What is oil analysis, and why should I do it?

Oil analysis is a diagnostic, preventative maintenance tool for monitoring and evaluating lubricant and equipment conditions. It allows you to maximize asset performance and reliability by identifying minor problems before they become major failures. It can extend oil drain intervals and ultimately the life of your equipment, saving you time and money.

How often should I sample my equipment?

Although the OEM’s recommendations provide a good starting point for developing preventative maintenance practices, sampling intervals can easily vary. How critical a piece of equipment is to production is a major consideration for determining sampling frequency, as are environmental factors such as hot, dirty operating conditions, short trips with heavy loads and excessive idle times.

How long does it take to process a sample?

Most routine samples are processed within 24-48 hours. Results and recommendations are available via www.GMKLabServices.com immediately upon completion of testing. Reports can also be mailed.

What information does the laboratory need from me?

It is extremely important to provide the laboratory with accurate information. The report you receive from us is only as good as the information you provide. The information form should be filled out as completely as possible every time.

How much oil does the laboratory need?

Our bottle holds 4 oz. The minimum required to do all of our tests is 2 oz.

How long should oil remain in an engine before I sample it?

We like to see at least 500-1000 miles to get good data. If the engine has a problem, it may very well show up with fewer miles. More miles are preferred.

I took a sample three months ago and forgot to send it in. Can I still send it in? Will the results still be good?

Yes. The information however will be three months late for that engine. Send samples in immediately to realize the full benefit of the program.

Where is my sample? I sent it in at least a week ago and haven’t heard anything.

Chances are we don’t have it yet. We do a pretty good job keeping up, and unless there was a holiday or something and were just inundated with samples, we try to run it the same day or the day after we receive it in the mail.

How long should I wait before I give it up for lost and send in another one?

Give it at least a month. They don’t actually get lost very often, and they usually find their way here eventually.

What is trend analysis and why is trending important?

Trend analysis is based on a series of sample results where changes in the condition of the fluid and increased wear elements can indicate the development of problems that can affect lube and unit performance. Trend analysis plays an important role in determining proper drain intervals as well as in predicting equipment failure.

Can oil analysis predict equipment failure?

Yes. Oil analysis provides vital information as to the condition of both the oil and the unit being tested. It can detect wear and contamination problems that, if left unchecked, can severely affect equipment performance or cause failure.

What is soot and what causes it?

Soot is a by-product of the combustion process in a diesel engine. Soot is a carbon residue formed from fuel, air and moisture in the combustion chamber after ignition. Soot particles are held in suspension by dispersant additives in the oil preventing the soot particles from agglomerating and attaching to the rings, pistons and liners. When too much soot is generated and the additives can no longer keep it suspended, deposits will form on the rings weakening the seal between the pistons and the cylinder liners causing adverse wear.

Can oil analysis help the environment?

Yes. Extending oil drain intervals translates into less environmental pollution and less dependency on foreign oil.

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