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Are more expensive lubricants always better?

You may be led to assume that the more a lubricant costs, the better the quality. Although trusted brands like Shell, Q8, Mobil and Fuchs do tend to perform well, it is not really possible to say with any conviction that more expensive lubricants always perform better.

The matter is not so straightforward simply because the performance of a lubricant depends on so many factors, such as maintenance, equipment and machinery failures, that it is very difficult to assure anyone that a particularly expensive lubricant will work well for them. For that reason, it is much better to choose your lubricant with the following criteria in mind, instead of picking one on price alone:

Practices for handling lubricants

If your lubricant storage methods are incorrect, it does not matter how much you are willing to spend on lubricants. Your machinery will still suffer from contamination, even at the stage of filling its reservoir with oil. Therefore, you need to change any poor lubricant storage and handling practices before you purchase any oil affordable or expensive.

From the second your new lubricant purchase arrives at your plant, you must be set up to keep it cool, clean and dry. This is easily achieved by installing clearly labelled storage containers, and by cleaning your equipment to a high standard before adding oil. It is also a good idea to filter your lube before decanting it into your machinery.

Machinery factors

Whenever you change a lubricant, even if you are replacing it with the same brand, you are always at risk of contamination or using unsuitable lubricant for your equipment. As such, instead of paying too much attention to the price of lubricant, you should instead concentrate on the most important elements of your equipment, such as its type, criticality, operating conditions and the manufacturers own recommendations for lubricant, as well as the environment in which the machinery is placed. This will help you choose the perfect lubricant for your machinery much better than simply plumping for an expensive option.

Don’t use expensive lubricant as a sticking plaster

Many operators use lube as a sticking plaster in an attempt to smooth other operating problems, but it is much more sensible to conduct analysis and find the cause of any problems, such as imbalance and machinery defects instead.

Although sometimes an expensive lubricant will serve you well, it is more important to consider various machinery conditions before opening your wallet.

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