"A lot of people call us — especially other equipment owners from here in Connecticut — asking about different maintenance products: bypass filtration, synthetic oils, fuel additives, that sort of thing," says Jim Zambero, vice president of maintenance at Torrington-based highway-and-heavy contractor O&G Industries.
"The first thing I ask them is, 'Do you have an oil-sampling program?' Don't jeopardize anything on your equipment if you don't do sampling," he adds, underscoring the risk of downtime and repair expense if a maintenance change produces a component failure.
"You've got all your equipment out there running on various jobsites and you don't know what's going on inside it," he says. "It could develop a coolant leak or fuel dilution, and you have no way of knowing that it's going on.
"It's like when Allison came out with its World transmission and said that with their synthetic oil you can go 3,000 hours between oil changes," Zambero says. "In our business, that's a year and a half. We sample every 500 hours, anyway, because 3,000 hours is too far to go without knowing what's going on in that component.
"Those World transmissions are very expensive to overhaul, but with oil analysis, you have the confidence that you are good to go.
"We're running them 3,000 hours between oil changes, but sampling every 500 hours. We can go back to the manufacturer and show them the evidence if we have a problem with one of those components.
"If you have a good paper trail, you don't have any problems with OEMs. They need the paper trail, too (to be confident in their diagnosis)."