'Get It In Check’: Lubricant Handling and Storage Best Practices

Does your maintenance plan include a program – or, at least a checklist – for taking inventory and care of your lubricants? If not, you’re (at best) missing an opportunity to improve your fleet maintenance program, and possibly (at worst) creating problems caused by the issues that come from improper and careless use.

So, what do you need to know about lubricant handling and storage? Today, we’ll share some tips to help you get your lubricant systems ‘in check.’ The goal is to improve your system to avoid needless issues ‘down the road’ from improper practices.

Here is a list of five best practices as you work with the oils, lubricants, and grease you use to maintain your fleet.

1. Documentation. Use a labeling system. Track your inventory. Track use of containers, so you don’t accidentally mix your oils and lubricants. Keep track of product types, dates, use, and testing results when you check for contamination and do routine inspections. Track the periodic filtration and agitation that you must do to prevent settling. If you don’t have a good plan in place to organize and document your products and use, put one in place ASAP.
2. Storage. Make sure your room or facility is clean, dry, and organized. Beyond keeping a clean facility space, you need to determine your usage and replacement rate. If your supplier has a longer interval between deliveries, you’ll need to have a more comprehensive system for longer storage. Alternately, if your supplier can make more frequent deliveries, you can store less product. Knowing your consumption rate and factoring in storage capacity will help you to know whether you need tanks, drums, or other storage containers. (For guidance and information, we can help. At Greg’s Petroleum Service, we provide both products and expertise to help our fleet fueling customers.)
3. Dispensing. You must consider the method of transport and filling for the oils and lubricants in your inventory. Use of non-sealable containers that you ‘top-up’ is likely to lead to contamination. Better yet, use washable and reusable containers that you can clean and maintain. In addition, you want to be sure to filter any oil dispensed from a bulk storage system into the containers for transport.
4. Quality Control. Are you keeping track of the age of your lubricants? Yes, your oils, grease, and lubricants have a shelf life. When you use a product past the OEM shelf life date, you’re using a product that isn’t likely to perform. For that reason, be sure you’re keeping track of your inventory. Use the products you bought first, before using more newly purchased inventory. Make it part of the process to pay attention and be sure that new product isn’t getting used before the older items on the shelf.
5. Avoid Contamination. Are you keeping your containers tightly covered? Are you keeping things labeled to avoid accidentally mixing product? Are you using the proper handling tools? Is your storage space free of debris, is it cool, and dry? Oil, grease, and lubricant contamination is a leading cause of preventable damage to your machinery. Taking care to avoid contamination is an investment in your product and machinery.

Finally, also know that this isn’t a comprehensive list. There is more to know and do to protect and maintain the life of your oils, lubricants and grease so that you get the best performance possible out of your machinery.

If you have any questions, or need additional guidance or expertise, we encourage you to reach out to the team at Greg’s Petroleum Service.

About Us:
If you need additional information, please know that the team at Greg's Petro is here to help. As your local lubricants supplier and commercial fuel delivery service provider 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.