Consumer oil tester

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Well-known member
May 13, 2009
East Texas
Does anyone have any experience with "lubricheck"?

Sure would be nice if it works.
Or you can get your oil (and tranny fluid) professionally analyzed by a reputable outfit such as JG Lubricant Services or Blackstone Labs. Cost is about $25-30 plus shipping fr the sample. and you get much more detailed data.

I just change my (diesel) engine oil annually.  I don't get enough miles to change before that and worry about contamination from soot and water if I let it go longer.  Maybe an analysis would show it is still ok, but I feel better with an annual change.  I get a professional analysis yearly on my synthetic tranny fluid, though. Eight years old and still looking good.

My car oil gets changed based on the onboard computer's analysis of the actual driving conditions. It typically works out to be 11-12 months and 10-12k miles.
The military use to sample all the oil in all of it's equipment every quarter. After years they final realized they where wasting Lot's of money and time for nothing. They do the oil changes as needed and leave it at that..
Well, I was just wishing for the magic bullet.

We have 4 diesel engines & 5 automotive engines, besides several small engines.
The ones I use most (& value most) we do by the book. I have to admit, I have one diesel & one gas that may have been 10 years since an oil change. They get used very little, but will start & perform when needed, once or twice a year.
I have wondered if an engine is run only a few times per year, stored inside a somewhat climate controlled environment, if maybe the oil might be more like setting on the shelf or at least have a longer than one year life span.
I change my oil annually but am a firm believer in oil analysis as an indicator on not only the health of the engine but also the intake system. An increase in silica in the oil indicates that your engine is getting "dusted" by air getting by your air filter or a breakdown of the filter itself.
$25.00 is cheap compared to an engine rebuild and the analysis also allows you to catch an engine defect before it gets terminal.

Oil gets contaminated with gases and acids that are a byproduct of combustion.  Those contaminants are there whether the engine is running or stored. The question becomes how much contamination and what sort. Analysis can answer that, but an oil change fixes it.

On an engine with 5-6 quarts of oil, it's probably just as easy and inexpensive to change it as to test it. But on engines that have 20-30 quarts of oil (my Cummins ISL takes 28 qts), the economics might shift in favor of testing first IF the testing almost always shows you can extend the change interval for 6-12 months..
I have just recieved my sample kits from JG Lubercation. I plan on doing the engin and tranney. First to see what is in the tranney and set up a base line for future samples.
Thats the reason I was hoping to find someone that had proven the inexpensive oil tester was reliable.
I was wishing this, probably more so to save the work than the cost of the oil. It sure is getting harder all the time to get under there & change it.
I think the main thing in the more sophisticated testing is trace metals analysis, to tell you warning signs of wear or contamination. It appears the cheap tool just measures lubricity and tells whether there are contaminant in general, but not the type or probable cause. And you have to do your own tracking of results over time, whereas the professional services put it in a database for you.  If you just want a clue as to whether an oil change is needed now, the tool maybe works ok.

Are you now changing more than once a year? Or maybe looking to go to synthetic and defer changes to maybe every other year?  I'm feeling old and fat too, but I can still manage an annual change and it makes me more comfortable to do it that way. Plus, once a year I look underneath the engine and maybe spot some other warning sign, like wet spots around the pan gasket or other fluid drips.
Only one tractor gets changed more than once per year. 100-125 hours.
My cummins RV we have been changing once per year with maybe less than 10,000 mi on change. Book calls for 15,000 or one year. No longer period using syn, so we just use Rotella-T heavy duty.
Everything else I change only on hours or miles, regardless of time period.
My cummins RV we have been changing once per year with maybe less than 10,000 mi on change. Book calls for 15,000 or one year. No longer period using syn, so we just use Rotella-T heavy duty.

Same here. Costs me about $110 to do it myself, traded off against $30 for an oil analysis that might let me extend another ?? months.
I have used Blackstone labs on and off.

Today's engine oils fail because of viscosity loss due to shear.  Contamination has nothing to do with it, aside from exceptional cases where head gasket failures (for example) lead to all kinds of water entering the oil sump.

Blackstone will tell you how much viscosity you've lost and (for an added fee beyond the standard set of tests) will tell you what sort of condition the viscosity-improving polymers are in.  Those are the plastics added to keep the oil thick as it heats up.  But I don't use Blackstone for that.

What Blackstone will tell you that is, potentially at least, useful --  is whether there are wear products or unusual contaminants present that indicate an impeding failure.  That's not always actionable information, but once in a while if you know that the engine is about to fail maybe you would have it done at the same time as the transmission to save a little on labor.

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