Good maintenance practices and long-lasting filters and fluids are critical to increasing machine availability and decreasing overall operating costs. Whether you operate one machine or a fleet, comprehensive lube services combined with reliable air filters, oil filters and coolant filters, as well as the correct oils, coolants, and fuels, are an integral part of a cost-saving preventive maintenance plan.
Regular fluids analysis of oils, coolants, and filters provides excellent indicators of potential issues and can also be a significant cost saving measure. Normal component wear is expected and predictable; abnormal wear may be the result of improper maintenance or operating techniques or substandard filters and fluids. This can adversely affect your productivity and your owning/operating costs. However, high-grade fluids and filters combined with a solid preventive maintenance plan will help you get maximum value and life out of your equipment. Additionally, you can save significant costs by looking at these three areas below.
Engine oil performs three main functions: cleaning, cooling, and lubricating engine parts. High-quality oils provide maximum protection in a number of ways:
- Engine oil cleans parts by carrying away damaging metal particles and deposits.
- Engine oil cools parts by absorbing and carrying away heat.
- Engine oil lubricates parts by forming a thin film to support and separate them.
To ensure your engine oil correctly performs these functions, it is important to change the oil regularly, in the proper manner, using high-grade oil. Lower quality oils are cheaper up front, but tend to lose effectiveness in a shorter period of time, needing to be replaced sooner and ultimately costing more over the length of machine ownership and operation.
Engine wear and failure causes
Problems in the engine lubrication system can cause accelerated abrasive wear or catastrophic failure of core components. A few of the common causes of engine wear and failure are:
- Excessive soot in the oil.
- Poor quality/low performance engine oil.
- Extended oil change intervals.
- Poor maintenance practices.
- Fuel dilution.
The cooling system of your machine maintains correct engine temperatures by taking away unwanted heat generated by combustion and friction. To help keep this system functioning properly you should:
- Maintain the cooling system properly, paying attention to high or low temperature gauge readings.
- Follow proper start-up procedures, including cleaning debris from the radiator and fan, checking the radiator cap seal, and watching for dripping coolant or oil.
- Use Cat Extended Life Coolant (ELC) to extend coolant life from 6,000 hours to 12,000.
- Over 40% of engine failures are caused or aggravated by cooling system problems, so be sure to maintain your coolant system for maximum productivity.
Cooling system wear and failure causes
Problems in the cooling system can cause accelerated erosion or catastrophic damage to the core engine components. The single most common problem is poor coolant quality, which causes accelerated cavitation, erosion of cylinder liners, corrosion, and failure of waste pump seals. Poor coolant quality is due to:
- Not maintaining adequate levels of coolant additives.
- Using coolant that does not meet manufacturer’s minimum recommendations.
- Not keeping the cooling system topped off.
- Using coolant past its useful life.
Air, oil, and fuel filters are designed to control contamination inside your engine. Effective filter changes and accurate filter selection will help maintain engine cleanliness and reduce component wear.
Select the right filters
- Air filters – Inadequate filtration can reduce horsepower, rob performance, and ultimately damage your engine. Most Caterpillar air filters feature a radial seal design preventing dirt, soot, sand, and other contaminants from entering your engine. Plus, the quick change characteristic enables you to change your filter and get your machine back to work fast. Cat Ultra High Efficiency Air Filters are designed for environments containing fine dust, soot, or both and can last two to four times longer than standard filters in these conditions.
- Oil filters – Quality oil filters work in unison with fluids to provide the highest levels of filtration cleanliness, performance, and protection. Cat oil filters are manufactured to meet the most demanding specifications, providing increased performance and lower costs.
- Fuel filters – Fuel filters prevent fuel system wear caused by dirt. Cat Ultra High Efficiency Fuel Filters feature special media that trap particles as small as two microns (the average period at the end of a sentence is 400 microns.) High-quality filters are essential to maximizing fuel injector and fuel pump life and prevent hard starting caused by premature injector wear.
An effective and efficient preventive maintenance plan, with proper oil, coolant, and filter products and services, will keep your equipment and your business running at optimal performance. If you haven’t found the right partner to help you do this, contact Cashman Equipment at 1.800.937.2326 or at Cashman@cashmanequipment.com.