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5 Questions Fluid Analysis Can Answer

5 Questions Fluid Analysis Can Answer

During Fabick Cat’s SOS fluid analysis, our experts use your oil, coolant and fuel sampling results to measure wear. Multiple tests reveal the information you need to keep your equipment up and running smoothly. Get the answers to these important machine health and performance questions with a fluid analysis today!

1. HOW ARE YOUR COMPONENTS WEARING?

Each lubricated system has a particular concentration of wear metals produced during normal operation. By evaluating wear inside the lubricated compartment, we can see if rates are normal or not. For example, high levels of iron and chrome can stem from problems with your engine’s cylinder liners and/or piston rings.

What we’re looking for—and why:

  • Wear metals — including iron, lead, copper, aluminum & chrome
  • Silicon — can indicate dirt entry depending on local soil conditions
  • Sodium — a potential indicator of water or coolant entry

2. IS YOUR OIL STILL PERFORMING?

Wear occurs when oil depletes its additives and begins to deteriorate. This can damage components in oil-washed compartments. Oil condition analysis tells us if the oil has reached the end of its useful life.

What we’re looking for—and why:

  • Viscosity (how the oil flows) — too low & wear can occur; too high & oil won’t do its job
  • Oxidation (oxygen molecules joining with lubricant molecules) — in diesel engines, oxidation can trigger sticking piston rings; in hydraulics, oxidized lubricants will increase pump wear & damage valves
  • Sulfation (sulfur combining with water during diesel fuel combustion) — can corrode valves, cylinder liners & more
  • Nitration (generally a problem in natural gas engines) — may result in oil filter plugging, crankcase deposits & other issues

3. IS YOUR OIL CONTAMINATED?

A robust oil contamination analysis involving several tests can determine if anything harmful has entered the oil.

What we’re looking for—and why:

  • Soot (from partially burned fuel) — can plug oil filters & cause engine wear
  • Fuel — can come from the combustion process & cause low viscosity
  • Water (such as from condensation, leaks, wet conditions) — can cause wear, rust & sludge
  • Coolant — can contaminate engine oil

4. ARE YOU USING THE RIGHT OIL?

The wrong fluid in the wrong compartment can affect performance and lube protection or even severely damage major components. To tell if it’s the right fluid, it’s important to take an accurate sample with the right labeling.

What we’re looking for—and why:

  • Viscosity — is it optimal for the geared compartment & your application?
  • Additive chemistry — is the oil appropriate based on its unique chemical makeup?

5. IS YOUR COOLANT DOING ITS JOB?

Today’s heavy-duty engines produce a lot of power from a small package, and cooling systems have to do more with less. Also, customers may be extending drain intervals or recycling to reduce disposal costs.

What we’re looking for—and why:

  • Coolant type — with so many on the market, they all have different chemistries
  • Boil & freeze protection — to monitor fluid’s ability to provide adequate protection
  • Condition — to test health for pH, conductivity, nitrite, solids, odor, color & appearance
  • Contamination — has anything harmful entered?

LISTEN TO YOUR FLUIDS

Already sending in samples? View your SOS Services results at SOS Web Services, My.Cat.com or VisionLink. If you want to start getting the best operating data from your fluids, check out our Fabick Cat SOS Fluid Analysis page today!