As innovations have led to more advanced engines, further advances are being made in terms of the oil, filters, and additives that go along with them. The potential cost-cutting that can be achieved by reducing the down time of vehicles. That’s where smart fleet oil maintenance comes into play. Reducing the cost of maintenance after capitalizing on extended drain intervals has also been a major point of discussion in the fleet industry. While reducing costs for operating and maintaining the fleet is an important aspect for fleet managers to consider, it is equally important to compare the opportunities that come with reducing costs against risks that come with engine life being reduced by pushing oil draining intervals too far.
Smart fleet oil maintenance is more about making the best of the oil change intervals, instead of pushing them to the limit. What you need to do is make a smart plan and tweak it for optimal performance. Here are some suggestions for fleet managers regarding how they can make a plan for smart fleet oil maintenance.
Know What You’re Working With
The first step when it comes to making a plan for the oil draining intervals is to get a proper grip on what you’re working with. Everything from the model of the car and the engine to the maintenance practices and hours of operations should be compiled. These are basic things but they will vary throughout the fleet – one solution does not work for all.
Next step for making a smart fleet oil maintenance plan is to compare the costs of manufacturer recommended intervals and optimal intervals. This cost analysis should include things like the storage and handling costs, the labor and supervision, materials and purchasing, lost production, and of course the paperwork and documentation.
Examine The Risks Of Optimal Intervals
Next, figure an estimate of the cost of the risks you’d be undertaking with optimal interval times for oil draining. This risk assessment should cover the decreased availability and production, the increased repair costs, the increased downtime and the decreased engine life. Analyzing the risks will help you determine what you can do as a fleet manager to minimize them.
After you’ve determined all the risks and made a plan of how you can reduce them, you need to start testing your fleet oil maintenance plan. Use a small segment of your fleet to do that. There are many crucial factors during this phase:
- Everything that can impact oil condition has to be the same throughout
- Selection of engine
- Same oil and oil filters
- Similar operating practices
- Engines should be tuned to the specifications
- Same application (work load, fuel consumption, etc.)
- Oil sampling
Phase In Implementation
Based on the results of the testing phase, start putting the plan into action. Increase the change intervals by 50 hours over the recommended interval by the manufacturer. Make sure that you keep the same extended duration of the interval between the oil draining for the next few changes. Use oil analysis to measure the fluid results. When the results are good, increase the oil change interval by another 50 hours and maintain the same practice of keeping that interval and analyzing the fluid conditions.
The regularity with which you will be analyzing the fluid conditions with the change in oil draining duration will give you better insight on engine conditions. These practices for smart fleet oil maintenance will not only allow you to optimize the oil drain interval to save costs, it will also help you to keep up with the maintenance of the engine.