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Oil Analysis Kits – They’re Easy

How to Perform Oil Analysis

We keep these kits right here in the Omaha store. Ask for the one with postage or with out for a slight savings. When doing several vehicles use the one w/o postage to send all together.

Used oil analysis is one of the most potent tools in your vehicle-maintenance arsenal. It effectively provides a glimpse inside your engine to gauge lubricant and component condition without so much as removing a bolt or bloodying a knuckle. And it’s simple and inexpensive. Here’s how to perform oil analysis.

What is oil analysis?

First, let’s define our terms.

Oil analysis is the process of chemically analyzing a lubricant sample (typically used motor oil) to determine lubricant and engine or component condition.

You take a sample of the lubricant and ship it to a qualified laboratory. Technicians subject the lubricant to a range of tests to determine the concentration of wear metals, fuel dilution, the lubricant’s total base number (TBN), oxidation and other information. The lab sends you a report that shows lubricant condition and includes a brief explanation and recommendations for future service.

The benefits of oil analysis

Determining the condition of the oil inside your engine offers a number of benefits, all of which save you time, money and hassle in the future.

Maximize oil drain intervals

Monitoring the condition of the oil allows you to optimize drain intervals so you can capitalize on the fluid’s full service life. Performing fewer oil changes minimizes maintenance costs and, for businesses that depend on vehicle availability, maximizes uptime. It also vastly reduces the amount of waste oil you have to truck to the recycling facility, helping the environment.

Extend equipment life

Monitoring system cleanliness and filtration efficiency can help you keep your vehicles and equipment longer and significantly reduce replacement costs.

Prevent major problems

Oil analysis identifies dirt, wear particles, fuel dilution, coolant and other contaminants that can cause catastrophic failure or significantly shorten equipment life. Arming yourself with this information allows you to proactively fix problems before they spiral out of control.

Maximize asset reliability

For businesses that maintain vehicle fleets, testing and analysis ensure that equipment is up, running and making money instead of laid up in the shop.

Increased resale value

Performing oil analysis provides valuable sampling history documentation that can justify higher equipment resale values.

How to perform oil analysis

To demonstrate how easy it is to perform oil analysis, I obtained an oil analysis kit from Oil Analyzers INC. and identified the perfect subject from my family fleet – my trusty 1998 Toyota Corolla. I thumped down exactly $2,995 for the car more than three years ago, and it’s been bulletproof ever since. In fact, it was used in this demonstration of how to test engine compression. Check it out to see how it performed.

Here’s what you’ll need to perform oil analysis on your vehicle

1) Warm up the engine

Warm oil flows more easily through the sampling pump. In addition, circulating the oil prior to drawing a sample ensures consistency. Just run the vehicle for a couple minutes; there’s no need to bring it up to operating temperature.

2) Draw the oil sample

Using a vacuum pump is the easiest and cleanest way to accomplish this. It allows access to the oil sump through the dipstick tube. Thread a clean sample bottle to the pump. Attach a length of clean hose to the top of the pump and tighten the lock ring.

PRO TIP: To know how much sampling hose to use, measure the dipstick and add a foot.

Insert the opposite end of the tube into the dipstick tube. It helps to cut it at a 45-degree angle to avoid snagging on bends or restrictions.

Once it bottoms out in the oil sump, retract the tube about an inch so it’s not pulling contaminants off the bottom of the oil pan. Pump the plunger until the bottle is 3/4 full.

Sometimes it’s impossible to draw a lubricant sample through the dipstick tube. In these cases, you can pull the sample straight from the reservoir, although it’s messier. If this is the case, allow the lubricant to drain for a couple seconds before catching a sample in the bottle so contaminants that have settled around the drain plug are flushed out. Quickly reinstall the drain plug and top-off the reservoir.

3) Ship the oil sample

Most oil analysis kits come with the appropriate labels and directions for shipping it to a lab. Follow the instructions, then hang tight until the results arrive.

4) Read the results

I can’t speak for all oil analysis labs, but Oil Analyzers INC. typically returns results in about two days after receiving the sample. I received a PDF in my inbox the day after the lab had received the oil sample.

Shop Oil Analysis Kits

The lab sends a report that includes application information, elemental analysis and recommendations. The amount of information varies depending on the kit you use.

