How to handle a grease transition

Recently Chevron announced the sunset of some of their grease products. These products are being phased out due to supply chain issues. Supplies of these grease products will only be available while inventory lasts, and after that time, customers will need to transition to new products. You can view the affected products here.

It is often frustrating when your favorite products or supplies are phased out. Many of our clients worry about compatibility issues or performance problems when transitioning to new products. That’s a very normal feeling, and we want to ease your mind about the process of transitioning to new grease products.

Grease 101
First, it’s important to remember that grease products always have a little diversity, even in the same product line. Grease products from different refinery locations can look different, even if they have the same makeup. Many customers fixate on grease color, but the color is often not that important. Usually, the grease is dyed to make identification easier for users. The thing to remember about grease products is that they are derived from locally sourced base oils when possible. So, even if two products have the same formula, the base oils used in different refinery locations may be slightly different, which can cause color and appearance changes. However, the grease products still have the same properties and capabilities despite the differences.

So, when you’re transitioning to a new grease product, don’t get hung up on the color or appearance of the grease. Instead, you need to focus on the compatibility and performance of the product for your needs. Chevron’s grease compatibility matrix is the best way to check which type of grease you need. This document guides you through the different levels of grease compatibility based on thickener type.

Grease products are composed of base fluid oils, thickeners, and additives. The thickener holds these substances together as grease so that it can be applied to the equipment. Different thickener types affect the performance of the grease. Here’s how it works: when the grease is applied to the moving part, the pressure exerted by the movement separates the base oil and additives from the thickener as the part moves, which then lubricates the machinery. The oil is reabsorbed back into the thickener when the moving parts stop. When grease is incompatible, this process doesn’t occur the way it should, and the oil isn’t reabsorbed into the thickener. The process is called ‘bleeding,’ and it appears when you choose the wrong grease or if there is contamination or incompatibility. If you follow the principles of the Chevron Grease Matrix, you should be able to avoid this problem and other compatibility issues as you transition to new grease products.

What about oil separation during storage?
Customers worried about ‘bleeding’ are often concerned about oil separation in their grease products during storage. They may report a layer of separated oil on top of the product, a lumpy texture, or surface cracking. Oil separation during storage is very normal and often causes no harm. Usually, you can restore the grease by stirring it up before applying it to the machinery.

Oil separation typically occurs when products are stored in high-temperature areas, at least over 43ºF. If you follow proper storage procedures, you will generally prevent this issue. We recommend following these grease storage protocols.

  • Store products in cool, dry areas with minimal exposure. Indoor storage is best, and a temperature range with 32ºF to 77ºF. Ensure that your products are not exposed to dust particulates to avoid label and container deterioration.
  • Store products in an upright position to prevent oil separation.
  • Cover your products with plastic covers or tip oil drums to prevent water and particulate contamination when storing outdoors.
  • Rotate inventory regularly, so you are using your oldest supplies first.
  • Warm up your grease products to the dispensing temperature before use.
  • Use airtight containers, and wipe the containers off before opening to prevent contamination.
  • Clean tools and equipment you are using with your grease products before handling.

If you open your grease products and notice some oil separation, you can pour the excess oil off into a compatible container or absorbent bag. You can also stir the product to reabsorb the oil into the thickener. If you are concerned about excessive oil separation, get your products tested and analyzed for contamination or water damage.

Chevron has a large selection of grease products
Choosing the proper grease for your equipment is a complicated process, so, understandably, it’s frustrating when your favorite products are no longer available. But, even though some common Chevron grease products are being phased out, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be able to find other grease supplies with compatible properties. Chevron has an extensive product line and has developed various products for your lubrication needs. The replacement products Chevron is recommending provide the same level of lubricant and additive performance. It’s just a different product formula. Check the new replacement products against the Grease matrix and your equipment manual standards. You might even find that the new grease products provide additional coverage or performance.

We can help you find the right grease products
We’re not saying that one grease is the same as all others. There is a great deal of diversity among grease products, even in the same product line. But it is possible to get the same level of lubricant performance from a different but equally compatible product. It helps if you understand how grease lubricants are produced and work. Once you have that basic understanding and know-how to care for and store your lubricant supplies properly, you can then select a new compatible grease product for your equipment needs.
Our role is to help make this process easier for you. If you are concerned about any of these product changes, please call your Greg’s Petroleum Service rep. We can walk you through the selection process, explain the Chevron grease matrix, and help you select the right lubricant products for your equipment needs. We even have an oil analysis program to test your supplies for compatibility or contamination to ensure that you get the best lubricant performance. As your local fuel and lubricants supplier, we're here to us today if you have any questions.