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Oil, Engines & Owner-operators
An “old school” trucker's do-it-yourself maintenance

OOIDA member Walt Bronson comes from the “old school.” He does his own preventive maintenance and oil changes every 10,000 miles, despite industry trends to stretch it out to 20,000.

“Oil’s cheap, the engine isn’t,” Bronson said about his frequent oil changes and PMs. He has his own shop and does his own maintenance, saving the major repairs for the dealer garages.

Bronson’s 2000 Kenworth W900B is powered by a Caterpillar 430 engine and features an Eaton 13-speed transmission. He uses synthetic oil in the tranny and rearend, and relies on Chevron Delo for his engine.

He says he started using Chevron Delo oil years ago because it was available nationwide in truckstops, but continues to use it because he believes it’s a good product. And, he doesn’t put much stock in oil analysis.

“I tried it a long time ago,” he said. “But, what good is it? I can tell if there’s a problem by how the oil looks.”

He also uses Howell’s fuel additive year-round and has averaged 6.3 miles per gallon for the past year, but he believes there is more than one way to control fuel mileage. “My right foot controls fuel mileage,” Bronson added. “If I take my time and control my speed, I can get 7.5 miles per gallon, but if I’m in a hurry it drops.”

Bronson sees his truck as a tool to make a living. He isn’t much on polish and shine, but believes in keeping his truck clean and maintained. He says, “I know guys whose trucks sparkle, but they never grease them.”

Bronson, of Douglassville, PA, hauls tankers for Trimac Liquid Transporters. After 40 years of trucking, Bronson is on his 15th truck. The first eight trucks were bought used, but the last seven were new.

“I buy a new truck every three to five years,” Bronson said, “depending on the interest rates and the resale market.”