‘Good To The Last Drop’: When An Oil Change Isn’t Necessarily Better For Your Equipment

Did you know that changing the oils and lubricants in your equipment can – under certain conditions, without knowing what you’re doing – not be as beneficial as you think it will be, and could even cause harm?

We’ve all internalized the message that frequent oil changes are the best thing you can do to maintain your equipment. And yes, that’s true to some extent. But if you’re using new oil that isn’t clean, you’re only introducing contamination that can lead to wear, tear, and expensive equipment failure.

How can that happen? Often, equipment operators or maintenance staff have done their homework to choose the right kinds of oils and lubricants for the machinery but haven’t taken the time to check that the new oils are clean.

What do we mean by ‘clean’? A clean oil is one that meets the standards set by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for performance and viscosity, and the ISO cleanliness code that tells the contamination ratio.

So, how can a new (unused) oil get contaminated? Often, it happens as part of the process to transport the oils. Any time an oil or lubricant goes from base oil plant to the end user’s bulk tank, contamination can occur to some extent. That can happen for any number of reasons. For example, maybe the oil wasn’t properly protected en route, or the user’s storage isn’t clean and up to spec. Or, maybe the contamination is occurring during transfer.

And contamination can happen all too easily. Wind, water condensation from temperature changes, and other natural processes can add tiny particulates – so small they are undetectable by the human eye – that accumulate and can act like an abrasive as it circulates in equipment lines, hoses, and gears.

It’s also true that contamination is a leading cause of equipment failure. But it’s entirely preventable! But you can’t count on filters to prevent the problem, or just increase the frequency of changes hoping that will help. Instead, you need to make sure your oils are clean from the very beginning.

How can you tell if you’re using a clean oil? Here are some recommendations:

1.Choose an oil that meets the OEM specifications for your equipment. Do your homework and check out the specs for each piece of machinery and truck in your fleet.
2. Look for oils that have ISO Clean standards.
3. Put a filtration system in place if it makes sense to do so but know that this requires additional care and expertise.
4. Buy oils and lubricants from producers with a systematic oil cleanliness program. (At Greg’s Petroleum Service, we’re proud supporters of Chevron products for that very reason.)
5. Use a fuel fleet service provider that can help provide expertise and support to help you choose the best oils and lubricants for your fleet and will help you set best practices in place to maintain your equipment.

As always, going the ‘extra mile’ to choose the best products and put good service practices in place will extend the life of your equipment. A good maintenance plan always pays returns over time by helping you avoid preventable problems and costly issues.

If you have any questions about how to do this, we encourage you to reach out to us. Visit us online to learn more, and then give us a call. We want to hear from you!

About Us:
If you need additional information, please know that the team at Greg's Petro is here to help. As your lubricants 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.