Routine oil analysis

Oil analysis is the laboratory assessment of an oil sample and generally monitors for oil condition, contamination, and component wear.  A well implemented oil analysis program gives you a window inside your equipment so you can identify and resolve problems at an early stage, mitigating unrecoverable downtime.

Just testing your oil won’t actually change anything

The value is in how you respond

Oil analysis lets you understand what’s happening and gives you the insight to change something if needed. It’s all about interpreting the results, reviewing the options, and responding accordingly. Watch the video to learn more about oil analysis response and download the summary of the three steps: Interpret, Decide, and Respond.

Benefits of Oil Analysis

Improve Planning and scheduling

Improve Planning & Scheduling

  • Identify problems at an early stage
  • Reduce unplanned maintenance
  • Guide planning for upcoming service work
Monitor improvement initiatives

Monitor Improvement Initiatives

  • Monitor/change equipment maintenance plan
  • Manage your contamination control program
  • Identify and eliminate repetitive problems
Lower Operating Costs

Lower Operating & Capital Costs

  • Reduce maintenance and lubrication costs
  • Obtain maximum use of lubricants in service
Maintain Equipment Reliability

Maintain Equipment Reliability

  • Improve machine reliability
  • Achieve component life extension

Oil Analysis Options and Resources

Fluid Life offers a variety of individual tests for oil analysis. Download the full test listing for reference.

We also offer test packages specific to the industries we service.

We offer specially designed industry specific oil analysis test packages to support your equipment reliability needs. Additional test packages for coolant, diesel fuel, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), and grease are also listed as applicable.

For an overview of recommended oil analysis testing and sample frequencies, download the chart. Sampling frequencies should be adjusted based on the nature of failure modes, asset criticality, safety and environmental concerns.

Contact Fluid Life for routine analysis planning support.

Consistent sampling at regular intervals, utilizing a repeatable procedure, will reduce the noise within the data to make it easier to spot any deviations from normal results, providing the earliest, and proper, notification of necessary action.


Oil Sampling Using a Drain Plug/Pipe
For oil sumps/reservoirs, without fixed sampling hardware installed where dipstick or fill-cap access is unavailable. The oil sample is collected by gravity drain into a sample jar.

Oil Sampling Using a Sample Pump
This is the sampling procedure using the Fluid Life 38U Sample Pump. This procedure can be used for oil sumps/reservoirs, where dipstick, fill-cap, or other access is available.

Oil Sampling Using A Pushbutton Valve & KST-Series Valve
For components installed with a pushbutton valve or KST-Series valve.

Oil Sampling Using a Sample Valve
For a pressurized and non-pressurized fluid applications equipped with a “Thread-on Probe” style sample valve ( i.e. Fluid Life B-Series Sample Valve).


Fluid Life offers a variety of sampling hardware options including customized solutions to fit your needs.


To ensure accuracy and results integrity fill out all sampling cards as completely as possible. If the information is fully completed, your sample will be processed in the shortest amount of time.


The Oil Sample Card Guide outlines how to complete the individual sections of a Fluid Life oil analysis sample card.

Fluid Life offers three methods for registering your samples:


Learn how to read a sample report produced after a sample has been analyzed – Download Reading the Oil Analysis Report.

Component Wear

  • Some component wear is to be expected and is normal though wear rates tend to increase as components age
  • Filtration may give the impression of ‘steady-state’ wear
  • Most abnormal wear can usually be explained by:
    • Harsh Operation (frequent stop-and-go, rapid acceleration, braking or reversal, driving through deep puddles)
    • Ineffective Maintenance (extended, ineffective, or missed PM services, wrong oil added, poor cooling system)
    • Poor Oil Condition (wrong oil for conditions, low oil level, extended oil drains, dilution with another oil)
    • Excessive Contamination (excessive dirt or water ingression, ineffective filtration)
    • Mechanical Issue (break-in wear, reaching end-of-life, malfunctioning system)

Oil condition

  • Oil degradation is complex; oxidation, hydrolysis, thermal degradation, shearing, etc. can lead to physical and chemical changes in oil
  • Poor oil condition can cause a number of issues:
    • Premature oil degradation
    • Performance loss
    • Varnish formation
    • Excessive corrosion or wear
  • The key goals for monitoring oil condition are:
    • Confirming that the correct oil is being used
    • Identifying when oil should be changed
    • Maintaining oil condition for as long as possible or as long as needed


  • Contamination control is important
    • Hydraulic oils: 80% of all failures caused by contamination
    • Engine oils: Fuel dilution or glycol contamination can lead to failures
    • Turbine oils: Varnish can lead to unplanned downtime and high costs
  • Oil contamination can be due to a variety of issues:
    • External ingression (dirt, water, cement dust, wood fibres, etc.)
    • Cross-contamination (diesel fuel, glycol, other oils, etc.)
    • Oil breakdown (varnish, seals, etc.)
  • How much contamination is too much?
    • When developing your oil analysis protocols, it’s important to define what constitutes “too much”
    • You may decide to define a threshold for allowable contamination
    • Alternatively, you may monitor for an increase from the trend
    • Or, you may decide that any amount of contamination is too much
Acid Number

The acid number test method determines acidic constituents in lubricating oils. The result is reported in milligrams of potassium hydroxide per gram (mg KOH/g).

Analytical Ferrography

Ferrography provides a “forensic science” analysis of wear particles, contaminants and lubrication degradation, by interpreting the debris on a ferrography slide.

Karl Fischer

Karl Fischer Water Titration (Karl Fischer) is an excellent test for hydraulics, compressors, turbines, bearings and any component where water contamination is a concern.

ISO Particle Count

The IPC test reports size ranges and concentrations of particulate found in industrial fluids; an excellent tool for flowchart diagnosis of maintenance problems.

Optical Particle Classification

Optical Particle Classification (OPC) is an effective method for determining the particle count and the level of contamination in a lubricating system.


The Remaining Useful Life Evaluation Routine (RULER®) test monitors the remaining antioxidant concentration in the lubricant to better predict the oxidation of oil.

Total Magnetic Iron

Total Magnetic Iron (TMI) is a highly accurate test option designed to measure the degree of ferrous wear metal contamination in an oil sample.

Varnish Potential

Varnish may not be identified via standard tests; Varnish Potential MPC is used to determine the potential of the system to form varnish.

X-Ray Fluorescence

X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) is a technique used for the analysis and evaluation of liquid samples and solid particulate.


Take the Next Step

Depend on over 30 years of experience in fluid testing and analysis to improve your predictive maintenance programs and reduce unplanned downtime.

Contact Fluid Life to develop and implement an Oil Analysis program that fits your needs.


Call: 1-877-962-2400

Talk to a Fluid Life Representative

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