Most organizations that manage mobile equipment fleets are far too casual about controlling particle contamination in engine oil. They seem to have blind faith in the effectiveness of standard-purchase oil filters and air filters to achieve their reliability objectives. Many don't have a clue how well their filters are performing as evidenced by the fact that they don't set target cleanliness levels for crankcase oils and don't ask their oil analysis labs to report cleanliness levels.

How Poor Air and Oil Filters on Engines Cost

This graphic above helps illustrate the many and compounding ways particle contamination costs fleet organizations real money. The many opportunities for cost reduction are also clear.

1. The process usually begins with organizations pretending to save money by buying cheap oil filters and air filters with the false sense that all filters are pretty much the same.

2. In fact they are not, as you often get exactly what you pay for. Buy cheap filters and you usually get increasing and excessively high dirt loading in the lube oil over the drain interval. High dirt concentration shortens oil life and performance in numerous ways. One is by ...

3. The excessive amounts of wear debris that dirt generates in the oil from abrasion and surface fatigue. The wear particles are catalytic and cause premature additive depletion and base oil oxidation. Engines only permit so much wear debris to be generated (like tread on tires), after which the engine will need to be rebuilt. The short oil life and engine rebuild interval is both costly and unnecessary.

4. High engine wear in the vicinity of the combustion chamber (cylinder walls, rings, piston, valves, etc.) leads to poor combustion efficiency. This translates to less work performed due to the engine's sluggish/slower operation. Additionally, it causes ...

5. ... a rapid loss of fuel economy (more fuel consumption) and oil economy (more rapid oil burn). These are serious operational costs to a fleet organization.

6. When more fuel and oil are burned there is a correspondingly high discharge of tail pipe emission. This results in an unnecessary penalty to our environment and puts human life in danger.