reduces the effectiveness of oil and makes it thicker meaning it does not circulate through the engine as easily as thinner oil, which can lead to damage to the engine components, and even failure to start,” he explained.

Using the right type of oil is therefore essential to engine health and performance. If it is too thick it may prevent the engine from starting and if it is too thin, it won’t provide adequate protection. The ‘W’ on the code on the label stands for ‘winter’ and indicates the oil’s cold weather ability. The lower the number next to the ‘W’, the more effectively it will perform in cold weather.

The TOTAL RUBIA Fuel Economy (FE) range offers excellent engine protection, reduced component wear, enhanced fuel economy and improved performance.

“TOTAL RUBIA TIR 9900 FE 5W-30 offers highly extended oil drain intervals due to outstanding anti-oxidant and corrosion properties, resulting in improved added value through cost savings in maintenance, plus first-rate engine protection and piston cleanliness. Its fully synthetic composition provides excellent thermal stability and easier cold start performance,” Bob explained.

As well as oil, it is also important to check the coolant level and concentration regularly during the winter months to ensure protection at sub-zero temperatures.

“Coolants are essential all-year-round, but the winter brings significant challenges that can affect the performance of the cooling system, making it more difficult to start vehicles on those freezing mornings,” he said.

The cooling system in a commercial vehicle’shelps prevent damage caused by freezing, cavitation, corrosion, overheating and the formation of deposits.

Explaining the risks, Bob said: “Should the cooling system not function correctly, the engine will begin to fail, as could the radiator, water pump, head gasket or engine block. In the worst-case scenario the engine could overheat and seize.”

TOTAL GLACELF and COOLELF coolants contain the additives required to protect a full range of different types of vehicles, while providing exceptional performance in freezing temperatures.

The range is formulated based on Organic Acid Technology (OAT) and includes ready-to-use and concentrate types, providing protection against freezing, even as low as -37°C.

The GLACELF SI-OAT is the concentrate which is added to de-mineralised water at different concentrations to give the desired low temperature operation: Freezing point -20°C at 33% and -37°C at 50%. This product is a ‘very-long-life’ antifreeze made of monoethylene glycol, whilst the COOLELF SI-OAT -37°C is already mixed ready for use.

The advantages of OAT include increased heat transfer efficiency, extended coolant life, reduced cooling system scaling and deposits, superior high temperature aluminium protection and up to 50% extended water pump life.

Other key benefits of OAT include excellent cavitation protection, high temperature oxidation stability, environmentally friendly inhibitors and decreased maintenance costs.

Bob Wood concluded: “Keeping vehicles on the road and preventing downtime is essential for commercial fleet operators, so when the temperature begins to fall, using the right lubricant and coolant can certainly help to keeping hard-working, heavy-duty vehicles operating in optimum condition.”

Total Lubricants also offers an oil analysis service, ANAC (Analysis Compared), which fleets can use to help identify and prevent engine health issues before they become serious problems.

For more information: 01977 711322 or