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What is the function of oil?

Oil has six main functions:

Separates moving surfaces
Reduces abrasive wear
Protects surfaces from corrosive substances
Absorbs and transfers heat
Transports particles and other contaminants to filters/separators
Transmits force and motion

So, it is important to do regular oil changes and keep levels topped up!

How are different specifications of oil made?

To base oil - mineral or synthetic - an additive package is blended. Up to twelve main additives may be added, they will also vary in amounts. Detergents, dispersants, rust inhibitors, anti foam, anti-wear and friction modifiers are just a few.

Why are there so many different oils?

Research and development by engine manufacturers and oil companies ensure that newly designed engines give best performance, economy, low CO2 emissions and longevity of engines. Technical progress has led to constant improvements of engines and oils, consequently there is a range of specifications according to year of manufacture and engine manufacturer. The API 'Timeline' gives an indication of what specification and when.

What is the API?

API stands for American Petroleum Institute; they created the specification levels. You will also find ACEA ratings which are the European categorization of oil specifications. It you want the best performance, economy, low CO2 emissions and longevity of engine you should use oil to the engine manufacturers API/ACEA specification by referring to the vehicle manual.

How does oil affect emissions from a vehicle?

The oil in your engine plays an important role in minimizing CO2. The additives mop up soot and dirt from the combustion process, and help to keep the engine running clean. A good quality oil meeting the manufacturers specification along with regular oil changes will ensure low emissions.

I only want cheap hydraulic oil because the machine leaks.

Ok. We understand where you are coming from, but why is it leaking - have you always used cheap hydraulic oils or have you a mechanical problem? Hydraulic oils are often underrated in the jobs they do. Water, air and dirt is attracted to hydraulic oils like metal is to a magnet. These contaminants are then forced round a system at high speeds and pressures. With most hydraulic components being manufactured to extremely tight tolerances it is hardly surprising that premature wear and failure is the result of using poor quality oil or not changing oils frequently enough.

If your machine is old and you have no intention of repairing it, then cheap hydraulic oil may do the job. However if the leakage is not too high then consider the better quality hydraulic oil, it has additives in it that soften the seals and lubricate the pumps and spools properly; ultimately the leaks could reduce, even stop depending on any existing damage to components.

Why change hydraulic oil?

When did you last change the hydraulic oil? Used hydraulic oil looks clean because it is an enclosed system and is not subject to combustion. However, just like engine oil it has additives that are sacrificial, so changing is important. As a guide hydraulic oil running at 30oC will last for 30 years, for every 10o increase in temperature, half its life e.g. 40o = 15years, 50o = 7½ years. So, at 1300 the life span is just 2¼ weeks!

Remember, all oil additives are sacrificial and when they are depleted there is no anti-wear and the oil has lost its ability to handle the water and entrained air. So continued use will inevatively result in expensive repairs.

All Axeum customers are given technical advice and support during consultations and after sales to ensure correct oils are used.

Why does 15/40 oil vary in price?

First, 15w/40 refers to the viscosity of the oil; there are various specifications for that grade or viscosity of oil. The cost of the base oil plus the amount and type of additive package will reflect in the price. The quality of the base oil and additive package also affects the price. As in most things, there are cheap oils out there which will not offer the same protection as a quality, but more expensive oil.

The old adage applies -

"You pays your money and take your choice"

So why should I use the good quality oil, it costs more?

Quite simply, it will be doing exactly the same job from day one to the time you change it at servicing. Less expensive oils 'shear', leaving the engine unprotected and prone to overheating, more friction, noise and ultimately premature wear. If you change from good quality oil to a less expensive one you will not notice any immediate signs, however a few months later it will become apparent. If your vehicles are a critical part of your business or important to your customers, use a good quality oil to enhance vehicle reliability, performance and economy.

Perhaps another way of considering the price is to value your vehicle. How much did it cost £1000, £10,000, £100,000? The cost of an oil change is a very small percentage of the vehicles value and it doesn't have to be done too often (unless high mileage) so, to change oils at recommended intervals with good quality oils is really is the cheapest and best form of vehicle maintenance!

We're always having problems with hydraulic pipes, pumps and spools.

Dirt! Is the probable answer. Just a spec of dirt 5 microns or above is extremely abrasive under the pressure and tolerances that hydraulics work to. This will cause wear on the bends of pipes and score spools and pumps. Make sure the caps are sealed tightly on the hydraulic fillers. WORK CLEAN

Over-greasing causes problems

When greasing, never fill 'till it oozes out'. The excess grease will attract dirt and dust which will eventually work its way into the bearing resulting in excessive wear and premature failure. If the grease does ooze out you have probably irreparably damaged the seals

Keep the lid on!

Sounds simple but lids on grease cans are often not firmly fixed on. Dirt and dust will be attracted resulting in the grease causing problems if applied.

Keep oil receptacles, pumps, lids and equipment clean.

Keeping all oil related equipment clean using wipes, a grotty rag doesn't do! The more you can do to reduce dirt attaching to oil the less abrasion and wear.