Should new industrial oil be tested before use?

The unequivocal answer is yes—for two reasons: there needs to be 100% certainty that what was ordered is what was delivered;  and most new oil doesn’t arrive clean—an initial analysis will reveal if it is contaminated enough to warrant remediation before use. Despite the obvious importance of this, research shows that only 39% of new industrial oil is tested upon receipt.

TestOil Analytical Services Manager Monika Malcolm advises, “Possible issues that initial testing will catch include incorrect viscosity grade, an incorrect additive package, particulate contamination, water contamination, etc. You don't want to introduce lubricant that cannot do the job that you need it to do or introduce contamination by adding contaminated new oil.”

                TestOil always recommends testing new oil before it is put into use.  The test panel may include: Viscosity, FTIR and Elemental Spectroscopy, water content, particle count, possibly acid number (or base number for engine oil). 

                These initial tests may reveal a number of issues that can be addressed before they have the opportunity to cause real damage. These issues may be an incorrect viscosity grade, an incorrect additive package, particulate contamination, and/or water contamination.

                In fact, not only should new lubricants be tested upon receipt; they should be placed in quarantine until their fitness for service in the specified application can be verified. Possible issues that can arise from use of a contaminated lubricant include inability to separate from water, foaming issues, additive dropout, and accelerated machine wear.

                It’s also worth remembering that if there are any anomalies in new oil that aren’t immediately discovered and addressed, it’s the business that will bear the consequences of subsequent machinery failure.

Monika’s final words of advice? “Incorrectly labeled drums/totes happen way more frequently than you would expect, and so does contamination from tanker trucks that were previously used for different types of oil.” 

For more information on working with TestOil for oil analysis and training visit Contact: 216-251-2510;

                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. TestOil PRO certified lubrication professionals educate the industry on oil analysis through public and private onsite training. These highly experienced professionals provide a variety of onsite services; from collecting oil samples to conducting failure analyses to writing work orders. For more information on partnering with TestOil on oil analysis programs or training opportunities visit Contact: Michael Barrett 216-251-2510;

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