Using the right fluids and filters in your Cat® equipment is crucial for achieving optimal performance. Choosing the right products and maintaining them correctly will lead to enhanced performance, healthy emissions systems and improved fuel economy. Choosing the wrong kinds and neglecting upkeep can result in less efficient operation and even damage to your equipment.
Jump to Sections:
- Choosing the Right Oil for Your Machine
- Choosing the Right Filter for Your Machine
- The Role of Oil Filters
- The Importance of Transmission Filters
- The Importance of Air Filters
- The Importance of Coolant Filters
- Choosing the Right Lubrication for Your Machine
- CAT Grease and Precision Bearings
- Problems With Engine Lubrication
- Proper Maintenance With CAT Products
With so many options on the market, determining the right fluids and filters can be a complex task. Even among seemingly similar options, the cheaper and lower-quality alternatives can cause operational issues. Picking the products recommended by your equipment’s manufacturer ensures you get the right ones. Cat-certified technicians know the equipment best. They can provide you with the right products and accurate information on how to maintain your equipment to keep it operating at peak performance.
Choosing the Right Oil for Your Machine
For a piece of motorized equipment to operate at its best, you must use the right kind of engine oil. The oil must also be clean and have the proper viscosity to lubricate the engine parts that make the machine function. High-quality oil helps ensure longer service life for the engine.
If you fill an engine with the wrong kind of oil, the engine could overheat, and parts could deteriorate and fail. For example, an oil grade that fails to maintain the right viscosity during a heat wave could pass like water through the engine. Consequently, the metal parts within the engine would grind against one another and overheat. Problems like this could lead to the costly replacement of components, and possibly the replacement of the engine.
To ensure peak performance for your equipment, be sure to use only the cleanest and highest-quality oil in your equipment’s engine. You should also change the oil at least quarterly to keep it from getting dirty or losing its proper consistency. When you purchase Cat oil for your motorized equipment, check the product label to ensure the oil grade is best suited for the machine in question.
Oil Viscosity and Standard Ratings
Viscosity, or thickness, is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing oil. Proper oil viscosity is vital to the performance of the engine. If you live in a hot climate, like Georgia or Louisiana, you’ll need a viscosity that won’t run thin during humid months. If you live in a cold area, like Indiana and Michigan, you’ll need an oil that won’t get sludgy in the winter.
Some engines require an oil with a mineral base. However, many engines built in recent years need an oil that is either semi-synthetic or fully synthetic. A certification mark from the American Petroleum Institute (API) indicates the performance of an oil product. With an API mark, you can tell whether an oil product has met the standards set by automakers, as well as the companies that manufacture parts and produce oil. It should be easy to spot the API mark on the container of any oil product.
The Impact of Dirty Oil on Your Engine
With a diesel engine, one of the most expensive mistakes is to neglect to change the oil. Dirty oil can severely damage your engine, resulting in costly repairs. Cat oil filters provide long-lasting performance that helps prevent these problems.
Fewer oil changes can seem like a money-saving measure. However, the cost of a new camshaft or piston is much higher than the cost of an oil change. If you want to lengthen service cycles, use Cat transmission fluids and other grease and oil products.
A proper analysis of your oil quality by MacAllister will tell you when to change it. A laboratory report will tell you everything you need to know. In this report, our technicians examine samples of the oil for traces of metal particles. From here, they can determine how these particles affect how the engine performs. With this knowledge, we can create a proper engine maintenance plan that will help you save money in the long run.
Choosing the Right Filter for Your Machine
For the performance and service life of motorized equipment, engine filters must be clean and intact at all times. A piece of motorized machinery will generally consist of the following engine filters:
- Oil filters — the engine component that keeps oil clean and pure
- Transmission filters — a part of the transmission that captures excess fluid
- Hydraulic filters — an engine part that balances temperatures and keeps the system sealed
- Air filters — a component that protects the engine from outside dust and dirt
- Coolant filters — a filter that distributes coolant and weeds out contaminants
For any given piece of motorized equipment, it’s essential to have the proper filter for the corresponding make and model of the machine in question. If a filter is ill-suited for the parts in question, it may allow improper distribution of fluids and an unrestrained flow of contaminants through the system. To ensure you get the right type of filter every time, check the owner’s manual for the machine or run an online search to see which size and make of filters are suited for the parts in question.
Cat filters are specially designed to offer superior protection to the engine parts of machines. In each part of an engine that distributes fluids or allows air to pass through, Cat fuel filters and engine filters block the passage of harmful particles that could otherwise contaminate oil and wear down the components of an engine.
