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Three Questions to Ask Before Choosing Hydraulic Fluid

Lubrication. Anti-wear. Heat transfer. Sealing. Pump efficiency. Hydraulic fluid wears many hats, but unfortunately, that hat is not one size fits all. When choosing the proper hydraulic fluid, the requirements are based on a multitude of factors including the fluid’s components and the hydraulic system itself. The first place to start is with an in-depth analysis of your hydraulic system.

What are the characteristics of my hydraulic system?

The type of hydraulic fluid that you need is dependent upon the type of hydraulic system you operate: vane, gear, or piston pumps. Unlike piston pumps, which run along an oil film, vane and gear pumps involve metal-to-metal contact. According to Hydraulics and Pneumatics, vane or gear pumps require a fluid with strong anti-wear (AW) capabilities over rust and oxidation (R & O) capabilities. Paying attention to the additives and components of the hydraulic fluid can make a great difference fulfilling these needs. 

Furthermore, take into consideration the following:
  • System speed
  • System operating temperature
  • System’s age
  • Load size
These characteristics will come in handy later when choosing a specific ISO grade.

What hydraulic fluid options do you have?

The answer to this question lies in the base stock. Is a common mineral oil-based fluid sufficient for your pump? Or, is there a possible fire hazard that makes a petroleum or mineral oil-based fluid dangerous at high operating temperatures? In this case, a flame retardant hydraulic fluid would be best. This may include a water-glycol or ester-based fluid.

Or, perhaps a biodegradable hydraulic fluid is more aligned with your environmentally-conscious operation. Hydraulic fluids that use rapeseed (canola) oil have a lesser impact on the environment, best for a setting with strong environmental restrictions.

What is the most effective viscosity index for my operation?

Remember the first question? This is where your system’s characteristics make all the difference. Start with your system’s operating temperature. Typical ISO viscosity grades include ISO 32, 46, 68, and 100 or above for particularly heavy-duty fluids. As these numbers increase, the fluid’s ability to maintain its viscosity at higher operating temperatures increases as well. Therefore, a high operating temperature may require a grade of 68 or higher. Consider, however, if a very thick lubricant is fluid enough for your system’s speed.

Don’t forget to also look at the system’s age and condition. Does your system run the same as it did five years ago? Is a certain viscosity still appropriate? Is there any contamination that may compromise viscosity, or that first requires maintenance? Your system may be more nuanced than what it would theoretically be in a new model, so it is important to choose hydraulic fluids on a case-by-case basis.

Now test it!

Of course, the best way to determine if you are correct is to test the hydraulic fluid, and this month Keller-Heart is offering a 5% discount on all hydraulic fluids. Use the code HYD5 through January 31st to take advantage of this deal.

The Do's and Don’ts of Warming Your Car in the Winter

As winter rears its icy head, remember this: Stop at ten and start again.

It’s not a therapeutic counting exercise to relieve road rage, but rather the golden rule for warming your car. It may seem like a no-brainer, but such a simple task does have consequences that we overlook when hitting the remote starter and waiting an extra ten minutes in the toasty indoors. So, let Keller-Heartt be your guide:

Start driving after ten seconds. Believe it or not, your car heats up faster when you drive than when your car is sitting idle in the driveway. This is because the engine will heat up as it does work, thereby helping to warm the interior of your vehicle. After ten seconds of idling, you are not doing your engine or your gas tank any favors. After ten seconds, begin driving or turn off the engine and restart the car when you are ready to go. Let the car idle for long periods of time while it heats up. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, eliminating periods of frivolous idling for personal vehicles is the same as taking five million vehicles off the roads. By reducing emissions, not only are you doing a service to the environment, but also to your fuel savings jar.
Park your car in a warmer place. By parking in a garage, you are already raising the initial temperature of the car, making the time that it takes to heat up that much faster. Overuse the heater, seat warmers, or defroster. Overuse will consume more fuel and cost you more money in the long run.
Use a block heater. For particularly cold climates, a block heater can preheat your engine to ease cold starts, which in turn will help warm your car faster. Preheating the engine’s components, as well as the antifreeze, will protect your engine from extra wear and reduce emissions. Heat your car in the garage, even if the garage door is open. Deadly exhaust fumes can still seep into your car’s interior and into your house if your garage is attached. These exhaust fumes can also be hazardous outdoors, especially when sitting idle near schools or parks where children are closer to the ground and, therefore, closer to the exhaust. These fumes have been linked to asthma, allergies, lung disease, and cancer.

By being economical and implementing these good habits—or kicking out the bad ones—you’ll stay warm without hurting your engine…or your pockets. Save 5% on all Winter Care items by using the coupon code WINTERIZE.

Winter car care tips

Don’t like driving in the snow? Neither does your car.

Freezing temperatures and icy conditions can do a number on your tires or battery, leaving you stranded in the cold. You may find comfort in keeping an emergency kit with blankets and cellphone chargers, but why wait for the worst? The following tips will keep you from opening your emergency kit this winter.

