When performing an oil change, I often take note of the colour/smell of the oil being drained. Paying attention to these two attributes helps me understand what is happening to the engine. With todays modern engines and their tighter tolerances its becoming more and more important to get a better understanding of the impact of motor oil. In a previous article, I discussed how some customers choose to ignore the manufacturers recommended drain intervals or preferred oil based on what they believe to be correct. One can now put their theories to test and have their engine oil or any other automotive lubricant tested. A standard oil test will be able to determine oil breakdown, engine wear, additive breakdown, viscosity, particles and the presence of fuel or coolant. Doing one simple oil test could help a vehicle owner understand the impact of extended drain intervals and whether their engine is showing preliminary signs of an even greater issue.
It would be nice to see this value add for customers in the fast lube industry since it will help them protect their investment and even help shops sell better oils. A simple oil testing program could help customers understand how to better protect their vehicle and in turn help set a shop apart from the competition. At this point, there are no in-house testing kits but their are quite a few companies that will allow you to send the results away for further analysis. This is definitely an area worth further exploration even if its just to understand how certain oils perform in your own vehicle.