The importance of engine lubrication
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The importance of engine lubrication

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Managing Editor of Fleet Equipment Magazine

Heavy-duty-oil-filter

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Engine lubrication is an important aspect of the overall health of your engines and trucks. Fleets may have questions about their engine oils, such as how application impacts their choice of oil and what they can do to keep the engine oil and filtration system in good shape. We talked with Kevin Adams, director of research and development for Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), to get the answers.

For the initial spec, Adams advises fleets to be open to trying more expensive oils. Though they cost more up front, he says they will improve the fleet’s total cost of operation in the long run thanks to benefits like wear protection.

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“Fleets should be progressive and open to trying oils that contain better components with the overall goal of saving money. New additive technologies are continuing to push the envelope with fuel economy and wear protection,” he says.

There aren’t very many differences between applications in terms of what oils to choose initially, but Adams says that the oil change interval can vary significantly depending on your application—construction equipment that is running full throttle all day may consume additives or shear oil faster than an over-the-road driver cruising at half throttle all day, for example.

So what can fleets do to keep the engine oil and filtration system in good shape?

“A must for any fleet is to install a bypass filter to keep oil consistently clean until the next oil change,” Adams says. “A bypass filter is a unit that takes a slip stream of five to 10% of the oil flow and super cleans it down to around 1 micron. The benefit to finer filtration is the removal of particles less than 10 microns that cause wear. In tests we found that a diesel oil that was due to be changed could be brought back to new condition within 300 miles of use. Extending drain intervals should always be monitored with regular oil analysis to confirm that wear metals are normal and that the oils detergent package is still at an acceptable level. The lab generally gives recommendations as part of the analysis service.”

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Adams adds that the best way to get the most from your oil investment is to regularly send the oil out for analysis, which can tell you when it needs to be changed and also provide early detection of bearing problems.

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