Oil Analysis; Another Diagnostic Tool
Most of us try to take care of our Porsche’s in ways that exceed required maintenance and recommended service. If we are not DIY mechanics, we take our cars to specific Porsche service providers that know our cars and have lots of experience. Those service providers can use a variety of diagnostic tools to advise us of our cars condition. Those diagnostics include; computer scan tools, compression tests, leakdown tests, exhaust analyzers, examining oil filter elements for debris, etc. There is another diagnostic tool that can provide a wealth of information on our engine’s condition; engine oil analysis. Airplane owners, large commercial truck operators and racing engine builders have been using oil analysis for years. As an owner of a Porsche that could develop an IMS bearing problem, I have my oil filter torn apart and examined at every oil change (see Jeremy’s article on this topic). I have recently added oil analysis to my diagnostics. Oil analysis is similar in concept to your family doctor running a blood panel. The blood analysis results are compared to a range of values that are found in healthy humans. Specific results outside of a normal band usually draw attention to an existing or developing problem. Oil analysis does the same thing on a sample of your engine’s oil.
I use Blackstone Labs based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You can request an oil analysis kit through a phone call or email and they send one (or more) out at no cost. The kit includes a sample bottle, labels, an information sheet and a shipping container.
A sample is taken while changing your oil. The sample should come from the midstream of the draining oil, not the first or the last spurts, but in the middle. The sample is then mailed back to Blackstone in the provided postage prepaid container, along with the information sheet that you fill out. The oil received is then run through a chemical and physical analysis spectrum and compared to the spectrums from similar engines. Besides the results of more than 20 specific elements, Blackstone provides written comments about your oil and engine condition:
This way you know if there’s an internal engine issue taking place. The cost? Only $28!! This has to be one of the best investments that you can make in taking care of your car. If you’re not a DIY person, local Porsche specialty shops can do it for you.