Optimizing Oil Drains: 4 Sure-fire Tips for Better Efficiency

Published by: Chevron Technology | 5-Feb-2023

The component's lubricant is essential to its operation and optimization of the comprehensive performance of the equipment. However, determining the ideal drain intervals is one of the numerous questions that the vehicles and equipment owners have. Multiple questions hover over the mind: Do the acids that form in your oil have an adverse effect on the component life? Do your present drain intervals lead to needless expenditures (labor and lubricant) and unnecessary oil waste disposal?

The solutions and advice offered are rarely application-specific and mostly generic in nature.

Routine oil analysis is the only way to get the answers to those questions. One of the essential components of carrying out a precise oil analysis is switching from preventative maintenance (PM) to a condition-based monitoring program (CBM). Mentioned below are 4 tips that guarantee the optimization of your oil drains. In short, your oil drains will be operating at maximum efficiency, cutting down on waste, with improved equipment reliability, and reduced costs of buying new lubricants and maintenance expenses. 

1. Examine the oil and check with the OEM.

First and foremost, make sure to check with the component manufacturer to ascertain whether the lubricant formulations are approved for extending drain intervals.

Being consistent with the lubricant product in the extended drain program will substantially ease the process, provided that the manufacturer permits extended drains on its latest model-year components.

2. Take part in oil testing and analysis.

Oil analysis takes into consideration factors that are critical to the equipment's reliability, such as longevity, oil quality, maintenance procedures, and operating conditions. It is possible to control the optimal lubricant drain interval by participating in extensive laboratory testing and analysis.

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3. Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs).

It can be ineffective to run without any direction, clear goals or objectives. This is when a well-designed set of KPIs might be useful. These include:  

Acid Number: Measuring the amount of acid in the used lubricant is key to understanding the levels of oxidation and contamination. Make sure that the acid number is always lower than the OEM’s and lubricant manufacturer’s recommendation, as this secures the continued use of the lubricant.

Base Number (Engines): This test stipulates the level of additives in your oil, specifically detergents and dispersants that eliminate acid emissions from combustion. To ensure a safe extension of the oil drain process, maintain the lubricant base number above the manufacturer limit values for oils.

Oxidation: Check whether the oxidation levels are lower than the limit set by the lubricant manufacturer, as this indicates the oil is still in use. In the case of natural gas engines, it is necessary to monitor nitration.

Viscosity: Make sure that the lubricant’s viscosity is in line with the lubricant manufacturer’s range, as this dictates the extension of the oil and if it can be used any further.

The above KPIs can be taken into consideration for effective optimization of drain interval.

4. Use sample reports to take suitable action.

Never ignore a sample report. All the elements of metal content, contamination, sample history and recommended actions shall be included in each sample report, and it is important to review the reports as soon as they are received to take appropriate measures. 

In conclusion, follow these 4 steps to maintain optimal oil drains and extend the efficiency and life of your vehicles and equipment.

This Article is written by Chevron Technologies In collabaration with Industry Expert