Let’s take a look at the report for my ’98 Corolla.

oil analysis sheet

It’s important to note that I put 10,915 miles on the oil over the course of 11 months. First, notice the severity status level in the upper right. It provides a quick reference to determine the status of the sample.

  • Severity 0 (Normal) = Oil is suitable for continued use.
  • Severity 1 (Normal) = Oil is suitable for continued use. Observe for trends in future tests.
  • Severity 2 (Abnormal) = Oil is suitable for continued use. Resample at half the normal interval.
  • Severity 3 (Abnormal) = Replace oil filter and top-off system with fresh oil. Resample at half the normal interval or change oil.
  • Severity 4 (Critical) = Change oil and filter if not done when sample was taken.

My sample fell into the Severity 2 category. Why?

Notice the Multi-Source Metals and Additive Metals highlighted in yellow.

The information in the Comments section explains why: “Flagged additive levels are lower than expected for the identified lubricant. This may have been topped off with a different lubricant, the fluid may be misidentified, or a different lubricant or formulation may have been in use prior to a recent change.”

Nailed it.

I’m guilty of having topped-off the engine with a different AMSOIL product than the Signature Series 0W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil initially used for the oil change 11 months earlier. This report shows why you shouldn’t mix lubricants, if possible. Sure, it won’t do lasting harm to the engine, but mixing lubricants disrupts the oil’s chemistry and can shorten its service life and reduce performance.

Learn from my negligence, friends – don’t mix engine oils.

Reading an oil analysis report

You can also see fuel dilution is moderately high while TBN is moderately low. As Allen Bender, Oil Analyzers INC. Manager told me, the TBN is no cause for concern and there is “considerable time” before the oil would have to be changed.

All in all, this is a good report for a 21-year-old engine with more than 150,000 miles, most of it using who-knows-what motor oil.

Wear metals are low, meaning the oil is doing a great job protecting the bearings and other components from wear. Contaminants are also low, meaning the air filter is capturing silicon and other debris before it reaches the engine. The report shows no glycol contamination, which means the engine coolant is where it’s supposed to be – in the cooling system – and not in the oil via a leaking head gasket or other issue. And oil viscosity and oxidation are both good, showing that the oil is holding up fine, even after 11 months.

The one area that provides a little concern is 3-percent fuel dilution. As noted, this is a moderate level and shouldn’t cause alarm, but it is something to watch.

This is a perfect example of the power of oil analysis. It allows me to monitor the fuel-dilution level and potentially take action if it increases to a problematic level. Knowing the engine suffers moderate fuel dilution also reinforces the importance of using a high-quality synthetic oil (and not mixing oils!) to ensure maximum protection.

Give oil analysis a try. It’s relatively cheap for the information it provides and it empowers you to take better care of your vehicles while maximizing their return on your investment.

Shop Oil Analysis Kits

We have all the main oil analysis kits here in the Sioux Falls store. 47073 98th st. Just behind Marlins found at Exit 73 on I-29.

605-274-2580

 

Two-stroke equipment is changing

Two-stroke equipment is changing

Ask your Sioux Falls small engine sales and repair shop to carry the standard which makes all 2-stroke work motors easy to maintain.  SABER-PRO synthetic 2-cycle oil.

Hotter, leaner-running engines require less oil to do more work.

Dan Peterson - AMSOIL Technical Development

AMSOIL’s Dan Peterson.

Dan Peterson | VICE PRESIDENT, TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT

I spent my 53rd birthday in Tampa, Fla., during the 2016 DJ Convention, talking, listening, learning and making notes on how AMSOIL Dealer businesses have changed and what has driven those changes. This prompted a story I told the group about how AMSOIL is studying changes in handheld twostroke equipment. Allow me to share for those who weren’t in Tampa.

I grew up operating a range of two stroke equipment – mowers and string trimmers in the ‘70s and chainsaws in the ‘80s. I still have a 1980 25hp Mercury* outboard and an old two-stroke Lawn-Boy* mower, which has journeyed from Dayton, Ohio to Appleton, Wis. to Hermantown, Minn. It now resides at the cabin in Eagle River, Wis. The old Lawn-Boy runs great on SABER® Professional at 100:1. Occasionally, I use my equipment to burn the last of my neighbor’s summer gas. He uses Valvoline* mixed at 50:1. Boy, does it smoke in the old LawnBoy, but he’s a good neighbor and I like to help him out.

