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Four tips for interpreting an oil analysis report

Carrying out regular oil analysis is important if you want to ensure your systems are running at their best. Of course, you also need to know how to analyse and interpret the results. If you are unable to do this effectively, then you may not be doing all you can to ensure that your oil, and therefore your machinery, is being well managed. Here are some tips that should help you when it comes to reading that all important oil analysis report:

Be aware of the sampling point before you review it in the report

If you already have a good working knowledge of the machines you are responsible for monitoring, being aware of their operational, maintenance, servicing and mechanical requirements means that you will have a much easier time when it comes to reviewing the results of your latest oil analysis sample. This will enable you to take any required action quickly and with confidence.


If you are based in a commercial lab, you should always take the time to work in collaboration with the person who carries out your oil analyses. Professional analysts are specialists in their field, which means that if you pick their brains, they will be able to tell you a whole lot of things about your machinery equipment – things that you yourself would never have gleaned from the report you are presented with.

Find out about magnitudes of change for frequent test results

Often, you will be presented with test results that show a percentage change from 4 to 8 parts per million, which has not been flagged up as important by the lab. This can often be troubling, as a 100 percent increase does not seem like a trivial matter to you. One of the things you can do to resolve this problem is to do some research and come to grips with just how small one part per million actually is. If you can grasp the smallness of this figure, you will be much less likely to worry about a percentage rise when you know it is still such a small amount overall.

Address the words reports first

When reports are delivered to you, it is a good idea to sort through them and categorise them by severity. All reports have a stasis statement or code, which will let you know which reports are most critical. By reading these first, you can quickly find out which, if any, oil samples require your immediate attention and which can wait.

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