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How to Read Your Oil Analysis Report

So you’ve purchased an oil analysis test kit and sent it back to our lab. Now what? Within 48 hours, you can expect to receive an email from us with the results. Though it’s easy to reap the benefits of regularly testing oil samples from your equipment, analyzing those results can be pretty confusing. Keep in mind that an analysis consists of countless data, so it’s easy to get lost if you aren’t sure exactly what to look at. In this blog post, we’ll look at three main areas you should focus on in regards to the oil report.

  1. Viscosity - This is the single most important factor in effectively lubricating your equipment. Oil that’s too thin won’t provide proper protection for components. On the other hand, oil that’s too thick increases energy consumption by making your machine work harder. Problems with viscosity can lead to major problems with equipment, including oxidation, abnormal wear, and decreased fluid life. When you go over your analysis report, be sure to refer to the machinery’s manual and look at the OEM requirements. At UnderMyHood, we will be able to tell you whether the fluid is out of SAE or ISO spec ranges as well.
  2. Oxidative life - What in the world is oxidative life? It refers to the acidity and alkalinity of the oil and is defined on the report as the acid number and base number. Not surprisingly, acid number testing measures the concentration of acid in the oil while base number testing focuses more on the reserve of alkalinity in the oil. If an acid number is too high, it usually signals oil oxidation, additive depletion, or improper lubricant usage. A low base number tends to indicate high levels of acid formation from internal combustion.
  3. Elemental analysis - Also known as water metals analysis, this test measures the concentration of wear metals, additives, and contaminants in the oil. This allows you to see how healthy your system is overall. With elemental analysis, you can use the measurements to determine the cause of wear or contamination.  

What to Do After Reviewing the Report

Once you’re done looking through the results, it’s time to create some action items. For example, perhaps you’ll need to make immediate changes to your equipment’s oil and any other lubrication procedures in order to correct the problem. The last thing you want to do is sit on your hands and allow the issue to worsen.

Engine Oil Testing with UnderMyHood

Our oil testing lab has been in business for more than 40 years. Because we truly care about the health of your equipment, we make our process incredibly simple for customers. Once your sample is received, we email the results within 48 hours. Unlike some oil reports, ours is easy to understand.

UnderMyHood allows you to spot problems as they begin to develop, saving you time, money, and headache down the road. If you have additional questions regarding our oil reports, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.