MOORESVILLE, NC – Safety-Kleen Systems, which markets EcoPower re-refined engine oil, announced on July 25 the results of a four-year, million-mile test of the engine oil used in two 2007 Cummins ISX 450 HP EGR diesel engines operated by Cooke Trucking Co.

The test engines powered two Peterbilt 387 over-the-road conventional trucks that were used in long-haul service, primarily hauling furniture to the West Coast and backhauling reefer trailers. Cooke Trucking operates a fleet of 50 trucks and is headquartered in Mt. Airy, N.C.

This was the first-ever official million-mile engine test of re-refined oil in actual fleet service. Testing was completed July 2012. A special media event was held at Outcast Kustoms, a truck customizing company headquartered in Mooresville, which included a teardown of the two Cummins ISX diesel engines using EcoPower re-refined oil.

Demonstrating the results of an engine teardown following a million miles of using re-refined oil in actual fleet use was Pat Fetterman, industry liaison advisor for Infineum.

Demonstrating the results of an engine teardown following a million miles of using re-refined oil in actual fleet use was Pat Fetterman, industry liaison advisor for Infineum.

The purpose of the test was to evaluate how well HD15W-40 CJ-4/SM oil protected engine components during a million miles of fleet service. The test was conducted by Infineum, an independent third-party company, which is a joint venture created by ExxonMobil and Shell Oil in 1999. Infineum’s primary business is manufacturing petroleum additives for lubricants and fuels. Also assisting in the engine teardown were technicians from Cummins Inc. Infineum has used Cooke Trucking as a test fleet since 1988. Although the drivers and technicians at Cooke Trucking knew they were testing an engine oil, they did not know the oil they were testing and neither did the Infineum employees administering the test. There was no product identification on the test oil containers. The purpose of the test was to show how re-refined engine oil performed against oil produced from original petroleum base stock.



Demonstrating the results of the million-mile engine teardown was Pat Fetterman, industry liaison advisor for Infineum, who said the engines “look like what I would expect to see with a premium oil at a million miles.” All of the test engine components only showed normal wear.

The first 500,000 miles of the test involved comparison testing against premium oils from two leading brands of engine oil. According to Infineum, used-oil analysis showed that EcoPower outperformed the leading competitive oils in total base number retention and viscosity. The viscosity maintenance reports will be published the second week of August and will be posted on the Safety-Kleen corporate website.

The million-mile test targeted a 40,000-mile drain interval, with most drains occurring between 40,000 and 50,000 miles. During the million-mile test period, the test trucks experienced two EGR cooler failures, which damaged and necessitated the replacement of the diesel particulate filter. The trucks averaged 6.2 miles per gallon over their duty cycle.

In 2008, Safety-Kleen began marketing re-refined oil to corporate fleets, in addition to its existing customer base of public sector and military fleets. Safety-Kleen annually collects 200 million gallons of used oil from 115,000 locations. The company re-refines approximately 160 million gallons annually. 

According to Safety-Kleen, used engine oil never breaks down, it just gets dirty. The used oil collected by Safety-Kleen is put through a closed-loop refining process, which includes vacuum distillation and hydro-treating. This process removes contaminants, such as fuel, water, sulfur, and dirt from the used oil. This process leaves a new base oil, which Safety-Kleen says is better than the base oil made from crude. After re-refined, the base oil is blended with a package of additives to help reduce oxidation and engine wear and protect against viscosity and thermal breakdown.

EcoPower has been approved by a number of diesel engine manufacturers, such as Caterpillar, Cummins, Mack, Detroit Diesel, and Mercedes-Benz. EcoPower is available in the following grades:

  • 15W-40 CJ-4/SM.
  • 10W-30 CJ-4/SM.
  • NGP-2 15W-40 natural gas engine oil. 

Safety-Kleen, headquartered in Plano, Texas, is a $1.4 billion company employing approximately 4,300 employees. It is North America’s largest recycler and re-refiner of used oil, in addition to being a leading company marketing parts cleaning equipment and services.

By Mike Antich