February 4, 2020

Oil Analysis Response and Improvement

In this video, Mark Shierman, Corporate Director, Client Services, talks about the art of oil analysis response and the opportunities for improvement.

The three stages of the oil analysis response:


  • Questions about the results: Do you have trust in the numbers, flags and commentary? If you do have concerns, chat with your laboratory to get more details.
  • Knowledge of the situation: This is typically an internal conversation. Your operations group should be able to provide context around oil service hours, component hours and recent repairs that can potentially impact on the interpretation of the results.
  • Additional perspective: Different parties can interpret results differently, so getting perspectives from equipment manufacturers, oil suppliers or other sources can help build consensus.


  • Weigh your options and make the call: You could be faced with a “do something or nothing” decision or you may have multiple options to consider – whatever the decision, it will impact on the response protocols implemented.


  • Ignore the results: If you decide not to respond to the oil analysis results, consider carefully what result would require an immediate response and include in your protocols.
  • Gather more perspective: Similar to gathering perspectives within the Interpretation phase, you can gather more perspective on how to respond from the OEM or oil suppliers and decide on best course of action.
  • Monitor more closely: Depending on the results, you may determine that you need more frequent oil sampling, additional testing, or cross comparison against other condition monitoring techniques (e.g. vibration). Again, set the protocols for what additional monitoring should be done and what the timing and triggers are for immediate response.
  • Perform an inspection: Depending on the severity issue, inspecting the machine to confirm the results is a likely next step. Ensure your maintenance team is fully briefed on the results and interpretation to help them pinpoint what to look for.
  • Perform the repair: The most common initial repair response is to change the oil. Follow-up with additional monitoring (e.g. oil sampling, condition monitoring) to confirm if the issue is resolved or if further action is required (e.g. inspection).
  • Change the PM interval: Shorten or extend the PM interval to determine if the oil analysis results improve or degrade.
  • Improvement projects: If you see a recurring problem happening, consider additional improvement projects to resolve the issue such as flagging optimization, training, process mapping.

Interpretation, Decision and Response protocols are customized to your maintenance and operations needs. Fluid Life can provide input and support at any stage of the process.

Contact us today to learn more.