How to find your “Goldilocks” lube truck

Oct 06, 2022

There’s no one-size-fits-all lube truck. You need to find one that’s just right for your operation. Working with the wrong size can waste time and money. If your lube truck is too small, you could fall behind on preventive maintenance (PM). Likewise, a lube truck that is too large for your needs costs more upfront and drives up utilization costs. Finding the right fit is all about balance. You need to meet your needs today and consider any planned growth to ensure your investment will also meet future needs.

No two fleets are the same. They come in all sizes and contain all types of equipment for use in diverse geographical locations often corrode.

Size your tanks

To determine the specific volume of each product your lube truck will carry, start by calculating the number of units you’ll service per day before you make a trip back to the shop to offload used fluids and fill up with new. Check service interval recommendations and refill capacities of each machine in your fleet to figure out how much of each fluid you’ll need.

Once you determine the quantities of products you need on your lube truck, you can determine what sizes of tanks you’ll need. If you do a lot of work on remote jobsites, higher-capacity tanks may be a better choice to minimize the number of trips you’ll have to make per day. You’ll also be able to calculate the total weight of the products you’ll be carrying to help determine what size of truck you’ll need.

The right truck size for your product capacity needs

For both lube-only and fuel and lube bodies, Sage Oil Vac offers Class 5, Class 7 and Class 8 truck chassis operations. The truck classes are determined by the gross vehicle weight range (GVWR), which is directly related to the size of the product tanks that can be mounted to the truck.

  • Class 5 truck has a GVWR of 16,001 to 19,500 lb.
  • Class 7 truck has a GVWR of 26,001 to 33,000 lb.
  • Class 8 truck has a GVWR greater than 33,000 lb.

Let’s look at an example of how this may break down using a Sage Oil Vac Class 7 Standard Model 7120P fuel/lube body. It has a 1,000-gallon (3,785.41-L) fuel capacity with a variety of tank options. This may include:

  • One 120-gallon (454.25-L) fresh oil and lube tank
  • One 120-gallon (454.25-L) used oil/waste oil tank
  • Three 60-gallon (227.125-L) fresh oil and lube tanks
  • One 60-gallon (227.125-L) fresh coolant/antifreeze tank
  • One 60-gallon (227.125-L) stainless steel DEF tank
  • One 120-lb grease keg holder

Now compare that to the Sage Oil Vac Class 8 8180 fuel/lube body that can deliver 2,000 gallons (7,570.824 L) of diesel to your jobsite in one trip. Tank options include:

  • One 180-gallon (681,374-L) used oil tank
  • Five 120-gallon (454.25-L) fresh oil and fluid tanks
  • One 60-gallon (227.125-L) fresh coolant/antifreeze tank

You can see the extra capacity benefits as the GVWR increases.

Other considerations

While fluid-handling capacity is a primary consideration in choosing the right lube truck, you need to weigh that against other practical considerations, like the truck’s ability to access the site and the availability of drivers.

Finding drivers is perhaps your biggest challenge. Drivers are required to have a CDL to operate a commercial vehicle above 26,000 pounds, which includes all Class 7 and Class 8 truck chassis. These drivers are in short supply, with demand for their services continuing to increase.

This has led to the growing popularity of Class 5 trucks that can be operated without a CDL, which increases the potential labor pool.  Another benefit of Class 5 trucks is that they are nimbler and will perform better in rough terrain than larger tandem-axle trucks.

Customized versus off-the-shelf solutions

You can choose either off-the-shelf standard solutions or custom-designed lube handling products. A custom solution lets you build a lube vehicle to match your exact needs for maximum efficiency. You should consider the lead time when thinking about ordering a customized solution.

If after weighing all this information, you find you don’t need a dedicated lube truck, review the complete line of Sage Oil Vac carts and skids. This includes fully customizable LubeBuilder™ systems that can tailor a lube skid solution for your existing work trucks. This unique approach allows Sage Oil Vac to customize a solution for you with tank configurations and capacities that match your needs.

Ask the experts at Sage Oil Vac

Choosing the best mobile lube truck solution is a big decision that requires carefully weighing several variables. Contact Sage Oil Vac for expert advice that will help you identify the best fit for your preventive maintenance needs.

Ready to dig deeper? Check out our truck and body lineup for the full specs.

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