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Submitted by: Leander Boshoff

Locomotive owners that want to keep their fleet performing optimally should take routine oil samples at least once a month.

What is oil sample analysis?

Oil sample analysis is a routine maintenance activity that involves taking a sample of the lubricating oil from a piece of equipment like an engine or compressor and sending it away to a laboratory for analysis. The laboratory will then analyze the oil sample comparing it to the original oil specifications to establish whether there are any foreign substances present in the oil and whether or not any degradation has taken place within the oil.

Why performing an oil sample analysis is important?

It goes without saying that any locomotive owner will want to know the condition of the engine on their locomotive at all times. Would it not be good if the owner of the locomotive could know that an engine is about to fail before it actually fails or to know that the engine oil is no longer good and needs to be changed as it no longer provides adequate lubrication? This is exactly what oil sample analysis is for, to show the equipment owner if the oil inside the equipment is still lubricating optimally and what the condition of the piece of equipment is by the condition of the oil. If any abnormalities are found within the oil, the owner is notified and immediate action can be taken to correct the cause of the abnormality or to act pro-actively to prevent a failure from occurring.

The following are some of the parameters that oil sample analysis looks for in the oil sample:

  • Does the oil from the sample still match the original specifications of the oil type used?
  • Is the viscosity still up to specification or has the viscosity changed?
  • Is the correct oil used for the type of equipment?
  • Has any of the original beneficial additives in the oil been depleted or are they still present?
  • Is there any contamination in the oil?
  • Are there any signs of wear in the form of debris particles present in the oil (for example bearing material etc.)?

Service offering by Traxtion

Traxtion’s maintenance customers benefit from our oil sample analysis service delivered through trusted 3rd party service providers. In addition, Traxtion provides a coolant analysis service to assess the coolant inside the locomotive cooling system, to establish whether the fluid inside the system is still within specification – another equally important requirement for optimal performance and reliability.

For any assistance with regards to your oil sample analysis, please contact Leander Boshoff at