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Four ways to identify lubricant starvation

When you are running expensive machinery, one of the worst things that can happen is your equipment being starved of lubricant, but it is something that can happen if you are not vigilant. Here are our top tips for spotting the problem of lubricant starvation quickly:


One of the first things you are likely to notice if your machinery becomes depleted of vital lubricant is an increase in heat.

This increase comes about as the result of depleted gears or bearings, which are making surface–to–surface contact as a result of lubricant depletion. This friction causes excess heat, which if noticed should be investigated immediately.

Vibration analysis

Another way to identify lubrication starvation is through vibration analysis, which in many cases can pick up small vibration changes in machinery that indicate lubricant starvation. This can be done even before any heat is noticed, which is why many companies employ this tactic on a regular basis. However, this method can be expensive, so it is best not to let things get to the point where a vibration analysis is needed.


Smoke is a sure-fire way of showing you that there is a problem with your machinery, and commonly the problem will be a depletion in lubricant. Smoke is caused by the heating up of any residual lubricant that may be left in your machinery, and is a common indication of lubricant depletion in cars.

Preventing lubricant depletion

Of course, it is much better to prevent any lubricant depletion from occurring than it is to be able to spot it quickly, although that is undoubtedly very useful too.

The best way of ensuring that your machinery does not become lubricant depleted is to check it on a regular basis, ensuring that levels are appropriate for every machine you use and ensuring that any change in conditions around your machines, such as excess moisture or heat are accounted for. If needs be, employ a professional who can do this for you; after all this will likely be cheaper than having to replace a damaged machine that was running too low on lubricant.

It is also a good idea to buy quality lubricants from manufacturers who are known for their expertise in creating long-lasting formulations, such as Mobil, Fuchs or Shell. By doing so, you will probably see an extension in the life of your lubricants and you will be able to save money by purchasing new lubricants less often.

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