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Des-Case Blog

How to Conduct Oil Analysis

Jul 2, 2020

Oils are fluids that play a vital role in keeping your assets running smoothly. Knowing the condition of your oil provides important information on the overall health of your assets and helps you track its performance. 

Why perform an oil analysis?

Analysis and knowing the condition of the oil in your equipment can provide several benefits.

  • Analysis of the oil helps to extend the overall lifespan of your equipment. 
  • Helps identify wear metals and other contaminants such as fluids, in the oil that can affect your assets.

What to look for in oil analysis:

When performing an oil analysis, there are three categories of what should be examined: contamination, fluid properties, and wear debris. 


Performing an oil analysis can help to detect contaminants that can be destructive to the overall health of the engine and can cause failure within a machine. Oil analysis can provide information on probable sources of the contaminants, contaminant types, and any signs of internal leakage within the engine. 

Fluid Properties

This type of oil analysis is done solely to identify the chemical and physical state of the oil, as well as determine the remaining useful life (RUL). It measures and determines factors such as if the correct oil is being used, the correct additives are active, if additives have been depleted, and if the viscosity of the oil is at the correct level. 

Wear Debris

A wear debris oil analysis measures the presence of particles that are produced as an effect from mechanical wear and degradation and identifies these particles. This type of oil analysis will help to determine if wear debris is being produced, how severe the wear conditions are, if the machine is degrading normally or abnormally, and from which component is the degradation originating.  

What to look for when reviewing oil analysis reports

  • It is vital to understand the data that comes with the test results. Reviewing the oil analysis results can help identify any issues that arise.
  • The test results can help in determining whether there are any problems to address. Verify the comments of the analyst who reviewed the test results.
  • Interpret the viscosity on the test results, industrial oils are recognized by their ISO viscosity grade (ISO VG). The oil must fall within plus or minus 10 of the percentile to be categorized as an ISO grade.
  • Analyses the concentration of harmful elements in the oil like metals.. Look at the history of each machine when reviewing the wear levels in the test results.
  • Contamination from insoluble materials in the oil can cause oil system failures that ruin the other equipment in the engine. This reduces the service time for equipment and increases the maintenance cost. Perform oil sampling and do an analysis of contaminants that may be present.
  • Check for the information on fluids present, such as water as it promotes corrosion. Determine the acid number information, which involves the use of titration to detect the formation of a by-product in the oil.

How much is an oil analysis test?

Oil analysis test kits are affordable and allow you to prevent the time and cost of potential breakdowns by mitigating problems within your machine’s oil before they could cause shutdown in equipment. 

How to leverage visual oil analysis in the field

Des-Case’s line of visual oil analysis products provide you the ability to view and assess your oils condition while it is in use. They are built to last and will give you a 360 degree view of your oil quality and level.