How Diesel Engine Oil Analysis Works (And Why You Need To Do It)

Today’s diesel engine oil is not your grandfather’s old engine oil. Several years ago, two new categories of API diesel engines entered the market – CK-4 and FA-4. Both were aimed at reducing oil viscosity and increasing fuel economy, while providing much-needed engine protection. CK-4 replaced CJ-4 as the filler of choice for most engine manufacturers, while the new oil on the block, FA-4 was hyper focused on improving fuel efficiency and was an approved option by some manufacturers for the newest. heavy engine models.

Along with the new categories, even longer drain intervals have been added. But the one thing that remained constant was the importance of engine oil analysis.

“Oil analysis is a chemical view of what’s in motor oil,” explained Donald Chilton, Director, Product Management, Wix Filters. “This view allows you to see and predict what’s happening at that time without guessing or opening the engine. The new oils have their benefits and have helped increase drain intervals while increasing fuel economy. They did not affect the lab analysis itself, but the results may look different when changing from an older oil to a new one.

Here’s how engine oil analysis typically works and why it’s important:

You take oil samples at specific mileage intervals, usually every 10,000 to 20,000 miles, and send the results to a lab for analysis. When the tests are complete, you receive the results by email and then the fleet manager can make a decision on what should or should not be done. Chilton noted that the frequency of testing may vary depending on the application.

“Some may say test every month while others say it should be every X miles, but it really depends on how much stress you put the engine on,” he said. “Do you operate in short or long-haul applications? What is your operating environment? Engine age? Each fleet typically has a maintenance schedule and should review each use case to determine the correct frequency. »

What does not change is the importance of analysis.

“It’s an inexpensive way to see if everything is working properly and what the useful life of the oil is,” Chilton said.

It can also impact your diesel engine oil filtration decisions and practices. For example, an older engine may produce more soot and premature oil breakdown byproducts which may require longer filter life. Equipment operating in extremely dusty or abrasive environments may require a higher level of efficiency. Filters operating in extreme or harsh environments may require different constructions.

Although this may seem like a complicated chemical analysis process, Chilton noted that:

“Wix makes it easy; you don’t hear much anymore in the world we live in. Wix offers a few kits and all of them contain a sample bottle for used oil samples, a large bottle to use as a sender, the test request sheet, and full instructions. The analysis will check for twenty different wear metals and the different physical properties of the sample. These include fuel, water, antifreeze, insolubles and viscosity changes. All the user has to do is mail the sample and then watch the results. It’s easy!”

And important. For more information on how Wix can help you get started with your diesel engine oil analysis program, speak with a Wix District Sales Manager, visit a local store that sells Wix products, or visit Wix Filters Web.

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