Oil Analysis

Used Oil Analysis Available for United Customers

Located within the GROWMARK Lubricants Manufacturing Facility is an on-site laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for testing product along each step of the blending process. This ensures that product specifications meet the required performance characteristics.

The laboratory also performs Used Oil Analysis. Highly trained, full-time technicians are available to assist with testing procedures and inquiries from customers.

Once a used oil analysis sample is analyzed, reports are available online to view test results and track data through trends. Should any critical failures arise, the lab technician director will contact customers immediately.

For more information and to get setup today, contact your local United Lubricants distributor.

Visit the GROWMARK online oil analysis portal for additional information, Frequently Asked Questions, Test Explanations and more.

 

How Can An Oil Analysis Help Your Operation?

  • Extend equipment life
  • Reduce unforeseen breakdowns
  • Reduce the number of oil changes
  • Establish safe and proper drain intervals
  • Provide overall maintenance savings
  • Provide support for warranty claims
  • Eliminate unnecessary overhauls
  • Enhance fuel economy

Getting Started

In order to take full advantage of the benefits of a Used Oil Analysis (UOA) Program, please contact the laboratory or your local United Lubricants distributor to register for an account, prior to sending used oil samples.

Sampling Procedure

  1. Complete all paperwork in its entirety.
  2. Inspect sample bottle for contamination.
  3. Be absolutely certain to take the sample after the engine has been operated at normal operating temperature for several hours. Drain the oil while the engine is warm by loosening the drain plug to allow a small amount of oil into the drain pan before catching the sample. This ensures that any contamination surrounding the drain plug will not be present in the sample, influencing test results.
  4. Provide complete and accurate information on the sample label provided.
  5. Mail completed paperwork to:
    GROWMARK Lubricants
    2200 South Avenue
    Council Bluffs, IA 51503

DO NOT TAKE SAMPLES FROM THE DRAIN PAN.

How Engine Oil Keeps Your Operation Running

In an internal combustion engine, the engine oil is contained in the sump, or crankcase. The oil pump draws the oil through a screen, which strains out large foreign particles, then forces it through a filter, which removes smaller contaminants. The filtered oil then circulates through passages drilled in the engine block to bearings, the valve mechanism, and to the pistons and cylinder walls before returning to the sump. A bypass valve ensures that oil will still reach engine parts if the filter becomes clogged. In some older engines, lubrication may be accomplished in part by splashing caused by rotation of the crankshaft in the oil. During its circulation through the engine, the oil serves to lubricate parts, keep the engine free of rust and deposits, seal the piston rings and valves against leakage of combustion gases, and cool hot internal surfaces. Additives in the oil greatly enhance its ability to prevent excessive wear and deposit buildup, and they increase its resistance to oxidation and degradation at high temperatures.

Used Oil Test Explanations

Wear Metals

Interpretation of used oil analysis is based upon trending. Therefore, to interpret the condition of a component properly, a history of tests is required. However, when no history is available, the general rating system listed to the right is useful. (Particles seen by the naked eye are too large for analysis and may indicate imminent failure.)

Level Allowed Unit: Parts Per Million (PPM)

Lead: Overlay on bearings 40 PPM

Copper: Bearing and bearing cushion wear; Additive in some oils 40 PPM

Iron: Crankshaft; Cylinder walls; Rings; Sleeves or Valve train 100 PPM

Chromium: Chromed parts such as: Piston rings or Valve stems 20 PPM

Tin: Overlay on bearings 40 PPM

Silicon: Dirt; Additive in some oils (Very abrasive element, high levels

contribute to excessive wear and shortened component life.) 20 PPM

Aluminum: Piston and bearings 40 PPM

Analysis Physical Testing

The following tests are performed on an FT-IR spectrophotometer. The used oil is compared to the unused oil. Therefore, it is essential that the laboratory has an analysis of the fresh, unused oil. When no such reference oil is provided, the computer uses a “best match” to determine the results.

Soot: The quantity of fuel soot is an excellent indicator of combustion efficiency. Soot indicates injector malfunctions, air intake restrictions, overloading or excessive idling. Results are reported in inverse centimeters (cm-1).

Water: Water in the oil prevents proper lubrication and causes sludge formation. Water indicates coolant leaks, condensation due to low operating temperatures, or inadequate crankcase ventilation. Results are reported when the level exceeds 0.3%.

Antifreeze: Ethylene glycol in oil causes serious varnish and sludge formation. Ethylene glycol indicates a loose or cracked head, gaskets, sleeve seals, or oil cooler. Results are reported when the level exceeds 0.1%.

Fuel: Fuel dilution is the primary cause of oil thinning and greatly reduces lubricating ability. Fuel dilution indicates a leaking fuel pump or fuel lines, excessive idling, or defective injectors. Manufacturers recommend corrective action when levels exceed 4.0%.

Oxidation: The amount of oil oxidation is an excellent measure of the effective service life of the oil. Oil oxidation indicates internal overheating or extended drain interval (aging). Results are reported in inverse centimeters (cm-1)

ZDDP: Zinc dithiophosphate is an additive in the oil that provides a protective film on metal parts. High levels of depletion indicate that the additive is being used up. Results are reported in inverse centimeters (cm-1).

Nitration: Nitration is a measure of the nitrogen compounds in the oil resulting from blow-by past the compression rings. Nitration indicates an improper air/fuel ratio or low operating temperature. Results are reported in inverse centimeters (cm-1).

Used Oil Analysis Best Practices

  • Take samples in the same manner from the same point each time.
  • Be on a regular and continuous sampling program.
  • Cut open and inspect oil filters each time.