Fleet Maintenance - 15
level - it should be where it started," says PetroCanada's Humphrey. "If it's moved away from
where it started, either getting too thick or too
thin, something's wrong. The additive levels
should also remain stable. The oil is formulated
with certain performance chemicals in it that have
telltale metal levels: phosphorous, magnesium,
zinc, calcium. Those are in there on purpose, and
if the level of those additives changes dramatically
from one oil sample to the next, somebody probably put a different kind of oil in there, so you've
Used oil analysis is most useful when samples
are taken at regular intervals, during each oil
drain or even more frequently. As with most maintenance items, consistency is key.
"What you really are looking for is a change in
trends," Arcy says, noting that Shell recommends
taking a sample during every oil drain, and being
consistent with mileage. For example, if a fleet is
performing oil drains every 50,000 miles, they
should continue sending samples every 50,000
miles. "If you do a 50,000 [mile sample] and then
a 30,000 [mile sample], your numbers are going
to be different," he says.
Paying close attention to oil analysis trends can
help predict problems before they occur. Or, it can
show that a result that seems out of the ordinary
is actually normal for a vehicle in a certain type
"Live samples out of the engine block with a
push-button valve that's either in the side of an oil
gallery or somewhere where there's live oil flowing gives us the best results," he says, noting that
samples can also be taken using a length of new
hose and a vampire pump through the dipstick tube.
"Take an oil sample when the engine is up to
temperature [so] the oil has boiled off any condensation that's inside of the engine, and the engine
has either just come in from the road or it's been
warmed up," Cigala adds. "Shut the engine off and
pull a sample from the dipstick, or leave it running
and pull the sample live."
Labs typically need two to four ounces of oil
to produce accurate results, which are usually
available about 24 hours after the oil sample is
received. What are lab technicians looking for in
these used oil samples?
"They're looking at a number of different properties of the oil and the chemistry of the oil,"
Shell Lubricants' Arcy says. "[They'll] be looking
at viscosity, they'll be looking at the different
metals in it, and metals being broken down into
wear metals and additive metals. We'll be looking
for, 'is there iron in the oil from wear, or copper, or
lead?' Also, we'll be looking at the additive metals
to make sure that the right product was in there,
that someone [didn't] put the wrong product in."
The lab will also be looking for contaminants,
Cigala confirms. Pollutants such as fuel dilution
could be caused by a fuel injector issue or high
idle situations, depending on the duty cycle of the
»»Labs typically need two to four ounces
of oil to produce accurate results, which
are usually available about 24 hours
after the oil sample is received.
Photo courtesy of ExxonMobil Lubricants
CK-4 and FA-4 oils
provide improved oxidation
resistance, shear stability,
and aeration control.
equipment; coolants, potassiums, and sodiums from
either head gasket or exhaust gas recirculation (EGR)
cooler leaks; any kind of excessive wear metals,
either from a lubrication issue or from contamination; and silicon, which could be indicative of dirt
entering through the air system. Anything that
could be causing excessive wear inside the engine
or indicate a potential issue is flagged.
Once a fleet receives the results of a used oil analysis, they can see if any actions need to be taken
to improve the health of the engine or engine oil.
If everything checks out, the regular maintenance
plan can continue. If any items are flagged, however, action may need to be taken to prevent unintended damage to the engine.
"Primarily, you're looking at the viscosity
Selecting a vendor
There are many options when it comes to selecting a vendor to perform used oil analysis. Some
oil companies, such as Shell and ExxonMobil,
provide these services in-house (Shell Lube
Analyst and Mobil Serv, respectively). If a fleet
uses oil from one of these manufacturers, the
company will likely recommend using their
analysis service. Other companies like PetroCanada, for example, outsource analysis work to
third-party vendors. Whichever a fleet chooses,
there are a few factors to keep in mind.
ÜÜLocation. If a fleet operates nationwide, its
vehicles may not be returning to a home base
for service, Humphrey says. In that case, the
fleet would want to select a vendor with multiple locations across the country or even North
America, so samples don't have to be shipped
as far for analysis.
ÜÜReputation. "Do they have a good reputation
among other fleets?" Humphrey asks. "Do
people think their services are accurate and
timely? Do they support you in an ease-of-use
way? Do they have a nice, easy-to-use software
system where you could look up the data on
the lab from any computer, just log into the
system and see your results?"
ÜÜData access. Being able to easily access used
oil analysis results and data is important for
a fleet. "With everything being online on your
smart device, everybody's connected 24/7, so
to be able to have access to ... the data 24/7
is what everybody's looking for," Cigala says.
ÜÜGuidance. Fleets also need to look at what kind
of guidance they will get that will be beneficial, Cigala adds. "You really want to have
an understanding of who's going to help [you]
understand and interpret the data to make it
the most valuable for the fleet."
May 2019 | VehicleServicePros.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance
Uptime - Are You Communicating with Employees Effectively?
Trends in Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oils
Vehicles - Keys to Consistent Liftgate Performance
In the Bay - How Standardized Vehicle Communication Protocols Impact Diagnostics and Vehicle Operation
Shop Operations - Considerations for Mobile Device Usage in the Shop
Training - Where are all the Students Going?
Management - Why the Recent Airline Accidents Should be Concerning
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial - How Much Do You Spend on DPF Maintenance?
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime - Are You Communicating with Employees Effectively?
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Trends in Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oils
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - 12
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - Vehicles - Keys to Consistent Liftgate Performance
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - 20
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - In the Bay - How Standardized Vehicle Communication Protocols Impact Diagnostics and Vehicle Operation
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - 26
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - Shop Operations - Considerations for Mobile Device Usage in the Shop
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - 30
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - 32
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Training - Where are all the Students Going?
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Management - Why the Recent Airline Accidents Should be Concerning
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 38
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - 40
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - 42
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial - How Much Do You Spend on DPF Maintenance?
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48