So this winter I may have neglected my car more than usual and didn't change the only when I was supposed to. As the freezing weeks went by I kept getting more and more paranoid. My car started rumbling weird and I knew something was up. I checked my oil and sure enough it was so low it barely registered on the dipstick. I started to beat myself up and thought why did I let my laziness take over? Luckily Reflected Image Motorsports had AMSOIL in stock and I had Blackstone Labs oil test kit that I order awhile back.
I heard about Blackstone Labs from a fellow autocrosser many months ago. I decided to order the kit (http://www.blackstone-labs.com/). The following is what the kit brings:
There are two ways to collect the oil while it still warm after driving it for over 20 mins on the highway or while it's cold. If you do it while it's cold just let Blackstone know so they can account for any irregularities they may see.
Looking at my report it's not good. I was curious what all this meant. I found an excellent site that explains every single element. Check it out it has a lot of good information http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/engine-oil-analysis/
Your analysis will of course be different then mine. The following are my top three problems:
1. Chromium: This comes from the rings being worn down over time
2. Iron: This could come from various steel parts like the cylinders. The more the oil is used the more the PPM of Iron shows up in the oil. Which is exactly what I did.
3. Sodium: This is the one that worries me the most. It is a common additive for many oils but AMSOIL does not use it. So it could be coolant is getting in the oil. Eek!!! I am going to have to keep an eye out to avoid something catastrophic like rod knock.
4. SUS Viscosity @ 210°F: Saybolt Universal Second viscosity is the measurement of time it takes virgin oil (60 cm3) to flow through a controlled temp (210°F) tube. Different weights of oil have acceptable ranges to meet that grade. For example I used 5W-50 which has an acceptable range of 86-89 but fell below it at 84.1. This could be due to me running the oil longer than what it was designed for.
At this point I can't tell how good AMSOIL is, I will have to do another analysis without running the oil longer than it was intended for. My report is consistent with what happens when an oil is used for more than 3 months. So whenever you think it'll just be fine to run the oil longer, think again.
Overall I think an oil analysis is a great tool to see if there could be potential problems in the engine or determine wear rate. If you have never done one I suggest you do. It could save you thousands of dollars down the road.