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Inside the oil analysis process

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Oil analysis provides fact-based information on the oil’s condition, which can then be used to determine the engine’s condition. The data will help answer questions such as is the oil and filter change interval appropriate, is there coolant, fuel, water or dirt in the oil, and is the oil viscosity within appropriate limits?

But if you don’t have the capability to do your own oil analysis, how do you go about getting one done? Just talk with your oil or oil filter supplier—chances are that they offer fluid analysis services. Donald Chilton, Wix Filters’ vice president of product management, walked Fleet Equipment through the process:

“You get the test kit from a Wix district sales manager or a local store that sells Wix products and drop your oil samples into the mail. The samples go to one of two different labs—you have the choice of which lab you want to use. When the tests are complete, the fleet maintenance manager or owner gets the results via email, and then he or she can make decision on what needs to be done or not be done.”

For more on fuel filtration, click here to read our in-depth story.

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Chilton estimated that once the samples are in the mail it’s around three weeks until the results are received.

“To really stay on top of it, you need to be checking it every 10,000 miles,” Chilton said. “Granted, that might be a little extreme—every 20,000 is more of a realistic goal for an over-the-road, long-haul operation. How often you do an analysis will depend on your application. If you’re running routes cross-country, it probably doesn’t have to be done as often as a stop-and-go, pick-up-and-delivery application because of engine oil oxidation.”

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