When I put the Valvoline mixed at 50:1 in my new Stihl* leaf blower, I don’t see as big a difference in exhaust smoke compared to SABER Professional at 100:1.  There is some difference, but nothing compared to the Lawn-Boy.

Why? The answer lies in the design of the equipment. Before I was introduced to AMSOIL, I ran the Lawn-Boy at 50:1 and it always smoked, especially before it warmed up. It continued to spew blue smoke the whole time I mowed, just like it does on my neighbor’s end-of summer gas. When I start my new Stihl leaf blower and use the end-of-summer gas, it does not smoke nearly as much as the Lawn-Boy.

Older equipment was designed to run rich, which means it burned a lot of fuel/oil. Not all of it burned, so the partially burned fuel and oil exited the exhaust as smoke. In response to government mandates to reduce emissions, much of the handheld twostroke equipment built in the last four years is designed to run leaner. This means it burns less fuel/oil and more air. When engines run on less fuel/oil and more air, they generate less smoke and emissions, but they run much hotter.

The problems with older two-stroke equipment included fouled spark plugs, gummy deposits and smoke. SABER Professional mixed at 100:1 helped resolve those issues in older equipment. Now, however, the challenges to equipment operability and longevity have changed. Modern equipment runs on the ragged edge due to burning less oil. The intense heat leads to deposits, which can cause the following:

  • Piston-ring sticking
  • Blocked exhaust ports
  • Plugged spark arrestor screens

As a result, equipment can lose power, become difficult to start and eventually quit running.

To be proactive with modern 2-cycle equipment, we went to work testing many different oil formulations in different types of equipment. In the end, we developed a formulation that delivers excellent protection against high heat and deposits. We tested and validated it at both 100:1 and 50:1. Although it’s safe and effective at both ratios, the benefits of reduced deposits and better cleanliness are more noticeable at 50:1 since more oil is available to lubricate the engine. For proof of SABER Professional’s performance at 50:1, see the ECHO String Trimmer Technical Study (G3455).

Here is where we all need to adapt to change. We all know our founder and Chairman of the Board Al Amatuzio designed the original SABER Professional to provide extraordinary benefits for the equipment of the time. In the same spirit, we’ve identified the most disruptive problems for lawn and landscapers when running today’s two-stroke equipment. And then we developed a formulation proven to address these issues.

What does this mean to your business?

If your customers are happy using  SABER Professional at 80:1 or 100:1, great. They can continue to rely on its safe, effective performance. However, perhaps you encounter a prospect who rejects our 80:1 or 100:1 recommendation. Let’s face it – some prospects simply aren’t interested in the benefits of using less oil. Use the results of the ECHO String Trimmer Technical Study to sell them on SABER Professional’s exceptional performance at 50:1. You can also use the study to sell current customers on the benefits of running a 50:1 ratio in their equipment.

In the end, it’s up to you to know your customers and prospects and sell SABER Professional as the solution to the problems they’re facing. This study gives you the flexibility to do that.

Look for more SABER Professional comparisons soon.

Available in the Sioux Falls store at 4610 W. 12th st. Call 402-399-3902

Testimonial: Synthetic Polymeric Truck, Chassis Grease

Recently our customer Mike Ahlschlager reported pulling his truck with 1,200,000 miles into Dakota Alignment. The mechanic asked, “When did you change your king pins? We usually do that for you and there is no record for this one?”

Mike replied that he never had the need for service on this truck which the mechanic was totally puzzled. He says it’s because of the AMSOIL Polymeric Truck Grease. No matter the environmental conditions, the AMSOIL polymeric truck grease stays put. Even under constant water washout. Mike said since he started using AMSOIL all of his maintenance issues have decreased significantly or totally vanished!

