Analyze used oil to avoid downtime and repairs

October 31, 2023
Jon Woetzel, lubricants quality assurance manager for CHS, recommends preventive maintenance tips to extend equipment life.

There’s one more task to do once harvest is complete – and it could save time, trouble and dollars next spring.

Besides cleaning, inspecting, greasing and replacing worn parts on farm equipment before storing it for the off-season, consider the benefits of used engine oil analysis. Jon Woetzel, lubricants quality assurance manager for CHS, says a close look at used oil is a critical part of a preventive maintenance plan.

“A good used oil testing program is often overlooked,” says Woetzel, “but it can help you catch equipment issues while they’re still repairable, instead of waiting until major equipment failure.”

Diagnosing Equipment Concerns

Used oil analysis will help determine the condition of an engine, transmission and other components. Woetzel recommends using the Cenex® LubeScan® used oil analysis program as a simple and straightforward way to check the health of farm equipment.

“A used oil analysis is really the only way to look inside equipment without taking it apart,” Woetzel explains. “It’s like visiting your doctor for a routine checkup. How much can your doctor learn about your health just by visual examination? But a blood sample sent to the lab can provide a great deal of insight into your health and detect developing health conditions before they become a major problem.

“Similarly, a LubeScan used oil analysis can detect contaminants in your engine oil, such as antifreeze coolant from a leak or dust from a faulty air intake system — both of which could lead to early engine failure.”

Getting Started with Used Oil Analysis

A good testing program is key to maximizing the life of equipment and avoiding unexpected repair costs. Woetzel says LubeScan used oil analysis kits make it easy for farmers to examine their machinery and are readily available through local Cenex lubricants representatives, Cenex dealers or CHS cooperatives.

“The kits include everything you need to conduct the analysis, including a sample bottle and information form for sending in the sample for lab analysis. Once your sample is collected, just drop it in the mail using the provided package,” Woetzel says.

Once a used oil sample is analyzed, a comprehensive report is emailed directly to the customer. The report will highlight any concerns or developing issues and contain a short diagnostic summary with recommended actions as needed,” says Woetzel.

“I’ve heard from customers who were very thankful they were using LubeScan oil analysis because it alerted them to a developing issue such as high fuel dilution in oil. If these types of problems are not caught and addressed early, the result will be costly downtime and repairs later.”

Tractor driving out of a dimly lit building into sunlight