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Universal Lubricants’ Engine Guard Oil Analysis

Written by Wyant, Mike

Oil is the lifeblood of an engine. Regular oil analysis for fleets of any size can be as important to the health of a vehicle as a medical check-up is to a person. In the world of police fleet management, where vehicle performance and reliability are critical to law enforcement and public safety, oil analysis becomes an even higher priority.

For more than 50 years, Universal Lubricants®, manufacturer and distributor of the high-performance Eco Ultra® line of sustainable engine oils, hydraulic oils and transmission fluids, has conducted oil analysis for its commercial customers.

Our company celebrated a significant customer service milestone this year when we completed our 2 millionth Engine Guard oil analysis. While numbers tell part of the story, the bigger picture includes the bottom line benefits of conducting regular oil analysis for fleets of any size where performance matters—and how it’s done.

In a nutshell, the Engine Guard oil analysis program is a valuable tool that helps Universal Lubricants’ customers achieve the highest levels of performance and reliability in all of their equipment. Today’s high-performance engines need to be monitored and supported to perform reliably and keep maintenance costs down.

The Engine Guard program allows customers to keep their fingers on the pulse of their vehicles and equipment. It’s an early indicator of problems that can be corrected before they cause sudden equipment failures or prolonged downtime. With fleets valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars, failure can result in productivity losses and enormous repair costs.

Universal Lubricants’ Quality Assurance Laboratory is located adjacent to the company’s state-of-the-art re-refinery in Wichita, Kan. In the lab, we monitor the quality of Universal Lubricants products to ensure they meet or exceed all performance specifications. And we conduct the Engine Guard oil analysis to help customers extend oil drain intervals and keep their equipment operational.

All a customer has to do is draw a sample, submit it in our specially designed, postage-paid Engine Guard test kit, and we do the rest. Our lab team generates reports within 24 hours of receiving samples and makes them available via a password protected website. More importantly, we immediately notify customers if there are any abnormal or critical results.

This in-house quality assurance lab is a key differentiator for our company and an integral part of our closed loop strategy. We control all used oil collections and do not outsource our blending process, oil analysis, or any other function of the closed loop process.

When a customer mails an oil sample to Universal Lubricants, we put the sample through wear-metal testing, moisture content and viscosity checks. Customers may request additional testing to check total base number, soot content, additive metals, and other factors.

Upon completion of testing, lab technicians analyze the data and provide clear recommendations for action. Samples with Caution (“C”) and Warning (“X”) ratings are reviewed immediately by Universal Lubricants’ technical representatives. Results are posted on the password-protected Engine Guard portal of our website, which allows customers to immediately access their oil analysis data. The secure site allows customers to manipulate their oil testing data to develop statistics, reports, predictive maintenance, and trend line analysis.

Our lab team is committed to completing the entire testing process within 24 hours of receipt of a sample, which is a rarity in the oil analysis business. We recognize that a fast turnaround can be a huge benefit to our customers. The sooner they get the results, the sooner they can determine what needs to be done with the vehicle or equipment.

Long-time Universal Lubricants’ customer Hamm Inc., a Summit Materials subsidiary located in Perry, Kan., submitted the 2 millionth engine oil sample for analysis. Hamm credits our Engine Guard program with lengthening their oil change intervals and keeping their wide variety of vehicles and equipment running longer and more efficiently.

Universal Lubricants collects over 40 million gallons of used engine and motor oil annually and transports it back to our re-refinery where impurities are removed to produce crystal-clear Group II base oil. This base oil is then spiked with high-performance additives and returned to the marketplace in the form of high-performance motor oils and engine oils, as well as other lubricants. This infinitely repeatable closed loop cycle puts our company at the forefront of today’s sustainability movement.

Our lab is involved in every step of this closed loop process from testing waste oil that arrives by truck and rail, to sampling the finished products to ensure that our oils and other lubricants are the highest quality available on the market today. We now test more than 80,000 samples each year. We keep up with the latest OEM and API requirements, and looking for ways to extend a customer’s drain interval, increase equipment life, improve reliability, minimize downtime, and reduce maintenance costs.

Mike Wyant is Universal Lubricants’ Manager of Technical Services and oversees the Engine Guard Program and all testing in the company’s Quality Assurance Laboratory in Wichita, Kan.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, May/Jun 2014

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