So, in early posts I have talked about the importance of keeping oil clean. My focus in those posts has been in the diesel truck market, although oil cleanliness has been becoming more and more important in all engines. Take the engine in the BMW K1600 for example. This remarkable engine has many very small oil passages that could become blocked by contaminants. While strapping an Amsoil bypass filter onto a motorcycle wouldn't be very practical, it does make the case for paying extra attention to performance properties of the oil selected for it. Qualities such as resistance to oxidation, which relates to fighting sludge, sludge that could potentially block these passages.
What I set out to talk about in this post, is a service that we offer - Used Oil Analysis. What is Used Oil Analysis?
The basic function of oil analysis is to ensure the fundamental performance of the lubricating fluid and equipment. It is the process of analyzing a lubricant’s chemical and physical properties in order to detect lubricant or equipment issues before major problems develop. Oil analysis serves as a valuable preventive maintenance tool, allowing an accurate scientific look at the lubricant’s service condition as well as the condition of the operating equipment. The four primary areas of focus include physical fluid properties, contamination, additive metals and wear debris. The additive metals category focuses on chemical properties of the oil and compares them to baseline metals previously established for the oil.
One of the most asked questions is: how long can I run between oil changes with Amsoil? That question is one of the easiest and hardest to answer. We have many oils that can easily run 25,000 miles or 1 year. For those oils, the answer is - 25,000 miles or one year. Provided that you also use an Amsoil 25,000 mile oil filter.
This question gets a lot harder to answer when an Amsoil bypass oil filter is implemented. The reason being, the bypass filter removes virtually all of the wear causing particles from the oil. These wear causing particles, such as dirt, silicone particles and soot, left unchecked will lead to the oil as a whole being unfit for continued service. These particles fall in the 5 to 50 micron range. As talked about in earlier posts, the Amsoil Bypass filters remove particles down to the 2 micron level, leaving the filtered oil analytically clean. So, one cannot simply say "in 25,000 miles, the oil is no longer any good." In Fact, after 25,000 miles with a properly maintained bypass filter in place, the oil most likely is perfectly suitable for continued use at 25,000 miles. It is not uncommon for properly filtered oil to be serviceable well past 50,000 or even 100,000 miles.
Does this mean that you should have a bypass filter installed, fill the crankcase with Amsoil never worry about it again? NO!! But, for someone who is really into knowing what their engine is doing, or someone who's livelihood depends on making critical decisions based on the best possible information available, Used Oil Analysis may be just the ticket.
Using our Used Oil Analysis Service, oil samples are sent to our testing lab at regular intervals. Typically at oil filter changes. Small samples are collected in small containers and sent in. A few days later, the test results are available. A baseline is established with the first sample and subsequent samples are used for trending purposes. Each sample is graded and a recommendation is given as to whether the oil should be changed or is good for continued use. Using this method, drain intervals can be extended way beyond what you would think.
It is also worth noting that there are general guidelines for what levels of wear material is normal in different types of equipment. We use that data to advice you of abnormal wear occurring in your engine. This is very helpful in letting you know very early on that there could be issues with your equipment quite a bit earlier than would normally occur. In over the road trucking for example, it would be very advantageous to know of an impending engine failure before that truck gets sent on a transcontinental haul, rather than half way through it when the engine fails. In the marine world, wouldn't it be nice to have the peace of mind of knowing that there is nothing unusual going on inside your engines before you set out on that once in a lifetime, bucket list "Great Loop Cruise"?
So, is Used Oil Analysis for everyone? Of course not. It is very beneficial, however for those who have long term or high mileage expectations out of their equipment. Commercial vehicles, delivery trucks, class 8 over the road trucks, performance vehicles, boats, heavy construction equipment, cars and trucks that the owner plans to "keep forever". Those are the types of equipment that will see a big payback on the relatively small investment of used oil analysis.
If you would like to know more, get in touch with me or click here.
Matt Smith is the owner of K16 Synthetics. Matt and his wife Vicki are avid Motorcyclist and Boaters. K16 Synthetics, located in Johnston, Iowa serves not only Central Iowa, but the entire United States.