Troubleshooting is never fun—even the word itself has a weight to it with the implication that there’s a problem from the get-go. Regardless of the warning signs, be it that production is down or engine cycle times are increasing, the response to noticing these changes is diagnosing whether the differences you’re seeing in your machines are coming from a normal need for maintenance or if something else is wrong.
And sometimes even after maintenance is done, the problem swiftly returns or persists and it’s time to zero in on what’s causing it. One way to go about this is performing an oil analysis.
What is involved in an oil analysis?
In short, an oil analysis is a quick, painless engine diagnostic that can be run to assess the health of an engine based on what’s in the oil itself. It’s a way to protect the investment you’ve made in your engines by analyzing the state of your engine through particulates found in your engine’s oil—based on the elements found during an analysis and the volume of particles found, it can be determined what is contaminating your engine’s oil and causing issues, and what (if any) parts are breaking down and are in need of replacement.
An oil analysis can test for a number of factors, including:
- Testing for water or coolant contamination.
- Measuring the viscosity of a sample.
- Spectral testing to measure oil condition and particle count.
- “Flash” test to determine fuel contamination.
- Measuring contaminants by means of a centrifuge.
What are the benefits of performing an oil analysis?
Aside from the previously mentioned upsides, oil analysis is essentially a cheap form of insurance—it’s a good way to measure if the maintenance you’re performing are working and are occurring often enough, let you know what contaminants are causing problems for your engines so you can find solutions, and can give you a ballpark of what will be needed (and how long will be needed) to get that engine back in working order. It’s also a helpful tool to check for improvement in your engine’s oil after implementing solutions to solve the problems you discovered on an initial test and ensure the intervals you’re going by to change your oil are effective.
Is an oil analysis worth doing?
If your business is dependent on smoothly running engines and motors, the answer is a big, fat “yes.” If the expense is a non-issue and you don’t mind the time it takes, there are no negative impacts from doing oil analysis tests. It could actually save you a lot of money and energy in the long-run. If you have an engine that’s having problems or requiring an excessive amount of maintenance, starting your troubleshooting with an oil analysis can be extremely helpful in pinpointing the specific problem prior to trying solutions through trial and error. If you’re simply testing at random, however, it may not reap the results you want.
An oil analysis is needed for one of my business’s engines. What are my next steps?
Depending on your engine and the industry you’re in, we may be able to help. As a fully licensed petroleum oil lubricant distributor for ExxonMobil, we are able to offer oil analysis services through ExxonMobil’s Signum Oil Analysis.