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Drilling down on engine oil

Zutz family next to their farm equipment

From left, Loren and Deb Zutz, and Loren's brother, Ron Zutz, rely on the Cenex Total Protection Plan warranty program to help them stay current with equipment maintenance and alert them to possible problems.

Sep 10, 2018

Lubricants play a critical role in keeping equipment running smoothly and efficiently. When selecting a heavy-duty diesel engine oil for your equipment, start with these questions. 

Engine Oil Infographic

Deciphering oil grades

The number in oil grades indicate viscosity behavior across temperature ranges. 

Here's a breakdown of what 10W-30 actually means: 


describes how easily the oil flows in cold temperatures

The lower the number, the better the oil will move through equipment when the temperature drops. 


indicates the viscosity and resulting protection

As the second number increases, so does oil viscosity when the oil is warm and moving, which provides protection for your engine. 

Check the owner's manual for the recommended oil grade for each piece of equipment. 


Running right

Loren Zutz relies on more than 20 pieces of heavy-duty diesel equipment to run his 2,500-acre corn, soybean and wheat enterprise and 250-cow beef herd near Warren, Minn. Slow start-ups, frequent oil changes and equipment breakdowns can be devastating for his business. "If my equipment isn't working right or isn't running most efficiently, my whole operation is affected," he says. 

That's why he relies on Cenex® Maxtron® Enviro-EDGE® synthetic diesel engine oil to keep his equipment in peak condition. 

Zutz says he notices the biggest difference in oil performance during cold-weather start-ups. From feeding cows in the winter to cold spring mornings during planting, his equipment needs to run well in all weather conditions. "By using synthetics, my equipment starts up so much easier in colder weather," he says. "It's less hassle and I know it's better for the equipment."

A third-generation farmer, who runs his operation with his wife, Deb, and brother, Ron, Zutz relies on relationships to find out about the best products for his equipment. He regularly works with John Grandstrand, certified energy specialist with CHS Ag Services, and Todd Monroe, director of business development for CHS Lubricants. 

"I rely on John and Todd to tell me about new products and features and to help me run my equipment in the best way possible," says Zutz.

Monroe introduced Zutz to the Cenex Total Protection Plan® warranty program, which protects used equipment for eight years or up to 8,000 hours and new equipment for 10 years or up to 10,000 hours. The program requires annual oil analyses of all protected equipment. 

"The Total Protection Plan program gives me comfort and makes me accountable for taking care of my equipment," says Zutz. A recent oil sample showed a potential issue with a roller bearing on one of his tractors. "If we hadn't had the oil analysis to tell us something was wrong, we wouldn't have looked into it. Now we can fix the issue before it becomes a larger problem." 



Synthetics 101

Every lubricant has three main components: the base oil, an additive package and a viscosity modifier. The base oil makes up 70 to 90 percent of a lubricant's overall composition. The molecules found in a full-synthetic base oil are uniform in size, making them the most stable foundation for any lubricant formulation. 

It's the additive package that makes each lubricant unique. The additive package found in synthetic diesel engine oils such as the Cenex® line of Maxtron® lubricants includes detergents to get rid of dirt, soot and particles that can build up and cause engine problems; dispersants that capture debris and keep it from sticking to engine surfaces; anti-wear protection to keep critical moving parts from excessive or premature wear; and cold flow improvers to ensure proper oil flow during cold start-ups. 

Shearing Process

What sets the Cenex Maxtron line apart from other synthetic lubricants is its viscosity modifier. While other lubricants use a long-chain polymer, Maxtron products use a radial polymer, which maintains its shape and provides shear resistance to minimize viscosity breakdown and extend oil life. 


Using Maxtron® Enviro-EDGE® will help improve fuel economy by 1-2% under normal conditions and up to 3% with cold starts. 


Check out the full C magazine with this article and more.