Maintaining a fleet of vehicles can be very costly, particularly if that fleet works under difficult conditions, such as a fleet of mining vehicles or a fleet of municipal buses and trucks. Fleet managers are on the lookout for any cost savings they can find. Oil analysis is one area that can offer significant savings and greatly improve workflow in the garage. We've created a savings calculator to estimate how much money a fleet could save by doing oil analysis in house.
There are three main areas of savings available to fleet maintenance managers:
- Savings on used oil analysis
- Savings from extending oil drain intervals
- Savings from early diagnosis of problems
Cost of Oil Analysis
Many fleet managers send oil samples to a laboratory for analysis to check on things like wear particles, viscosity, contamination and oil chemistry. Much like a blood test on a human, an oil test on a vehicle tells a lot about the health of that vehicle. Are the wear metals high or increasing suddenly? This is indicative of abnormal wear in the engine or transmission which may warn of an impending failure. Is there glycol in the oil? This is indicative of a coolant leak which can lead to pitting of the cylinder walls.
All of this knowledge generated by oil analysis is valuable for maintenance personnel and can help to prevent costly failures, but is it the best solution? On-site oil analyzers have evolved tremendously over the past few years. They analyze samples quickly, usually in under 15 minutes. The cost of a test is quite a bit less than the cost of sending a sample to an outside laboratory. They are easy to use and produce reports that are easy to understand showing which parameters are out of spec and require immediate attention.
Extend Oil Drain Intervals
Large vehicles can carry many gallons of oil that are expensive to change, store and discard. When the cost of an oil change can be hundreds or thousands of dollars, it makes sense to only change the oil when it is necessary, as opposed to changing it on an arbitrary time or mileage schedule. On-site analysis can quickly monitor the health of the oil and tell you whether or not it needs to be changed or if the vehicle is okay to be driven more before changing the oil.
For large fleets the savings associated with extending oil drain intervals can be hundreds of thousand of dollars per year.
Early Detection of Failures
Early detection of engine or transmission issues allow the fleet operators to make sensible decisions about maintenance, rather than having to drop everything to fix a vehicle that has stopped working. For operations such as mining, the money lost by stopped production can dwarf the cost of repairing the failure.
Often, it's not practical to wait for the results of laboratory testing. This can take days or weeks. By the time the results are back, the vehicle may have already failed. On-site oil analysis often catches these impending failures in time to take preventative actions, saving money on repairs and avoiding extended downtime.
To get an idea of how much your operation might be able to save by doing oil analysis on-site, please check out our calculator. Simply answer a few questions about your fleet and we will give you an estimate of the savings you might experience by bringing oil analysis on site.