Even the best lubricants wear out and get dirty after extended use. That is why having a regular maintenance and analysis program is important. Sampling lubricants from your equipment at regular intervals can help prolong life and stop breakdowns.
The first step in creating a testing program is determining a sample interval. There are several factors to consider, including equipment age, frequency of use, whether you use synthetic or conventional lubricants and others. However, general guidelines are:
-Diesel Engines - 250-500 hours
-Wheel Motors - 250-500 hours
-Differentials – 500 – 100 hours
-Hydraulic Systems - 500 – 100 hours
-Transmissions - 500 – 100 hours
- Final Drive - 500 – 100 hours
-Diesel Engine – 15,000 – 25,000 Miles
-Transmission – 25,000 – 50,000 Miles
Once the plan is in place, sampling can begin. It is critical to follow best practices when sampling, as failure to do so can result in inaccurate results.
Best practices include:
-Using a clean sample container
-Taking samples from consistent locations at consistent intervals
-Sampling from a machine running at normal operating temperatures
-If a machine must be shut down to sample, sample should be drawn as soon as possible
-After initially filling the sample bottle, dump the contents and fill again.
-Keep area around sampling site clean
-Record key sample details
-Check sample visually for obvious issues
Make sure your sample is sealed properly and send it off to the testing service of your choice. Results can help determine if a machine is malfunctioning or if the lubricant you are using isn’t the correct one.