by Charles Navarro
For those of you unable to attend the most recent PCA Fall Tech Session held at Midwest Performance, we discussed the benefits of used oil analysis. For those unfamiliar with the process, elemental analysis indicates component wear levels in your oil as well as oil health.
There are many labs that can test your oil. However the testing methods used do vary, as does cost. Just to give an example, Blackstone provides a budget-friendly test using the ICP method which can see particles from 0 to 5 micron. For those looking for a more accurate analysis, SPEEDiagnostix’s RDE method can see particles from 0 to 10 microns. SDX’s test does cost more, but they also carry out a GC test for fuel dilution and a FTIR oxidation test, both of which are not included with Blackstone service. They also look at oil viscosity and for the presence of coolant in the oil.
Ideally one would have their oil tested starting from the first oil change when the engine was new or freshly rebuilt. This baseline will determine the maximum wear levels you should ever see in the used oil analysis for your engine. Subsequent oil changes should see a gradual reduction in wear levels until they normalize. When and if you see wear levels start trending upwards, then you know you have a problem. If you don’t have this trend data, having someone familiar with Porsche engines specifically is beneficial as they will know what is normal and what is not in the results. It is especially important for those who track their cars to test their oil at every oil change, but any Porsche owner can benefit from the information provided by used oil analysis. Increased wear levels above the baseline for your engine or what is considered normal will often show up in the used oil analysis results before any actual symptoms are present.
Besides showing you wear levels, used oil analysis provides info on how well the engine oil is holding up and if the oil change interval is correct for how you are driving your Porsche, which are all great things to know.
If you would like to learn more about oil and used oil analysis, I recommend checking out the LN Engineering website at https://lnengineering.com/products/speediagnostix-used-oil-analysis.html for material on these and other topics.
Charles Navarro is the President and Co-Founder of LN Engineering, which specializes in the design and manufacture of aftermarket parts and provides services for the rebuild of Porsche engines. Please see https://www.LNengineering.com.