How to Interpret an Oil Analysis Report

Interpreting an Oil Analysis Report

Oil analysis reports contain a vast array of information about your equipment and lubricant condition.  Understanding how the oil tests are performed and what the test data means will allow you to get the most out of your Oil Analysis Program.

The oil analysis report is a vital tool for a smooth running operation. Going deeper than the report summaries and knowing how to analyze the oil analysis report can help prevent equipment breakdown and unnecessary equipment teardowns.

When all else fails, read the instructions. This is the well established rule of last resort; whether we are putting together a child’s toy or trying to operate the latest electronic device. The oil analysis reports are the instructions for smooth running equipment.

Instruction manuals written today are reduced to five quick start steps with big pictures. Oil analysis reports begin with problem summaries and red-letter critical alerts. An oil analysis interpreter immediately glances at the top right hand box for lubricant and machine condition on oil analysis reports. Then oil analysis report readers grab what they can from the graphs of individual elemental tests.

The oil analysis report, however, has much more to say than a quick scan of the condition of machine and lubricant status. Reading an oil analysis report can be daunting and dull unless you know what you are reading. You must analyze the oil analysis report, know your equipment and correctly interpret the results.

Here are some checkpoints to cover when you are reading an oil analysis report.

Read the Name
When you open your reports, make sure they are just that, your reports.  Mistakes can be made; be certain the oil analysis report has your name, the company name, the Unit ID, the manufacturer, the model, and the unit type or component. Look for the lubricant manufacture and type, viscosity grade of the oil in the unit, note the time the unit was serviced, and if the oil was changed or makeup oil added.

Now that you know that the analysis reports belong to you, it is time to know what is circulating around your unit.

Read the Oil Analysis
You should be able to see a quick summary of the condition of your oil with a cursory glance at your oil analysis report. You should be able to identify the problem area in your unit, gauge the criticality of the problem and have a suggested course of action from the summary information provided in your oil analysis report.

Take a closer look at your oil analysis report. Understand that the lab analyst is looking at hundreds of samples every day and might misinterpret some details of your unit and its particulars. Knowing how to read your oil analysis report and knowing your machine will eliminate confusing results.

About TestOil   

With more than 30 years of experience in the oil analysis industry, TestOil focuses exclusively on assisting industrial facilities with reducing maintenance costs and avoiding unexpected downtime through oil analysis program implementation. As industry experts in diagnosing oil-related issues in equipment such as turbines, hydraulics, gearboxes, pumps, compressors and diesel generators, TestOil provides customers with a guarantee of same-day turnaround on all routine testing. With in-house certified training professionals, TestOil offers lubrication and oil analysis training, private onsite training, certification training and exams, and educational webinars. For more information on partnering with TestOil on oil analysis programs or training opportunities visit   Contact us: 216-251-2510;

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