Is a fresh oil analysis worthwhile?

Year of publication: 2003


Soon we will have to renew our turbine oil filling. The costs are considerable. 


Can we assume that the newly delivered fresh oil is really clean?
Is an oil analysis worthwhile before putting it to use?
What do we have to consider before changing the oil?

OELCHECK answers:

In the following cases it is worthwhile to have a fresh oil sample analyzed:

  • In the case of large quantities of oil, which are often delivered by tanker or in containers
  • When new machines or systems are filled for the first time
  • When using expensive oils in high-quality machines or systems


By analyzing you minimize an unnecessary risk, because the following criteria are met:

  • You ensure that the correct product has been delivered.
  • Any contaminations are detected.



New, fresh oil is not always the same as "clean" oil. Foreign particles or moisture, for example, may have crept in during filling, transport or the filling process. Mixing with residues of other oil types may also occur if, for example, the tanker or filling system was not sufficiently flushed before refilling.


The additive package is checked for its identity and thus for its functionality. Modern lubricants contain a complex additive package. Storage and transport (extreme temperature fluctuations) can impair the functionality of this package. Typical signs of this are the appearance of foam or emulsifying behavior of the oil during use.


The oil analysis proves that you have done everything right. You do not risk your machine or system manufacturer's warranty.


And very importantly: The laboratory values of the fresh oil sample can be used for comparisons with later oil samples. This is a valuable aid in evaluating the test results by means of trend analyses.


Taking fresh oil samples correctly

The following basic rules should always be observed when taking fresh oil samples:

  • The sample should be taken after draining approximately 1 liter of "flush" oil from a fill hose or from the tank using the OELCHECK pump. If delivered in a tanker, avoid taking from the first stream of drained oil, use a drip sampler if necessary.
  • Use only dry and clean sample bottles. The sample bottles from OELCHECK are ideally suited. With them you take exactly the right amount and ensure a safe and fast shipment.
  • Take a "representative" oil sample. If the oil is delivered in barrels, move/roll the container. Then remove the oil with the OELCHECK pump from the center of the barrel, if possible.
  • Note the fabrication number (batch number) of the containers or other coded data from the respective delivery.


The most important analysis values

The analysis values of the fresh oil are the basis for all further examinations of the oil during its use. OELCHECK can examine the following parameters, depending on the intended use:

  • Viscosity at 40 and 100 °C, viscosity index
  • Content of additives
  • Mixing with other oil on the basis of trace metals
  • Comparison in FT-IR spectrum
  • Particle counting according to ISO 4406
  • Water content according to the Karl Fischer method
  • Initial values for AN or BN
  • Water separability
  • Air release properties
  • Foam tendency
  • Other parameters on request