Holiday gift giving guide for auto lovers

Here at Keller-Heartt, we offer a wide array of oil and lubrication products and accessories. It doesn't matter if you own and operate an auto shop or work from your garage, we carry the products you regularly rely on. We offer them at the lowest prices online and even provide free shipping!

To help you find the right holiday gifts for your friends and family, we put together a handy shopping guide. Each section offers fine-tuned gift suggestions for the auto-lovers in your life.

For Car Enthusiasts

For Mechanics

For Semi-Truck Drivers

For Those Who Prefer A Spotless Garage

For Quick Lube Shop Owners

For Auto Shops On A Budget

Looking for something specific? Shop our full inventory of oils, lubricants and accessories.

Beat the Cold with Shell Rotella® T6

Some of us are lucky enough to live in temperate climates year-round, but for the rest of us, we need a heavy-duty engine oil to help us drive from A to B when the degrees start to drop. A low-viscosity engine oil that can flow effortlessly through the system’s moving parts is the best option for cold weather that makes oil thick and sluggish. Shell Rotella® T6 does the trick.

Shell Rotella® T6 5W-40 is a low-viscosity, fully synthetic engine oil that protects engines against wear better than previous API CI-4+ oils. Its viscosity increases fuel efficiency by expending less energy and reducing friction, and its excellent cold-start benefits aid in prolonging the vehicle’s starter and battery in extremely cold temperatures. These savings aren’t small; according to Shell, the T6 oil can save 260 gallons of diesel fuel annually for a truck that covers 100,000 miles per year.

Plus, while your vehicle picks up slush, salt, and grime, your engine will stay clean. Shell Rotella® T6 keeps sludge and deposits out of your oil with an ashless formula that protects against soot. It’s just another way to keep your oil fresh and moving smoothly.

Before you switch up your engine oil, however, make sure to check your vehicle’s user manual to make sure that your engine is compatible with a fully synthetic, 5W-40 grade oil. A robust oil such as this is best for heavy-duty applications, as well as frequent stop-and-go driving that is harsh on engines.

Check out our Shell Rotella® products, including the T6 series, here, and use the discount code, GORO, through the end of November.

Is the trucking industry ready for driverless fleets?


The future is here! Flying cars aren’t on the horizon yet, but they will be self-driving, and that could soon include big rigs. As Google, Tesla, and international companies test and release their newest self-driving cars, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a set of rules and guidelines for auto and tech companies that require specific reporting on the testing and safety of their technologies to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The federal government hopes that state legislators, including those in Michigan, California, Nevada, and Florida—states that are already offering driverless car licenses—will follow federal guidelines.


Not wanting to be left behind in the soon-to-be stone age of modern vehicles, the trucking industry now wants to be represented in future legislation and technology. After all, a driverless truck could revolutionize the industry, allowing for easier and more efficient long-distance drives in which a tired driver only has to commandeer for pick-ups and deliveries. 

But what else could a driverless fleet mean in a multi billion-dollar industry? 

The Not-So-Good

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.  The trucking industry spends a substantial amount on driver compensation, and driverless cars could render thousands of jobs unnecessary. Though the industry doesn’t see large layoffs necessary or imminent, the possibility is worrisome for unions and many truck drivers who make a middle class income without a college degree. 

So begins the “people problem.” The technology is evolving rapidly, but humans will be the biggest obstacle. In their book, Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead, Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman explain this problem, “When new software programs are introduced into an organization, the biggest barrier to adoption is usually not the performance of the technology; it’s the fact that the organization’s culture and workflow are built on previous software products, and changing people’s work habits stirs up resistance… some people lose turf, others are forced to rethink how they get things done, and so on.” 

The people problem extends to the act of driving as well, especially in regards to driving etiquette. How do we program technology to account for unwritten rules of the road, including nonverbal communication? According to Lipson and Kurman, technology will have to include visual and facial recognition to make up for the very human decisions that go into driving. 

The Good

It’s not all worry and headache, however. Better technology can be a great thing, and in the trucking industry, a vehicle that can’t get tired or make poor decisions on the road is not only safer, but more fuel-efficient and productive. Forbes has reported a shortage of young, skilled drivers in the industry, bringing a very real need for driverless trucks. Forbes also notes that driverless trucks can cut emissions and maintenance while lowering fuel costs by 4-7%. Once the technology is perfected, it will save thousands of lives from fatal accidents and keep money in fleet owners’ pockets. 


Luckily, driverless technology is easier to produce that other autonomous technologies. If roads are clearly marked, software only needs to be programmed to do a finite number of movements and controls. A car does not have arms or complex movements other than changing direction, changing lanes, and accelerating/braking. We will see the technology become more widespread in the next decade. So are fleets ready? The industry seems to think so. 

10 Amazing Examples of Dirty Car Art

Nearly everyone has had a chuckle over the words “wash me” written in the dirt on a car window, but who knew how impressive dirty car art could really be? When an artist views a dirty window as a blank canvas for creating a masterpiece, the results can be truly mind-blowing.



Unless you've got art skills impressive as those above, we recommend keeping your car or truck clean as possible for maximum usage. Shop our wide selection of Fleet Wash and Wiper Blades to keep your vehicle clean as the day you bought it.