What Is Engine Oil Analysis
Oil analysis is a quick, nondestructive way to gauge the health of an engine by looking at what’s in the oil. People use oil analysis for different reasons: to see if there are any problems developing, to see if their oil is working well in the engine, and to see if they can run longer oil changes.
Blackstone Laboratories tests engine oil from cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, airplanes, and more. But they’ll test other types of oil as well. The cost for a standard analysis is $30.00 for oil out of any of the following systems:
- Gear boxes (differentials, transfer cases, etc.)
- Power steering reservoirs
- Air compressors
- …and more!
Why You Should Have Your Engine Oil Analyzed
Austin Coulson goes over why you should take a sample of your motor oil and send it in for analysis. He’s been doing this for years with every sample I take and has found the information he’s received quite valuable.
- It will save you money.
- You find engine problems early.
- Increases your resale value.
What does a standard analysis include?
In the spectral exam, we take a portion of your oil sample and run it through a machine called a spectrometer, which tells us the levels of metals and additives that are present in the oil.
The insolubles test measures the solids present in the oil. The solids are formed by oil oxidation (when the oil breaks down due to the presence of oxygen, accelerated by heat) and blow-by past the rings. This tells you how good a job the oil filter is doing, and to what extent the oil has oxidized.
The viscosity measures the grade, or thickness, of the oil. Whether it’s supposed to be a 5W/30, 15W/40, or some other grade, we will know (within a range) what the viscosity should be. If your viscosity falls outside that range, there’s probably a reason: the oil could have been overheated, or contaminated with fuel, moisture, or coolant.
Flash Point Test
The Flash Point test measures the temperature at which vapors from the oil ignite. We know what temperature the oil should flash at. If it flashes at or above that level, the oil is not contaminated. If the oil flashes lower than it should, then it’s probably been contaminated. Fuel is the most common contaminant in oil.
Engine Oil Analysis Sample Reports
Disclaimer: Don’t go watching this video then mess up your car by doing something stupid like going 12k in between oil changes without checking the oil level or doing your own analysis. These are just Austin’s opinions on oil sampling.
Here is a link to Blackstone Laboratories (not a sponsor): blackstone-labs.com
To get started, just fill out a kit request form for a free sampling kit. The cost of analysis is $30.00. They also have a discount analysis program in place, if you’re interested in receiving a price break on your oil samples.
About Blackstone Laboratories
Established in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1985, Blackstone Laboratories strives to provide an easy-to-use, understandable, and accurate oil analysis program with the fastest turnaround in the industry. At the heart of their program is ICP (inductive coupled plasma) spectrometry, database averages for comparing wear, and a comments section on each report that explains — in plain English! — what your results mean.