Michael Mathe
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Carefully Consider All Factors Before Performing Oil Analysis to Ensure Maximum Cost Effectiveness

In April 2014 we introduced the new Oil Analyzers Value Kit as a cost-effective test to determine whether motor oil is suitable for continued use. The kit provides "just the facts," as Joe Friday was fond of saying, and can be used to test any lubricant to asses the overall health of the system. So what if you're venturing into oil analysis for the first time? Why is oil analysis important?

Oil analysis is a review of the chemical and physical properties of a new or used lubricant. As the old cliche goes, oil is "the lifeblood of an engine." Just as in the analysis of human blood, oil analysis can provide insight as to the health (internal condition) of the equipment. It also provides detailed information regarding the condition and serviceability of the lubricant itself.

Should a problem be detected via analysis, the equipment owner will have the opportunity to schedule repairs at a time and location that is most convenient and economical. This is significant because an unexpected failure is likely to be significantly more expensive than a failure that is addresses during a scheduled maintenance procedure.

The effectiveness of equipment maintenance procedures and service intervals can also be verified through oil analysis. Performing maintenance too frequently will increase operational costs but provide little or no additional benefit. Alternatively, too great a period between maintenance intervals can result in even greater costs.

Take diesel oil for example. There is no good reason to change the oil in a diesel engine if the oil is suitable for continued use. This does nothing but increase operating costs and waste; however, running diesel oil beyond its service life can be even more costly.

Oil analysis allows equipment owners to be proactive instead of reactive. We can head off problems that increase downtime and expenses. Keep in mind the old adage: "Equipment will only make you money when it's working."

Whatever the reason may be, an equipment owner/operator may become concerned that the equipment or the oil is not functioning properly. To provide peace of mind, an oil analysis may be the answer.

Although there is a cost to have oil analysis performed, there is also a value to the information oil analysis can provide. For example, the cost to replace an engine in a Class 8 truck today is roughly $18,000-$20,000, as compared to about $30 for an oil analysis kit.

It is wise to caefully qualify potential equipment to determine if it is worth investing in oil analysis. Areas to consider include the following:

  • The age of the equipment. Newer equipment would be more likely to be worth the investment than equipment that is nearing the end of its life expectancy.
  • The value of the equipment, both from a replacement cost standpoint and its operational value to you or your organization. The replacement value of a piece of equipment may be small but if it breaks down, the impact may be significant.
  • Consider comparing the cost of an analysis to the cost of replacing oil. Trying to extend the service life of a few ounces of oil may not be cost-effective, but for a 100-gallon reservoir, analysis may be worth considering.
  • Anytime you have a concern with a piece of equipment or the lubricant being used, analysis should be considered. The peace of mind that comes from knowing whether a problem exists is generally worth the investment.
When should an oil analysis be performed? The answer largely depends on the equipment, the frequency at which it is used and the severity of that use. Typically, oil analysis is performed at normal fluid change intervals. In more critical applications or if a problem has been noted in the past, analysis frequency is half the normal fluid drain interval. Anytime there is a question, problem or concern is an appropriate time for oil analysis.

Customers can use oil analysis to help diagnose equipment issues, identify contaminant issues, identify how to safely extend drain intervals and help solve problems. Visit for more oil analysis information. Published, AMSOIL Magazine 12/14.

AMSOIL Synthetic Oil in Nashville LLC is a large nationwide Dealer of AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants. If you are a business owner or an individual with several vehicles, AMSOIL has several optiona available that may allow you to purchase AMSOIL Products at wholesale prices. We can show you how to save money and extend equipment life with AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils, Lubricants, Filters and Fuel Additives. Please visit the AMSOIL Online Store for more information about AMSOIL Products.
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