Oil analysis helps reveal problems

October 4, 2011 12:00 AM

Most drivers know that keeping up with oil changes is important to the overall health of their vehicle. However, few realize how much oil can really tell about a car.

Fox Business recently recommended that buyers in the market for a used car pay an auto maintenance expert to run an oil analysis. This process checks the oil to see if any problems are arising with the vehicle. Oil is often referred to as the "lifeblood" of an automobile, and in many ways this is like a blood test - and just as useful in diagnosing issues.

If a fluid is leaking in your car, for example, it will likely mix with the oil at some point. Analyzing the oil will be able to reveal if there is an issue with leaking, such as coolant or fuel. It can also detect problems with the air or oil filters.

Perhaps most usefully, the analysis will be able to detect small metal flakes from the engine. Over time, engines begin to deteriorate, and this can be seen in the small metallic pieces that will show up in the oil. This can help a driver estimate just how much longer an engine has left.

Drivers buying a used car should also pay a certified mechanic to check out every aspect of their vehicle. Often, a buyer can negotiate the cost of any associated car repairs into the purchase price of the vehicle.

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