Lubricating (Lube) Oil Analysis

Lubricating (Lube) Oil Analysis Service

Our Lubricating (Lube) Oil Analysis service tests your oil for: levels of contamination, system wear and its chemical make-up. These tests (detailed below) are performed in laboratory conditions and the findings, along with any recommendations or required actions, will be detailed to you in a comprehensive report.

The FA-ST Complete (UK) Lube Oil Analysis & Sampling Kit (LUBEKIT1) - featured below - is perfect for use to submit your lube oil samples to us. The kit can be used with engine, transmission, turbine, gearbox and hydraulic oils. It comes with a pre-paid Jiffy bag and return address label, and is inclusive of the oil analysis service.

Please note the pre-paid Jiffy bag and return address label are not included in our International Lube Oil Analysis & Sampling Kit (OMKLUBE).

Lube Analysis Tests Performed

Contamination Testing

Contamination testing is split into a number of different individual test. We will perform:

Particle Counting (ISO)

Particle counting is actually a test for particle contaminant levels and not specifically wear debris. It does not distinguish between wear and dirt particles, but if it can be determined that nonferrous contamination has remained stable, then an increase in the particle count must be attributable to wear. A magnet can be used to modify the particle count to count ferrous debris only. There are various ways of doing this, but essentially a magnet holds back the ferrous debris while the nonferrous debris is flushed from the sample, after which a ferrous debris particle count is performed. Particle counts are invariably reported according to ISO 4406:2017. Other standards do exist, but they are not as commonly used. ISO 4406:2017 returns a three-digit solid contamination code. The method of particle counting is not as important as performing the test properly. It is important to note that only results from the same method should be compared.

ISO 4406:2017 Standard

The ISO 4406:2017/2000 classification of particle contents was introduced to facilitate comparisons in particle counting. Sudden breakdown in an oil system is often caused by large particles (>14 micron) in the oil while slower, progressive faults, e.g. wear and tear, are caused by the smaller particles (4-6 micron).This is one of the explanations why the particle reference sizes were set to 4 micron, 6 micron and 14 micron in ISO 4406:2017/2000.

A typical sample of dirty oil contains in every 1 ml of oil:

  • 45,000 particles >4 micron
  • 12,000 particles >6 micron
  • 1,000 particles >14 micron

The oil sample described above would have a contamination class of 23/21/17 - see Particle Contamination ISO classification table.

Particle Contamination

ISO Classifications

p/ml ISO Code
80,001 - 160,000 24
40,001 - 80,000 23
20,001 - 40,000 22
10,001 - 20,000 21
5,001 - 10,000 20
2,501 - 5,000 19
1,301 - 2,500 18
641 - 1,300 17
321 - 640 16
161 - 320 15
81 - 160 14
41 - 80 13
21 - 40 12
11 - 20 11
5 - 10 10
2.51 - 5 9
1.31 - 2.5 8

Water K.Fischer

The Karl Fischer test measures the exact amount of free and dissolved water molecules contained in the oil sample. The Karl Fisher test is reported in a numerical value.


All flammable liquids have a flashpoint. It is defined as the lowest temperature at which the liquid can form an ignitable mixture in air. The flammable liquid we are referring to in this case is diesel or petrol, i.e. fuel which has contaminated the oil in an engine. We can also test for diesel fuel which has been contaminated with petrol. All flammable liquids have a vapour pressure. The vapour pressure is closely related to the liquid's temperature. So, as the temperature increases, so does the vapour pressure. When the vapour pressure increases, the concentration of evaporated flammable liquid in the air increases. It is therefore clear tha the temperature determines the concentration of evaporated liquid at equilibrium In essence, the flashpoint is the lowest temperature at which enough fuel vapour exists that it will ignite.

System Seals & Combustion Testing

We can also test for Boron, Silicon, Sodium and Soot, to allow you to see the state of the seals and combustion of the machinery the oil was take from.

Chemistry Testing

Testing for Calcium, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Zinc and Manganese to check the level of additives within the oil to make sure that they are in spec.

Also Oil Viscosity tests are carried out, these can be done at 40 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Celsius and it can also be given a Viscosity Index.

Total Acid Number (TAN) and Total Base Number (TBN) can be tested for so you can check on the pH of your oil and make sure that its in spec.

Tests can also be carried out on the Oxidation, Nitration and Sulfation of the oil.

System Wear Testing

A large range of different metals could be present in your oil: Aluminium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Lead, Nickel, Silver, Tin, Vanadium and Titanium can all be tested for and the results from this test will allow you to see if any engine components are wearing.

The Ferrous Wear Index is also used, in a test to indicate the total measure of Iron (regardless of size) in the sample. This technique is used to determine early component wear.

Featured product

Complete (UK) Lube Oil Analysis & Sampling Kit (LUBEKIT1)

Kit contents

60ml PETG sample bottle, sample tubing, equipment ID labels, re-sealable plastic bag and a pre-paid, addressed postal Jiffy bag to return your sample.

All-inclusive oil analysis service

Price is inclusive of the laboratory oil analysis, recommendations and comprehensive report, which will be issued to you in pdf format via e-mail.

Fast Service Turnaround

Turnaround time from receipt of the sample in our laboratory to return of your report and recommendations is 2-4 working days.