Four common oil analysis fallacies

There are a number of common misconceptions that people who deal with machinery lubrication need to be made aware of if they are to ensure that their equipment runs at peak performance, and does not suffer unduly from faults or excessive wear and tear. Below, you will find a number of the most important misconceptions that need to be challenged:

1. Elemental analysis will always discover active machine wear

So many people believe that an elemental oil analysis test will be able to tell them whether a machine is beginning to wear or not, that they are overly reliant on the test, which furnishes them with concentrations in parts per million to a maximum of 25 elements. As a result, they are left with a false sense of security when the test does not highlight any problems with their equipment.

The problem is that this kind of test can be very misleading due to the fact it cannot detect particles under three microns, which means that there are potential problems that will remain undetected through this method.

2. It’s not worth sampling small amounts of oil

This fallacy is believed by so many people that it could be having a real impact on businesses all over the world. Many believe it is pointless to analyse small volumes of oil, where the cost of analysis would be more than the cost of changing the oil.

The reason why this is wrong is because quite often, sampling these small amounts of oil can highlight a bigger problem with machinery, which if left untested could cause contamination, malfunction and a whole host of other problems.

3. It’s fine to get the cheapest oil analysis available

Although one should never overpay for oil analysis, and although not all low-cost oil analysis providers function poorly, it is usually not a good idea to simply entrust your oil analysis to the cheapest bidder. Instead, you should look to oil analysis practitioners who have a good reputation and who follow the best practices for analysis methodically.

4. Silicon and dirt go hand in hand

Lastly, it’s time to dispel the myth that the presence of increasing amounts of silicon means that dirt ingressions is present. Really, although silica is a common mineral found in dirt, its presence in an oil sample does not necessarily indicate the presence of dirt because silicone seals and walls can leach trace amounts of silica into oil too.