The lubricant industry requires a sound, comprehensive and effective lube condition monitoring protocols. It is critically valuable to achieve optimum preventive maintenance alerts at all times, not only to reduce downtime and gain maximum cost savings, but as well to optimize the lubrication and equipment performance.
In the spectral exam, we take a portion of your oil sample and run it through a machine called a spectrometer. The spectrometer analyzes the oil and tells us the levels of the various metals and additives that are present in the oil. This gives us a gauge of how much your engine is wearing.
The insolubles test measures the amount of abrasive solids that are 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 test 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 5W30, 15W40, 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.
The Flash Point test measures the temperature at which vapors from the oil ignite. For any specific grade of oil, 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 off lower than it should, then it’s probably been contaminated with something. Fuel is the most common contaminant in oil.