IntelliStick’s Weblog
Oil Condition Monitoring


For the second year, IntelliStick has been recognized as one of Heavy Duty Trucking’s Top 50.

IntelliStick was honored by a panel of industry publication editors as one of 50 innovative products “…likely to contribute to operational efficiencies, such as increased safety, improved truck fuel economy…and contribute to the bottom line of a for-hire or private truck fleet.”

Previously IntelliStick was named to Heavy Duty Trucking’s Nifty Fifty – an awards showcase of best new product introductions; judged on their usefulness to the truck operator in for innovation, serviceability and performance. And, LAND LINE Readers Choice Top 20 Products of 2008, and Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice Awards 2007 SEMA Show.

FREE CASE STUDY REPORT: Paper Industry Pilot Program: Intrusion & Oil Condition Machinery Maintenance – Call or email request today.


If you were told you could increase your fuel economy just by switching to a thinner oil, would you do it? We bet a fair number of people (especially those who aren’t mechanically inclined) would. Your fuel economy increases, you help the environment, you pay less (or at least less frequently) at the pump. It’s a great thing …. isn’t it?

The million dollar question is — does the thinner oil provide the same protection? If not, what are you willing to compromise to achieve that higher fuel economy?

We just found this article in Machinery Lubrication that talks about the development of thinner oils, which boost fuel economy but cause more wear.

Obviously this article was written before the current fuel crunch has more and more people concerned about fuel economy, but we still found it satisfying food for thought.


We are often asked — what is the best oil to us?

That’s kind of like asking what’s the best flavor of ice cream. You ask 10 different people and you’d probably get 10 different answers. (For the record, our personal favorite is mint chocolate chip.)

With motor oil, 10 different cars may each have a different oil that is “best”. Determining the best oil for a particular car needs to take into account several factors, such as what type of car it is, how old it is, environmental factors, driving conditions and performance expectations — to name a few.

We’ve found that people are more-or-less comfortable with conventional oils but can be easily overwhelmed when it comes to synthetics. For those considering a switch to synthetic oil or just curious about it, we found this article on the Machinery Lubrication web site that we thought served as a good introduction into synthetic oils.

At IntelliStick it’s not our aim to tell you what oil to use. We want to give you the tools to figure out what oil is best for your purposes. For some of you that will be a synthetic, but they are definitely not for everyone.


GM_logo… something that IntelliStick did two years ago.

This American car maker may be in trouble, but GM does have at least one thing right. As part of their corporate responsibility “environmental commitment” GM posted this story on their web site about how 3,000 miles isn’t always the best time to change your oil. GM recommends condition-based maintenance — that they happen to provide in their vehicles.Non-GM owners can get the same knowledge from IntelliStick, which lets you know the condition of your oil.


UPS Freight has joined the growing list of companies that are focusing on condition-based maintenance. According to a recent Transportation Topics article, UPS Freight’s telematics systems “will be upgraded with proprietary firmware and an internally developed algorithm” that will help them better manage their trucks and analyze potential problems.

UPS made the move to cut costs. They know the problems of interval-based maintenace — sometimes you don’t find the problem until it’s already too late. A UPS spokeswoman said that the company is aiming for an effective condition-based maintenace system that can reduce the amount of time that critical equipment is out of service for repairs.


We got a chuckle from this list of 34 Signs You’re Living in the Real World of Maintenance from Reliable Plant.

Among our favorites …

We have a couple of machines that vacationed in Hawaii on frequent flier miles built up on parts air-shipped in for them.

We discussed whether it was possible that a machine could need so much ongoing maintenance, that it was theoretically never available for production.

There was a role clarification meeting between operations and maintenance management, and it seems like the outcome was quite clear. It’s definitely their job to break the machines, and our job to fix them.


We’re excited by all developments in hybrid/electric/alternative fuel vehicles. What’s good for the planet is good for all of us. Hopefully the time will soon come when these cars are a viable, economic alternative. We got one step closer this week as the Ford Fusion was driven 1,445 miles on a single tank! We were pleased to read that this was the standard model with no special alterations for the test. We hate it when they get some suped-up version for these tests that’s nothing like the one a consumer can actually buy.


Our faithful blog readers know that IntelliStick is on the 3,000 Mile myth bandwagon. With the data we get back from our IntelliStick we can see that it isn’t necessary to change your oil every 3,000 miles. We know it, the state of California knows it, and more and more drivers are catching on, too.

But we thought it was a Monday morning typo when we saw a 30,000 mile oil change headline. 30,000? Even to us, that seems a little out in left field. You’d better be sure that if we put one of those filters in our car and attempted a 30,000 mile oil change that we’d have our IntelliStick telling us what was really going on with our oil. Actually, that might be an interesting experiment for the IntelliStick engineers …


nascarWhen we first saw this Wall Street Journal article about a Nascar team spending $10 million to develop a new oil for it’s cars, our first thought was “whoa, that’s a lot of money.” Then we saw that they’re claiming it gives them an extra 10 horsepower (which might not sound like much, but these races often come down to a fraction of a second). Plus, just one win at a big race would more than recoup those costs — when you factor in the prize money, sponsorship deals, etc.

All of this begs the question — are expensive oils really better for the average driver? We know people who swear by synthetics and others who claim it’s best to keep what you’ve got and maybe supplement it with an additive package. It’s gratifying to us when we hear back from an IntelliStick customer who has tested out different oils in their car and has been able to determine what oil actually is the best for them, in their car and with the way they drive.


“The Harley-Davidson image is the antithesis of predictable. No schedules.harley-davidson No plans. No boundaries. No cares. The unknown lies around the bend. Just strap on the helmet, fire up the engine and ride….
The Harley-Davidson manufacturing image, however, is all about predictability. No surprises. No bottlenecks. No breakdowns. No downtime. What lies ahead is known. Just turn on the production equipment and create.”   read more

This excerpt is from a recent article in Reliable Plant about the impressive predictive maintenance system in place at the Harley plant outside of Milwaukee. We appreciated the comments from the plant’s maintenance manager about reactive maintenance or “fire-fighting” and how this seems to be rewarded in corporate America — but that Harley understands that it’s even better if you can keep those problems from occurring in the first place.