Technical Solutions Q & A

Premium Power LogoWe all know we should change oil at recommended intervals, but it’s equally important to know what oil to choose for your engines’ application. If you have an engine question please feel free to contact us for a solution free of charge. Your answer will appear soon:

The term “Synthetic Oil”, What Does it Mean?

The term “Synthetic oil” is mainly used for marketing, and is also interpreted differently around the world. The most reliable source to use is the API classification system (American Petroleum Institute) for determining different base stock grades used in a lubricant. API group 1 includes mineral oils, API group 2 and 3 include hydrogen-treated mineral oils, which some can be classified synthetic, and API group 4 are most commonly polyalphaolefins (PAO) that are constructed artificially from other compounds.

What makes the polyalphaolefin (PAO) base stock used in Schaeffer’s oil so much better than the oil I currently use?

One main advantage of PAO base stocks is their high thermal stability, which results in longer drain intervals even with higher oil temperatures. Another advantage is their flat, shear stable viscosity temperature characteristic. This means that the oil is less like honey when cold, and less like water when hot.

Can synthetic PAO and mineral oils be mixed?

YES, the PAO based oils can be mixed with mineral type oils. But this will reduce the quality, and also the oil change interval.

What is wrong with using low cost oil, if you change the oil frequently?

In some applications the low cost oils are failing from the start. Many times low cost oils use a cheap base stock to build their formulations which causes the oil to break down in industrial environments. High oil temperatures will cause the oil to deteriorate rapidly which causes component wear and varnish contamination.

Do higher end synthetic lubricants reduce energy consumption in machinery?

YES! Major company studies have shown that the added cost of a synthetic lubricant is a drop in a bucket compared to the energy, time, and wear savings produced over a mineral equivalent. Mechanical, fluid, and load friction are all causes for equipment to lose HP, create more emissions, and run hotter. Synthetics show a reduction of 2-5% of energy used to operate equipment. On top of that, synthetic oil’s with added boundary friction modifiers boost this number even higher!

What is base oil?

The refined petroleum fraction or synthetic material that is produced by a single manufacture to a given set of specifications. Lubricants quality can depend upon the type of base oil used, the refining and/or production method used to produce the base oil. Base oils are so important in a lubricant selection, because they generally make up for 70-99% of a lubricants formulation.

Synthetic Oil

What should I look for in choosing a lubricant for my application?

Manufactures are being forced to push the limits of machines due to competition, productivity, and reduced downtime all to have greater customer satisfaction. One of the most effective ways to achieve these performance levels is also one of the simplest and most frequently overlooked: Proper Lubrication!

It is always best to follow OEM guidelines for selecting proper lubrication for your equipment. But that does not mean you have to follow a specific brand that they recommend. It is common to have a big oil company pay to have manufactures request only their oil be used in the application for best performance. This is not true! There are many higher quality alternatives that will meet and exceed the desired spec on lubricants for equipment.

What are common mistakes of choosing lubricants for my application?

Some are simple as not providing your supplier with valuable information about your equipment. Questions could be: How hot does the unit run, fuel type, any reoccurring issues and possible contamination. Other mistakes include solely buying at lower prices; this is common for today’s purchasing agents. The old saying  “you get what you pay for” is very true in today’s market.

Additional factors to take into consideration are:

  • Reduced operating costs resulting from less down time, helping your bottom line.
  • Less maintenance = Improved labor utilization.
  • Measurable energy reduction savings and an increase in output.
  • It’s not the cost to buy a product; it’s the cost to use it!
  • What questions can help uncover the cause of a failure?

Investigate the operating conditions the unit was in and take note of the year, make, and model to research any common failures. Look at things like environmental conditions, loads and speeds, temperature of coolant and oil, fuel and oil consumption rates, and type of duty cycles. Regular oil analysis can help uncover or prevent major unit failure and is strongly recommended!

What job does the oil really have to do?

Lubricate is not the only answer here. It needs to keep parts clean and reduce varnish build up, minimize combustion chamber deposits, cool the working machine parts, and seal combustion pressures just to name a few. The lubricant is the blood of the machine and performance will reflect on it.

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