Maximizing Truck Engine Life Through Oil Analysis

Engine oil is the life blood of any engine and is “the” major factor in maximizing the life of the engine. Periodic oil changes are required if one hopes to maximize engine life. The trick is to find the point where the oil has degraded to the point where it can no longer support the requirements of the engine and base oil change intervals on data that repeatedly shows this point within a few miles either way. One must understand that oil change intervals should be based on engine requirements and let the economics (cost of maintaining the engine) be determined by these requirements. The engine should be considered a system with oil as a key part of that system and initial oil quality is a major contributor to overall engine life and change interval requirements. In other words, disregarding the effect of contamination, the better the oil quality, the more stable the system and the longer the engine life and change intervals. If oil is changed too soon, money and resources are not optimized. If, on the other hand, oil is allowed to run past the point where it can no longer support engine requirements, engine component damage may occur. This increases the overall costs of operating the engine due to engine life reduction.

Oil analysis is the only effective way to determine if engine oil needs to be changed. But, on top of that, it also has the added benefit of being able to detect engine wear caused by anomalies such as internal fuel or coolant leaks.

Maximizing engine life is best accomplished through setting correct PM schedules by understanding engine oil capability (change interval) obtained through an effective and well run oil analysis program. An effective oil analysis program can be used to set and maintain the required drain interval that maintains the engine so that its natural life expectancy can be achieved. This is accomplished by selecting a good engine oil with ample performance and setting change intervals based on repeatable data that shows the oil degradation rate and the point where the oil is no longer useful.

An oil analyzer like JG Lubricant Services can help get the most from your engine. So, whether you’re an independent owner/operator or you maintain a large fleet of trucks or buses, you can count on oil analysis to reduce the overall cost of ownership, improve your overall operations, lessen your downtime and increase overall revenue.

Properly set PM schedules, based on engine requirements and oil degradation rate, will reduce overall engine wear and maximize engine life. Top oil analysis suppliers, like JG Lubricant Services, help you optimize PM schedules through accurate and repeatable testing followed up with easy to understand reporting. This can, in turn, lead to engines that perform as designed and meet life expectations.

Oil analyzers, such as JG Lubricant Services, can greatly assist owner/operators and mechanics determine when it’s truly time to change the engine oil by knowing and understanding the overall condition of the engine. The cost of oil has not decreased any over the years and can be a major part of the maintenance budget. It’s important to maximize its use by purchasing a good quality oil that remains resistant oxidation and viscosity loss and changing it only as needed and as indicated by used oil analysis. JG Lubricant Services understands how to get the most from your engine oil and can advise you if a different oil might be required. If a different oil is needed, they can help you validate the oil through scientific based side by side testing.

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Thomas Johnson

Tom Johnson is part owner and President of JG Lubricant Services, LLC. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Purdue University and has over 30 years engineering experience. Prior to forming JG Lubricant Services, Tom acted as the Transmission Fluids Engineer for Allison Transmission for the last 20 years before his retirement in 2009. While in this position, Tom worked with most of the global oil and additive companies. Tom wrote all of Allison’s current lubricant specifications (including the ground breaking TES-295 specification). He directed and managed the testing and approval of hundreds of transmission fluid formulations for Allison Transmission and served as a key member of the GM Automatic Transmission Fluid Committee. Tom was also a key member of the Engine Oil Review Committee for the SAE Performance Review Institute and participated on a multi-OEM panel to review and approve engine oils to US Army specifications. Tom worked closely with the US Army Tank Automotive Command to review military specification oils for use in US Army tactical and combat wheeled and track laying vehicles.