2012 - Volume #36, Issue #4, Page #03[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Digital Tester For Engine Oil
The test is simple. Drop several drops of engine oil from the dipstick into the sensor’s cup and then press the test button. A range of green LED lights means the oil is okay, green with amber means it’s fair, and red means it’s time for a change.
Capacitive sensing, similar to using a stud finder, is the science behind Lubricheck, developed by engineers at WaveOn Technologies in Wisconsin. CEO Chad Erickson notes that testing oil is not a new idea. Racecar drivers and diesel truck fleet owners send samples to labs or test their oil with testers that cost $1,000 or more. Lubricheck’s low cost is what makes it new.
Erickson explains that with today’s oils and engines, oil quality often remains good up to 10,000 and even 15,000 miles. How you drive your vehicle and the conditions it’s driven under are what makes the difference.
“If you check oil regularly, the lights will show how the oil quality is going downhill,” Erickson says.
By monitoring the oil regularly, Lubricheck can help prevent engine issues as it senses increased acidity, metal particles, or soot. As an example, Erickson says one of his coworkers regularly checked his van’s oil and was surprised when the quality dropped drastically. Two weeks later white “smoke” was coming out of the van, indicating a failing head gasket had been leaking antifreeze into the oil. Adding stop leak to the radiator resolved the problem.
Likewise a truck fleet owner who used Lubricheck had two trucks with high readings and had them checked out. Antifreeze leaks were caught early and treated inexpensively.
Lubricheck is ideal for truck owners, car rental companies and other large fleet owners. But it’s just as valuable for farmers and consumers who can test all their equipment.
Customers can also sign up for LubriTrack, which records testing data for each vehicle so it’s easier to catch big changes that may indicate engine problems.
“Our free LubriTrack app and online service is designed to warn regular users of impending engine problems by monitoring oil quality trends,” Erickson says. LubriTrack can also send reminder messages when to check oil.
WaveOn Technologies plans to have Lubricheck available for sale on its website by August. Erickson notes that awareness about the device and financial help to bring it to market came through www.kickstarter.com, which allows people to make contributions to fund new products.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lubricheck LLC, P.O. Box 20, Osceola, Wis. 54020.
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