The quick-lube industry has made it easier than ever for people to regularly maintain their personal vehicles. Simply pull in to the service bay, let the crew do the work based on the manufacturer’s basic recommendations, and then drive away in a matter of minutes for another few thousand happy, worry-free miles. Usually included in this service is the replacement of the oil filter, as well as the inspection (and if necessary, replacement) of the engine air and cabin air filters.
Unfortunately, maintaining hard-working commercial trucks isn’t as easy, and simply settling for the all-purpose filters available at most quick-lube centers and auto parts stores won’t cut it. You can’t afford to be clueless about the nuances of the various filters within a vehicle, which in addition to the ones mentioned above include fuel and coolant filters. And, you certainly can’t afford to incur preventable repair costs and downtime that can result from inadequate filtration for your vehicles.
The good news is, gathering information and acquiring knowledge about filters is a piece of cake these days—and doing so couldn’t be more important to the health of your fleet.
“Filters are absolutely vital to everything that contributes to the optimal performance of a vehicle,” says Rick Clay, product manager for heavy-duty filter manufacturer Luber-finer. “Simplifying the education process for fleet managers seems to be a prevalent trend in the vehicle filtration space. At Luber-finer, we just launched a full-fledged online University, and several other manufacturers have similar experiences available to their partners.”
Obviously, finding the best possible filtration solution for every application is the ultimate goal. However, given the long list of responsibilities you need to deal with on a daily basis, it’s easy to avoid learning about what each filter does, what level of protection it provides, and how often it needs to be replaced. The consequences of inadequate or worn-out filters are severe and should serve as encouragement to prioritize filtration education in your organization:
- Dirt, dust, debris, and other damaging particulates passing through to the most critical components of a vehicle’s engine and oil system can cause corrosion, overheating, and catastrophic damage.
- Failure to restrict common fuel contaminants, such as water, bacteria, wax, asphaltenes, and sediment can cause severe damage to fuel injectors, fuel pumps, and other important diesel engine parts.
- Too much contaminated air reaching the engine can lead to reduced fuel economy, loss of power due to improper combustion, and severe abrasion on the moving parts of an engine, such as piston rings and cylinder walls.
- Mold spores, bacteria, pollen, and other contaminants entering a vehicle’s passenger compartment through the air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems can expose drivers to a variety of health risks.
- Large amounts of calcium and magnesium deposits in the coolant cause scale buildup, which can lead to harmful corrosion and overheating.
Lengthy downtime, expensive repairs and replacements, and even employee turnover can result from falling short in the filtration department. Luckily, staying educated about the multiple filter needs of every vehicle in your fleet, even if it consists of dozens or hundreds of trucks, doesn’t have to be a daunting, costly, and time-consuming task.
Featured Image: Lengthy downtime, expensive repairs and replacements, and even employee turnover can result from falling short in the filtration department.
Above: You can’t afford to be clueless about the nuances of the various filters within a vehicle.
Filter information is readily available on the Internet from a number of sources. Auto industry publications with web presences are plentiful, as are standalone websites devoted to the care and feeding of hard-working vehicles.
A simple Google search will lead you to several of these sites, which offer up specifics about the micron ratings, media types, replacement intervals, and other details you should be looking for in a filter. Try to get your information from web pages that are current or have been updated within the past year, as filter manufacturers are continuously making improvements to filter technology in order to provide better protection than ever before.
STRAIGHT TO THE SOURCE
Some of those same manufacturers are cutting out the middle man and providing online information and education themselves, which is not only comprehensive, but in many cases complimentary. Perhaps it’s an example of a “we’re all in this together” mindset, but there definitely seems to be a growing sense of community on the web, with parts manufacturers providing free advice and product specifications to busy fleet managers who are searching for it.
They’re also making their websites as user-friendly as possible with look-up tools, part-number searches, and cross-reference capability so you can make a totally informed decision about the filters you need for each specific vehicle in your fleet. Smart manufacturers also know that more users are accessing the Internet with phones and tablets these days, so their sites are designed for ease of use on mobile devices.
Of course, there’s always the old-fashioned way of gathering information about filters—speak to your sales rep directly. It’s their job to help you find the best filtration solutions for each specific situation, just like it’s your job to seek out that level of knowledge for the benefit of the fleet.
It’s never been easier to be totally in-the-know about the filtration needs of your vehicles. Here’s the best part: You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on training or log long hours in a classroom or a seminar when you could be managing your fleet instead. The information is out there, and you might be surprised at how extensive and readily available it is.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Layne R. Gobrogge is director of heavy-duty marketing for Luber-finer®. He can be reached at 419.740.5739 or Layne.Gobrogge@champlabs.com. For more than 75 years, Lube-finer has been providing filtration excellence for heavy-duty on-highway vehicles, vocational, and off-road equipment. Find out more, visit www.luber-finer.com.