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Water Ingression Test: Get Your Motor Oil Analysis for Free

07.06.2009 · Posted in Home and Garden Articles

You’re about to read an article regarding test 2 of six do it yourself tests that you can run on your oil without the need for any special training or equipment.nnIf you would consider yourself to be one of those people who owns a vehicle which is driven infrequently, is commonly driven on low mileage trips and/or is driven or stored in a humid place or one that often has wide temperature swings, then performing the crackle test would likely be a good idea. This is a simple DIY test which will clearly indicate if condensation is causing water build-up in your oil.nnOf course, it would be reasonable to wonder why you would need to check for water ingression, and the answer, to put it simply, is that, water build-up leads to acid build-up. Acid build-up can cause corrosion, and pitting is caused by corrosion. In case there is any confusion, pitting is BAD, and, even a premium, extended drain synthetic oil like AMSOIL can eventually be overcome with water/acid build-up. So, perform a crackle test to determine whether water is building up in your oil BEFORE acid build-up depletes the acid fighting additives in your oil and corrosion begins.nnHowever, if using the blotter spot test before the crackle test shows that you have fuel in your motor oil, performing the crackle test will likely be of little use, since the fuel in your oil will skew your results. This is the reason that the blotter spot test (business card test) is generally performed BEFORE the crackle test. If you’ve got fuel in your oil, you may already need to change out your oil, and the results of the crackle test will not be clear anyway.nnTo perform the crackle test, you simply place a very small quantity of oil onto a hotplate of some sort and set it to a temperature high enough to boil off any water in the oil. Since most engine oils are not volatile until they gets up over 350 degrees or more (synthetics much higher than that), you could set the plate to a temp anywhere between 250 and 300 degrees F.nnIf you place a small amount of oil on a 300 degree hotplate, the oil should boil quickly. You’ll either hear a crackling sound or you won’t. If the crackling doesn’t begin quickly, chances are that you have no water in your oil.nnAn oil analysis performed by a professional lab tech will be more accurate in that it will tell you if the level of water in the oil is a problem and what the level is, but the DIY test described here is a good, inexpensive way to expose water contamination within your oil.

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