The Role of Oil Filters
Oil filters are vital for the longevity and efficient operation of heavy equipment. They help remove contaminants from all types of oil that, over time, can damage internal components. With Cat oil filters, equipment owners can count on long-lasting cleanliness and performance in the oil filtration system.
If you perform your own oil changes, be sure to use the type of oil recommended by the manufacturer. There are three categories of oil:
- Conventional — composed of 75-80 percent crude oil
- Synthetic — a base with synthetic ingredients
- Blend — a mix of conventional and synthetic
Next to the various oil brands on most shelves are the additives. Antioxidants, a common additive, combat oxidation and the thickening of oil. Other additives include detergents, which prevent the buildup of dirt on hot surfaces. Additives even help eliminate contamination on engine parts. For machines that have already been used for hundreds of hours, conditioning additives help stop seal leaks.
The Importance of Filter Performance
For hydraulics, the performance of equipment relies on cleanliness. With clean equipment, operations are safer, more reliable and less costly in the long run. With Cat hydraulic fluids, you can count on your hydraulic systems for long-lasting performance.
For some of the largest property developers, the slightest construction setback can result in significant losses. After all, when construction budgets and deadlines are tight, every minute translates to big money. One industry that understands this concept is the construction sector, where large projects rely on unabated productivity. With regular applications of Cat hydraulic fluids, construction crews can significantly reduce the occurrence of vehicle downtime.
Of all the building firms that could face financial loss due to construction setbacks, the hardest hit are those that use hydraulics. When it comes to complex, large-scale construction work, hydraulic equipment generally handles most of the stress. As such, hydraulic equipment can only be maintained with the proper filters. Cat hydraulic fluids are critical to the functionality and longevity of hydraulic equipment.
Large enterprises, such as construction companies, must have hydraulic equipment that performs optimally. This equipment must function at peak levels over extended periods. With high-quality filters, fluids stay clean. This, in turn, ensures operations run efficiently.
How to Keep Hydraulic Filters Clean
With any piece of hydraulic equipment, you can judge its condition by the quality of its filtration. If the filters are not in good shape, the performance of the equipment will lag. As long as the filtration is inadequate, the fluids within the internal components are susceptible to impurities. These contaminating elements can have a corrosive effect. Pieces of the hydraulic equipment, such as the servo valves, can wear out if this process continues. Of all the choices on the market, Cat filters and fluids offer the best protection in these areas.
Cat hydraulic filters are essential for the health of an engine. There are four major purposes of a hydraulic filter:
- Clean the fluids that provide the force between the power unit and actuator
- Keep the system sealed
- Provide lubrication and prevent surface friction
- Keep the temperature balanced and even out the transfer of heat
If one of these functions doesn’t work properly, the entire hydraulic system could become imbalanced and stop working. Clean hydraulic filters can prevent these problems by keeping the system clean, sealed, lubed and cool.
When hydraulic equipment gets damaged, the repair costs are generally high. Therefore, it’s crucial the filter system in a piece of hydraulic equipment is clean and free of impurities. When the equipment is clean, production costs are lower and productivity increases. Additionally, clean hydraulic filtration improves workplace safety. Investing in a new Cat filter can prevent expenses down the line by providing long-lasting, optimum performance.
The Importance of Transmission Filters
The transmission plays a key role in the functioning of heavy equipment. One of the most vital components of the transmission is the filter, which is located on top of the transmission pan in which fluids are captured. Cat transmission fluids enable this part of the machine to achieve peak performance for the duration of the filter’s service life.
Under the transmission filter is the pickup tube, which links to the oil pump. The pump controls the transmission fluid pressure. Before lubrication arrives in the transmission, the filter strains out impurities such as dust and dirt. Cat transmission fluids are formulated for maximum cleanliness and optimal performance of the transmission system.
When Transmission Filters Go Bad
Over the lifecycle of a transmission filter, particles break off from the friction between nearby moving metal parts. These fragments make their way into the filter, along with dirt and grime. While different equipment has different capacities, it’s best to change the transmission filter and fluid according to the recommended Cat maintenance interval.
The process of changing out a transmission filter and fluid can be laborious, as well as messy. With most equipment, the mess is due to the lack of a drain plug. Consequently, the only way to release dirty fluid and get to the transmission filter is to take out the pan. Cat transmission fluids ensure peak performance between filter and fluid changes.
The Importance of Air Filters
The air filter blocks out dirt, dust and debris, which can cause damage if they reach the engine. Clean filtration boosts engine performance and lengthens engine life.
With a clean air filter, equipment has better fuel economy and performance. A clean air filter also leads to lower emissions. To ensure clean air filtration in all driving environments, Cat air filters come in four main varieties — high-efficiency, activated carbon, standard and lower-restriction.
