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Latin America Needs Better Commercial Vehicle Axle Protection

Latin America Needs Better Commercial Vehicle Axle Protection

Mar 18, 2024

In the March issue of Lubes ‘N Greases magazine, Lubrizol’s Edson Fonseca outlines the reasons why the vast majority of Latin America’s commercial vehicle market needs improved axle protection.

Read the full article, "Gear Up Latin America: Now Is the Time for Improved Axle Protection,” in Lubes ‘N Greases’ March 2024 edition to learn more about fulfilling the needs of the Latin American gear oil market.

According to some estimates, more than 50% of the gear oils in Latin America are inadequate given the realities of the current market.

The quest for efficiency has impacted the design and performance of commercial vehicle axle components and the lubricants designed to protect them.

Indeed, changes intended to improve efficiency have revealed new concerns around extreme temperatures and other harsh realities. It has also raised an important question: are common gears oils capable of performing under these conditions? In Latin America, where API GL-1, API GL-4, and API GL-5 are prominent, the answer decidedly points to “no.” Given the age of the fleet and the gear oils in use, there are lingering doubts as to whether the needs of commercial vehicle axles in Latin America are being met.

Opportunity in the Middle Ground

Many of the gear oils in Latin America are API GL-5 oils, which undergo five tests that evaluate the performance of the gear oil. SAE J2360 goes a bit further, using the five tests for API GL-5 plus three other tests, a field trial, and an independent review. Once all these requirements are satisfied, an axle oil is SAE J2360 certified.

SAE J2360 certification requirements come with a significant investment of time and resources—up to four years and over $500,000 USD. The performance gained from this achievement brings the capability of SAE J2360 oils far beyond that of gear oils currently in use in Latin America.

While new trucks in this region will require it now, older and out-of-warranty vehicles may not, even while API GL-5 oils are revealing inadequacies. Considering the current market, many trucks in the LATAM fleet require more than API GL-5, but not quite up to SAE J2360. This middle-ground space might be an opportunity for oil marketers to bring to market a viable thermostable fluid that would cover the needs of most vehicles in the region and help protect the environment.


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