Competition: Can You Help Me Gain an Advantage?
Anything that helps engines perform more efficiently, increases the time between maintenance sessions, and educates workers on 'best practices' adds to the bottom line. Here are some ideas to help keep your fleet running in optimum shape — and enhance your competitiveness.
Use Root Cause Analysis
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a maintenance troubleshooting tool used to help truck fleets anticipate and control their systemic causes of oil degradation. RCA can help pinpoint the cause of a failure, figure out why it happened, and determine a preventative course going forward. The process involves a full understanding of engine oils and the mechanical systems that use them. RCA is well-known to lubrication specialists and is often used to troubleshoot failures. In the case of engine oil, the application of RCA techniques starts with a consistent oil analysis program.
Have an Engine Oil Analysis Program
Engine oil analyses are done by qualified laboratories such as Acculube's, with frequency determined by the application. Guidelines are available from your OEM and other sources. Frequency may also be influenced by the results of your last analysis.
Reports focus primarily on contaminants, trace metals, oil's additives, viscosity, base number and other important information. Your test results will also indicate if your oil is excessively contaminated with fuel, water or antifreeze, which hinder the oil's ability to lubricate.
Choose the Right Engine Oil
Every vehicle manufacturer has a recommendation on types and grades of engine oil to use. They also give some guidelines as to how often the oils should be changed. The interval between engine oil changes is primarily dependent on how frequently and how long a truck is driven, and the driving traits of drivers. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has a system for grading motor oils according to their viscosities, or what some call their "weight." In order of ascending viscosity, SAE grades are numbered 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50 and 60.
The first four of these ratings are designated with the letter 'W' to signify a winter, cold-start viscosity. A single-grade oil is one without a polymer additive (Viscosity Index Improver) to change its viscosity. There are eleven grades of single-grade oils: 0W, 5W, 10W, 15W, 20W, 25W, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60.
A multi-grade oil usually employs a Viscosity Index Improver additive to alter its viscosity, though there are some that do not. The designations for multi-grade oils include two numerical designations —- a cold-start number and a hot number for when the engine is at its operating temperature. How an oil's viscosity changes with temperature is dependent on the types and amounts of oils and additives a manufacturer might use.
Evaluate Synthetic Oils
Synthetic oils offer numerous advantages over traditional products. Under extreme operating conditions, synthetics offer better protection of engine and engine components. Also, the use of synthetics means a longer lubricant service life and fewer oil changes. Synthetics are more expensive than traditional oils, but you will use less engine oil- and spend less- with more protection.