Oil Analysis & Your PM Program | Semi Truck Repair
In the past, and truly in jest, we have compared ourselves to doctors.
We don’t have to tell you (but alas, we will)… Doctors we are not.
For fleet managers though, maintaining their equipment is nearly as important as maintaining their bodies. (And some of the more dedicated would argue even moreso.)
Oil to the truck is like blood to the body: a critical, ever changing indicator of the health of the engine and it’s components.
And, just like getting a blood test, routinely testing your oil can guide you to what you’re doing right–or flag you to what you need to do differently–with your vehicle.
Standard oil analysis measures the trace elements found in an oil sample. These elements can include tiny metal particles that may have flaked off due to wear from one of the engines or transmissions components. Additionally, oil analysis can test for contamination by fuel, antifreeze, dirt, etc. And while some wear is expected from any vehicle, major wear or heavy contamination of these elements can point to a major problem with your machine.
As a service provider, we recommend doing regular oil analysis either at regular oil change intervals, at your tractor’s drain intervals, or both. Getting on a regular testing schedule will paint a picture of what is “normal” for each individual vehicle and alternately what is abnormal or cause for concern. For example, a high amount of chromium in the oil can indicate excessive wear of your piston ring. A change in the viscosity of your oil can indicate fuel dilution or a number of other issues.
Any way you slice it, unless you are actively looking to do a complete tear-down or replacement of your engine/transmission/etc., taking regular stock of your oil should be a dedicated part of your preventative maintenance program. And while we are not medical doctors, we are in the business of keeping your fleet healthy…
So for the point of this post, we’ll call it the same.
How much money have you saved by finding an issue before it broke something major on a truck in your fleet?