Keeping it clean: what you need to know to prevent expensive wear and tear from base oil and lubricant contamination

What arguably causes the most preventable fleet damage? That just might be base oil lubricant and fuel contamination. Some experts say that 82 percent of mechanical wear is caused by contamination. That includes abrasion, erosion, fatigue, adhesion, and fretting. And what’s even worse is that the issue is mostly preventable with just a little know-how.

The problem with contamination is two-fold. It not only causes wear; but it can prevent your oil from doing the job of protecting the engine and vehicle components. So, you might say that not only does contamination shorten the life of the base oil, but also of the vehicle overall. Conversely, keeping your oil clean and contaminant free can double the life of your vehicle.

What are we talking about when we talk about contamination? The dirt, minerals, bacteria, and other natural debris that get into the system between components. We’re talking about dirt and other contaminant particles so small you can’t even see them. In fact, the worst contamination comes from particles so small they’re invisible to the naked eye.

The type of contaminants that do the most damage measure at 1-10 microns. (A micron is one-millionth of a meter. Just to put that into perspective, most people can’t see particles that measure less than 40 microns.)

Do you know the most common causes of contamination? It might not be what you think.

Causes of contamination

- Normal use and wear
- Entry between machine parts, through wind or water
- New oil that doesn’t meet cleanliness standards
- Improper maintenance and use of oil that should be changed

Are you surprised by the third item on the list? Most people are. And it doesn’t take much to spoil the oil. Just one teaspoon of dirt in 55 gallons of oil is enough to shorten equipment life overall.

How? Just consider that new oil can be transferred approximately eight times before it reaches you, and that with each transfer the oil is picking up contaminants before it ever reaches you or the vehicle for its intended use. Fuel filters will pick up some of the contaminants, but not all. For that reason, we recommend choosing an oil that meets OEM specifications.

So, what more can you do to prevent contamination overall and increase the life of your vehicle?

Here are three steps to help prevent contamination:

1. Choose the proper oil. Do you know whether to choose a synthetic or a mineral base oil? Check out our last blog for more information or reach out to us with questions.
2. Look for new oil that meets OEM specifications, and the requirements for your vehicle. Choose an oil with the proper ISO code for the component. Manufacturers provide the specifications for most equipment and individual parts.
3. Consider use, and make sure you have a good maintenance plan in place.

If you need additional information, please know that the team at Greg’s Petroleum Service is here to help. As your fuel and lubricant supplier in Bakersfield, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clarita or Ventura, California areas, we are available to help answer any questions you might have. Visit us online or give us a call to learn more.

One size doesn’t fit all: know how to choose the right base oil for each vehicle in your fleet

Have you taken the time to consider the best base oil for each vehicle in your fleet? If you’re using the same oil for a variety of service equipment types, or just taking your best guess at the right base oil and lubricant to use, then you’re risking damage and the additional wear-and-tear that could be prevented by making better choices.

If you own or operate a fleet of vehicles, it’s more than likely you have a number of different equipment types to maintain. It’s rare to find a fleet of vehicles that are all the same make and model, much less the same age and condition. And just as you have different types of vehicles, you need different base oils to meet the need. It’s a common misconception that synthetic oils are one-size-fits all, or just “close enough” to meet the needs of the whole fleet.

In a previous article, we covered what you need to know about base oils in lubricants to maximize fleet efficiency. Today we’re going to cover practical matters about how to make the best choice in base oils and lubricants for the vehicles in your fleet, depending on factors such as age, use, and wear.

First, let’s clear up some misconceptions about synthetic base oils.

When to choose a synthetic oil

Many people in the industry assume that synthetic oils are the best choice for all industrial applications. And while it is true that synthetic base oils in lubricants are useful to weather extreme conditions and in off-highway applications, it’s simply not true that synthetics are the best choice in all settings.

Still, synthetics are gaining popularity both in industrial settings and on-highway. For that reason, it makes sense to review the benefits and drawbacks to choosing a synthetic base oils in lubricants.

Pros

- Better fuel efficiency
- Longer drain intervals
- Better wear protection in longer-term applications
- Better frictional performance

Cons

- More expensive, and costs go up with change frequency
- Not the best choice for short-drive applications, or any time you see contamination issues
- Not always compatible with seals, filters, and paints in equipment, and/or previously used mineral oil

Sound like what you need? That’s great, but keep in mind that the determination for use of a base oil should be made on a case-by-case (and vehicle by vehicle) basis. Use of mineral base oils in lubricants still have some serious benefits in a number of cases.

When to choose a mineral base oil for your fuel fleet service

Do you have a vehicle in the fleet that is used for a lot of shorter driving trips? Any time you have a vehicle that you’re starting and stopping with frequency, you have a good candidate for the use of a mineral base oil.

It makes sense if we review the basics. Engines that get use that requires them to heat up and cool down quickly will generate condensation that causes water contamination. Additionally, this type of use leads to unavoidable fuel dilution.

Contamination requires more frequent oil changes, in which case mineral base oils and lubricants become a more cost-effective choice. Mineral base oils are less expensive, so frequent changes make it a more cost-effective choice over all.

In construction applications especially, gear boxes and other equipment with efficiency are good candidates for use. Here are the most common pros and cons.

Pros

- Better used in vehicles subject to routine contamination
- Often better for construction or mining equipment
- Less expense, especially with high change applications

Cons

- Less protection in high heat applications
- Not as effective in longer term applications
- Less wear protection overall if used improperly

We hope this information helps when considering the choice to make for your vehicles. As your fuel and lubricant supplier, we have answers to your questions and can make great recommendations. We encourage you to get in touch!

About Us:
It’s always best practice to spend a little time getting to know more about the base oil you choose. And if you need additional information, please know that the team at Greg's Petroleum Service is here to help. As your fuel and lubricant supplier in Bakersfield, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clarita or Ventura, California areas, we are available to help answer any questions you might have. Visit us online or give us a call to learn more.

Help Chevron Fuel Your School support our local teachers!

Did you know that Chevron’s Fuel Your School program supports education in our schools and community by helping teachers receive funding for eligible classroom projects?

Here how it works:

Teachers will submit projects detailing the materials and supplies they need at DonorsChoose.org, where Chevron’s donations are used to help fund their eligible classroom projects. (DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that organizes funding for eligible projects in public schools all over the country.)

Teachers can post projects on DonorsChoose.org beginning at 9:00pm EDT on September 30, 2018, through October 31, 2018. Earlier submissions have a better chance of receiving funding. See Fuel Your School Official Rules for details.

So how can you play a part in helping fuel our schools? During the month of October, when you fuel up with 8 or more gallons at a participating Chevron or Texaco station, Chevron will donate $1,up to $300,000, to help fund projects for public schools in Kern County, California.

The Fuel Your School program is part of Chevron’s overall support for education, which has totaled over $400 million worldwide since 2013. To learn more about Chevron’s education programs and partnerships, visit www.chevron.com/education.

About Us:
The team at Greg’s Petroleum Service, your fuel delivery service provider and lubricant supplier in Bakersfield, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clarita or Ventura, California areas, is available to answer all of your questions about retail branding and any other service. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to hearing from you!