Here’s the official data from AMSOIL regarding their revolutionary Polymeric grease.
Both the NLGI1 and 2 are stocked in the Sioux Falls AMSOIL Store.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
AMSOIL Synthetic Polymeric Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease (GPTR1, GPTR2) delivers excellent wear protection and extreme-pressure performance over extended service intervals in medium- and heavy-duty applications. It combines select base oils, proprietary synthetic polymeric chemistry, an advanced additive package and a lithium-complex thickener for excellent impact resistance, reliable contaminant control and maximum longevity.

 

Extreme Impact Resistance
Greasable components on heavy-duty trucks and equipment regularly operate in severe-service, extreme-pressure environments. Frequent high-load operation increases the potential for grease to pound out, which can leave components vulnerable to increased wear and corrosion. AMSOIL Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease is formulated to deliver maximum pound-out resistance. Its exceptional adhesion and cohesion properties help keep the grease in place to seal out water and contaminants and provide a protective barrier between metal components.

Long Service Life
Most trucking companies work to maximize the amount of time tractors are on the road, and inferior greases are not engineered to perform over extended service intervals. The long intervals truckers demand can result in components being left unprotected because the grease has squeezed out of place. AMSOIL Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease is engineered to remain intact for maximum protection over extended service intervals. Owners/operators can be assured their equipment is protected when the job demands additional time on the road between maintenance checks.

Superior Rust and Corrosion Protection
Over-the-road trucks and commercial equipment operate in all types of weather. Water, snow and ice are encountered regularly, and they combine with salt and other road-deicing chemicals to promote accelerated rust and corrosion on chassis and fifth-wheel components. AMSOIL Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease clings tenaciously to metal surfaces, helping to keep rain, snow and other corrosive contaminants from penetrating greasable components. It is formulated with an advanced additive package designed to combat the harmful effects of roadway contaminants, helping components last longer and saving fleets money.

Maximum Extreme-Pressure Protection
AMSOIL Synthetic Polymeric Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease is engineered for maximum protection in extreme-pressure applications. It features a sophisticated additive package and exclusive synthetic polymeric technology designed to provide long-term protection for heavily loaded components. AMSOIL Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease’s high Timken OK Load and excellent Four-Ball Weld Test results prove its superior performance in extreme-pressure environments.

Ideal for Fleets
AMSOIL Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease is ideal for mixed fleets that operate in severe service. It provides exceptional protection and long service life for a broad range of applications.

Cost-Effective Choice
AMSOIL Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease offers enhanced protection for extended component life, reducing replacement costs. In addition, its long service life reduces the need for frequent re-application (or requires less grease at each servicing), reducing maintenance costs.

Reduced Environmental Impact
Less-tenacious greases are ejected from greased components and pollute the surrounding environment. AMSOIL Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease is formulated to stay in place for long service intervals, resulting in less grease pollution and reduced grease consumption. In addition, AMSOIL Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease is formulated without the use of barium, chlorine, antimony or sulfur, which are all potentially harmful to the environment.

APPLICATIONS
AMSOIL Synthetic Polymeric Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease is recommended for heavy-duty over-the-road tractors and trailers, delivery fleets, dump trucks, refuse haulers, utility fleets, emergency service vehicles, sewer and septic trucks, snow removal vehicles, wreckers, municipal service vehicles, equipment haulers, cement mixer trucks, airport support vehicles and more.

AMSOIL Synthetic Polymeric Grease provides exceptional performance in heavily loaded chassis grease points, wheel bearings, axle assemblies, universal joints, pivot pins, fifth-wheel hitch plates, steering linkages, spring pins, king pins, ball joints, water pump bearings and other greased heavy-duty components.

COMPATIBILITY
AMSOIL Synthetic Polymeric Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease is compatible with many other types of grease. However, it is recommended that when changing greases, the equipment be cleaned of the old grease or flushed with a liberal amount of AMSOIL Synthetic Polymeric Grease while the mechanism is in operation. Closely monitor the system for any inconsistencies. Any grease compatibility questions should be referred to your AMSOIL Dealer or AMSOIL INC.

*Note: AMSOIL Synthetic Polymeric Grease is designed to remain in place for long service intervals. The same properties that provide its enhanced tenacity can also make it harder to pump. A heavy follower plate may be necessary when pumping grease from larger package sizes. AMSOIL Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease is not recommended for automatic or centralized lubrication systems unless the system is designed to pump a tackier grease.