When Air Filters Get Dirty
The dirtier an air filter becomes, the weaker its filtration capabilities. One of the telltale signs of a weakened air filter is decreased fuel economy. Bad air filtration can also foul up equipment’s ignition system and lead to ignition difficulties.
The majority of air filters have either a white or off-white appearance. After 250 hours of use, an air filter is due for an inspection. By this point, it might show noticeable signs of dirt, but not in all cases. In any event, you should replace air filters after 500 hours, even if they appear clean. When it’s time to replace the filter in your equipment, you can rely on Cat air filters for long service life.
The Importance of Coolant Filters
The purpose of a coolant filter is to distribute coolant additives into the engine. At the same time, the coolant filter safeguards the engine from contaminants. If a coolant filter becomes clogged with dirt and impurities, it can fail to cool the engine parts, leading to overheating during peak machine operation. A poorly maintained coolant system can even cause major engine failure, which is why Cat coolants are essential for heavy equipment.
Choosing the Right Lubrication for Your Machine
When you buy lubrication for the engine parts of machinery, it’s crucial for the product to have the proper viscosity. For the lubrication to last throughout the service life of an engine, the lube must maintain its viscosity through hot and cold weather, without melting in the heat or freezing in subzero temperatures.
In an improperly lubricated engine, friction could generate between moving metal parts. As the friction develops, the surfaces are liable to wear down and corrode. Over time, the rust could spread across one or both parts and lead to the formation of holes or cracks. Meanwhile, the corresponding engine parts will function increasingly less effectively.
To ensure you’re properly lubricating your engine parts, read the label on each product you inspect to see whether it is right for the parts in question. Cat grease products are formulated to offer the proper quality of lubrication to all kinds of engine parts.
Cat Grease and Precision Bearings
Precision bearings consist of rolling parts, namely rollers and balls. These rolling parts make the movement of engine parts possible. Precision bearings are designed to operate in harsh conditions with little resistance. They can last for many years or through thousands of applications. The timely and proper application of Cat grease helps these parts last for the maximum possible amount of time and uses.
The majority of precision bearings fulfill their life expectancy. In most cases, bearings that do fail could have easily been saved with proper maintenance. Common causes of failure include corrosion, rust and skewing. Lubrication of the rollers prevents damage or failure.
Engineers typically employ grease as a lubricant on rolling parts, because it works as a system sealant and is easy to apply. Cat grease provides clean lubrication with the proper viscosity for rolling parts. Alternately, you can use oil as a lubricant. Oil creates a free flow of moving parts, while also working as a heat reducer. Because of this, oil is preferable for operations that involve high speeds and temperatures.
Benefits of Grease on Rolling Parts
Whether you use Cat grease or oil on rolling parts, the benefits are exponential. The purposes of lubricants on bearings can be summarized as follows:
- Lower the amount of friction generated by contact between metal parts
- Relieve the heat produced by metal friction
- Make bearings last longer
- Eliminate the threat of rust
- Keep foreign particles and impurities away from rolling parts
However, just as bearings have an average life expectancy, so does the lubrication. Therefore, you must reapply lubrication to bearings for the mutual health of both. Proper lubrication maximizes the reliability and longevity of rolling parts.
Problems With Engine Lubrication
You must inspect Cat filters and fluids regularly to ensure maximum cleanliness and long life. If you don’t apply lubrication regularly and correctly, problems may emerge. The most common issues include:
- Too much lubrication — With over-lubricated bearings, the metal can get too hot, especially during high-speed engine function.
- Not enough lubrication — With insufficiently lubricated bearings, the friction between metal parts can lead to wear and corrosion.
- Combining oil and grease — While the two lubricants can both be beneficial, you should never combine them in the same application.
- Allowance of water in the lubricant — The purpose of a lubricant is to seal off a metal surface from corrosive elements, including water. Cat fuel/water separators help ensure these incompatible fluids don’t mix inside a machine.
One of the worst mistakes is to use the wrong lubricant type for an engine. Oil and grease have distinct benefits, and you should use them for different applications. Cat offers a variety of filters and fluids to suit a range of lubrication needs for various machines and pieces of equipment.
Proper Maintenance With Cat Products
Proper fluids and filtration are essential for optimal and long-lasting performance. If fluids lose their proper viscosity or become littered with impurities, critical engine functions can fail. This can lead to costly repairs and replacements, which could have been prevented with routine maintenance.
At MacAllister, we help equipment owners achieve maximum maintenance results. Our array of Cat products, which offer optimal performance and long service life, play a crucial role in how we achieve this. Relatively small investments in Cat filters and fluids can save money in the long run by preventing costly repairs and parts replacement. Don’t wait to change the filters and fluids in your heavy equipment. Visit our online store to order filters and fluids now.