David Taber, coordinator of product technical services for 76 Lubricants and Kendall Motor Oil brands at ConocoPhillips, listed four things he considers most crucial to a successful PM program:
- Use the correct lubrication for the application, and don't assume what you've always used is still the right thing. Taber cites Cat's recommendation from days of old to use TO-2 type fluids in their transmissions. "At the time, many engine oils met TO-2 specs and were used in these applications. Today, Cat recommends TO-4 type fluids for their transmissions, and engine oils do not meet this specification." Taber also recommends upgrading lubricants for older, high-hour engines, and when changes in location bring about a degradation of the operating environment.
- Observe proper drain intervals. "Overextending the life of any lubricant can cause formation of deposits, resulting in excessive wear and compromised equipment durability."
- Employ a well-managed oil-analysis program. That program will tell you the correct service intervals for your equipment. It will also point out problems in other systems and components. Fuel dilution? Check for a fouled injector. Silica? Check the air filter for tears or gaps.
- Use the right grease for the application. Grease is grease, right? Wrong. Lube companies and equipment manufacturers work hard to get the right grease in the right spot. Failure to follow their recommendations puts costly premature wear on your equipment.