How Often Should Your Construction Equipment Get an Oil Change?

How often should you change the oil in your construction equipment?

Service intervals can change drastically from one machine to another. There are so many variables that come into play when it comes to equipment. Services, like oil changes, can be costly. You don’t want to do them too soon or too late. Lately, professionals have introduced the idea of optimization. This is a calculation method that helps determine when to get the oil changed in your machinery.

What is optimization?

Optimization is a way to determine the ideal time to have the oil changed in your equipment. It takes into consideration all the various elements, such as make and model of the machine and the operating condition.

Therefore, optimization can differ from one machine to another. To determine the best time to have your machine’s oil and othr fluids changed depends on whether you’re running it 24/7 or only using it once a month. In other words, how quickly your equipment needs a service will depend on where and how often it is used.

Determining the optimal time for an oil change also depends on machine maintenance. Is your maintenance team using up-to-date technology and software to monitor and track the condition of your equipment? Companies that still rely on manual record-keeping will have a harder time figuring out the optimal time for a service.

How important is changing the oil for machinery?

Having the oil changed regularly is a key element of proper equipment maintenance. It can also be connected to other machine service intervals. Many equipment owners have machines undergo several services at the same time as an oil change.

An oil change may be linked to hydraulic or cooling system services, or they may also be done when the transmission is serviced. Thus, while aiming for optimization in your oil change schedule, you’ll also need to consider these other elements.

Construction Variables to Consider

In knowing how efficient your equipment is and when is the best time for maintenance and oil and lubricants for machinery, you’ll need to understand the variables involved. These include:

  • Fuel burn rate. This determines how hard an engine is working. The rate can change depending on the type of work and loads that you’re dealing with. For example, if your excavator goes from digging soft ground to pulling up harder earth like clay.
  • Dust. Airborne dust can clog up the air filter. When this happens, your oil and lube filter will not work as well as they should. This scenario can be catastrophic for your engines. If you change the air filter regularly, you can mitigate the problem. However, if you’re trying to extend your oil service intervals, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the air filters.
  • Oil analysis. Having a solid oil analysis program is essential to optimizing your oil service intervals. An analysis gives you the best idea about the condition of your oil. If you want to stretch out your oil service intervals, you’ll need to invest in an oil analysis program. If your program indicates you have contamination in the air induction, cooling system, or fueling system, then you’ll need to clear that up before you can optimize your oil changes.
  • Trending issues. Understanding what your equipment performance has been like over the past year or longer can help you predict your needs in the future. Gathering the best samples is key. You’ll need to take them at regular intervals to really understand what is happening.
  • Weather. Extreme weather can cause disruption to the lubrication of your oil. Hot temperatures lead to chemical reactions in the oil. If your equipment has been operating in very warm weather, you’ll want to change the oil sooner rather than later. In colder weather, the oil does not move as smoothly through the system.

Construction equipment software can help simplify your monitoring and tracking. Create spreadsheets and examine how all your equipment is doing quickly. This way, you won’t have to wade through piles of paper reports on each individual machine.

Planning for Your Equipment Oil Changes

When you are trying to define the best time to book your oil changes, here are some things to consider:


Waiting a little longer for oil changes may seem like it will save you money in the long run, but that is not necessarily true. Think about the productivity you’ll have when your machines are running in their best condition. Trying to save some money on oil and lubricants for machinery may seem like the right decision for your budget, but this is not always the case.

Machine Comparison

Having a rigorous oil changing schedule can help you compare different makes and models of machinery. It can give you insight into the costs and efficiency of different pieces of equipment. You can then make better buying decisions in the following years.

Other Systems

Optimizing or extending your oil service intervals will impact your equipment’s other systems. It’s important to consider what effect your oil services are having on these systems. Calculate the costs of frequent oil changes and whether it is worth it. The quality of oil on the market means that you may be able to extend your intervals without hurting the machine’s other systems.


As you consider how to optimize your oil service intervals, discuss it with your suppliers. They’ll be understanding if you demonstrate a thoughtful and reasonable plan to care for your equipment. If you share your data with your dealers and manufacturers, they’ll still likely honour your warranties.

For more information about how optimization software can help you get the most from your oil and lubricants for your machinery, call Great West Equipment at 888-492-4365, or contact us here.

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