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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

What if you used the wrong oil for an oil change?

What happens if you use the wrong oil for an oil change?

With the plethora of oils available it’s not uncommon to use the wrong oil for an oil change. But the consequences may be found in unexplained equipment failure you’ve had: Has the question “I wonder if this is the right oil” ever been asked? If so you know exactly what we’re talking about.

How can you determine if you’ve used the wrong oil for an oil change.

Without a doubt you’d be better off doing an oil analysis. By looking at either a change in viscosity and/or a change in additive concentration, during the analysis would definitely tell its own tale. 

Unless there is a significant difference in oil type (viscosity, base oil type, additives, etc.) or any dye that may be used in the oil or grease, it is unlikely that a sensory inspection is sufficient to indicate whether the wrong oil for an oil change was used.

How to prevent using the wrong oil for an oil change.

Your problem probably has little to do with oil analysis but is more likely to be a procedural issue. In other words; you need to make those who are empowered with adding/changing oil, understand why using the wrong oil for an oil change can be disastrous.

The first stage is imparting knowledge, through education, whether it be formal training or simply internal training sessions what the best oil change practice is.

Secondly, you need to make the process of adding or changing oil as foolproof as possible. The best way to achieve this is to enforce lube tagging.

In this approach, new oils are tagged with a designated colour and shape. For example, ISO VG 220 gear oil is given a blue triangle, AW 46 hydraulic fluid a yellow circle, etc.

The next step in preventing that the wrong oil for an oil change is used, is to similarly label dedicated oil transfer equipment such as oil top-up containers, funnels, filter carts, etc.

Finally, label the gearboxes, etc., with the same blue triangle, green square, etc.

The strategy is simple: Blue-triangle oil gets added to blue-triangle components using blue-triangle hardware. This can be applied to all components and hardware, including greases, grease guns, etc.

This together with well written “works instructions” for the normal condition based oil changes should eliminate the risk of using the wrong oil for an oil change.

A real world example of lube tagging to prevent using the wrong oil for an oil change.

At the General Motors, Kempston Road, Assembly Plant management addressed the need to coordinate the equipment requirements by labelling the lubricant storage and delivery containers. 

They created a coding system that used words, images and colours to define the specific product for each application. Once identified, the products were then matched with the correct storage and transfer container.

The result was a visual system that clearly communicated which lubricant the machine required and which container held that particular lubricant. The technician or mechanic needed no special knowledge to use the simple matching system and not worry about using the wrong oil for an oil change.

At Habot Oil we supply the best quality synthetic lube for any application. Extreme care should be exercised not to use the wrong oil for an oil change, as our products are specifically designed with optimum performance in mind. If you have any doubt about the oil you’re using, contact our team of professionals.