How Much Oil Do Cargo Trucks Use?

How Much Oil Do Cargo Trucks Use

Whether you are driving cargo trucks yourself or you just see them passing by on the road sometimes, you might ask yourself how much oil they need to use from their origin to their destination. Knowing how much oil a cargo truck typically uses is something that every truck driver and every truck driving company needs to know because it allows them to budget correctly and gives them an idea of when they might need to stop and get fleet oil changes done on their trucks.

How Much Oil Does a Semi Truck Use? 

It can vary depending on the cargo truck and the terrain the truck is driving on, but in general, cargo trucks take about 15 gallons of oil minimum. Sometimes they will take much more. Compared to cars, this is a massive amount as the average car only uses about 4-6 quarts of oil which is about a gallon. 

This might seem like a lot of oil especially considering that oil can be so expensive and that you need to change it often for a well-functioning truck. However, by changing the oil frequently and keeping the oil levels where they should be, you can lower maintenance costs. 

Adding in 15 gallons of oil when you need an oil change will come with a high price, but remember the repair costs you would spend on fixing an engine that is being driven without enough oil is far more costly. 

How Often Should Oil Be Changed in a Truck? 

Cargo trucks should have their oil changed about every 25,000 miles. Since cargo trucks often drive cross country to many different destinations, they will need to get their oil changed much more often than those that just drive cars to and from work, for example. 

Cargo trucks can drive 100,000 miles a year or more so you can see how they spend quite a bit of money on oil considering how often they need oil changes and how much oil the truck needs. 

While it might seem like too many oil changes, they used to need more. Luckily, cargo truck companies made it a priority to make more oil and energy-efficient engines so that truck drivers could stop for oil changes less often. 

What Kind of Oil Is Best For Cargo Trucks? 

You probably already know that cargo trucks do not take the same oil as regular cars. Similar to cars though, semi-truck drivers have the option of getting natural or synthetic oils. The exact oil you need depends on the engine in your truck though. Make sure you always check the manufacturer’s book as it will state which kind of oil is best for the engine. 

If you work for a truck driving company, they will often handle the oil changes for you so you don’t need to worry about getting the right oil. 

5W40 is a common oil to use in semi trucks because it’s good for cold weather but it sometimes is not as good for the engine as 15W40 oil so many truckers opt for the 15W40 oil even though it can be more expensive. 

Just like with regular cars, natural oil is cheaper and not as good for the engine of trucks. Synthetic oil is more expensive, but as stated above, trucks need oil more oil and more oil changes than the standard car. 

So, if you use synthetic oil, you can expect the cost to be high since you need oil changes very often. 

Some drivers choose to just use natural oil if they are making shorter distances. Natural oil doesn’t damage the engine and still protects your car against extreme temperatures, but it’s not a good idea to use natural oil all the time. 

Using Synthetic Oil 

Synthetic oil will cost you more money but most truck drivers agree that the extra cost is worth it because your engine and truck will perform much better. Since it’s a purer form of oil, there will also be less build-up of debris and minerals in the engine. 

You can also get more mileage with synthetic oil without your engine getting problems or different kinds of damage. 

If you are paying for the oil changes yourself, you might want to choose to spend the money on synthetic oil changes when you are only driving long distances. You won’t notice as much of a difference on shorter trips, so it’s considered a waste of money by many truck drivers to use synthetic money unless you are going cross country. 

Changing the Oil in a Cargo Truck 

Changing the oil in a cargo truck takes much longer than in a car. You can expect to wait about 45 minutes before the oil change is finished. Most drivers allow someone else to do the job for them since it’s more complicated compared to cars, but if you do it yourself it will probably take about an hour. 

For an oil change, you can expect to spend about $400. You might be able to find places that do it for $200 or $300 but this is rare, so always try to have about $400 or more when you go to get your oil changed. 

You can also call the professional ahead of time to get a price quote so you know what to expect and you are not surprised when you get there. 

Oil Changes and Your Cargo Truck 

Although oil changes can be annoying and pricing, you need to ensure you make them a priority for your cargo truck. The oil in the truck can break down and stop functioning. When this happens, the engine will eventually get damaged. Replacing engines in cargo trucks is an astronomical cost so spending money on regular oil changes is far more affordable. 

Oil in a semi-truck can also get dirty which is dangerous for the engine. If you are a cargo truck driver, always make sure you are getting fleet oil changes on time to protect your engine.  

How Much Oil Do Cargo Trucks Use?
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