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The Importance of Lubricant Low Temperature Performance to Vehicle Operation or “Will it Still Go When it's 30 Below?”
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
Published February 01, 1992 by SAE International in United States
Annotation ability available
Modern vehicles are expected to operate satisfactorily at relatively low ambient temperatures, often without auxillary heating equipment. At these cold temperatures, the lubricant plays a key role in determining how easily the vehicle can be started, and how quickly all vital moving parts are oiled. A lubricant which is too thick under these conditions may result in poor operability, or in some cases catastrophic equipment failure due to oil starvation.
Extensive testing has demonstrated the low temperature performance advantages of SAE 0W-30 or 5W-30 engine oils versus more common SAE 10W-30 and 15W-40 viscosities, in both light and heavy duty engines. Automatic transmission fluids with enhanced low temperature properties have shown faster start-up flow and in some cases, more rapid shift times. Hydraulic fluids with improved cold flow performance allow more rapid equipment warm-up and faster response at low temperatures.
Modern multigrade lubricants such as these also provide good performance at more normal operating temperatures, even under high load conditions.
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CitationMay, C. and Smith, C., "The Importance of Lubricant Low Temperature Performance to Vehicle Operation or “Will it Still Go When it's 30 Below?”," SAE Technical Paper 920024, 1992, https://doi.org/10.4271/920024.
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