Blackstone Labs vs. Oil Analyzers Inc. (Amsoil)

Joined
Feb 23, 2019
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1
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Buffalo, NY
Hello all, Discovered this site when doing some reasearch looking for UOA options. I came across a thread asking about the two and it was suggested to give both a try and compare them side by side to help make a decision, but I couldn't find somewhere that had actually been done so I gave it a shot. I know that UOA is not the end all of engine health, but rather another card to have in your hand to paint a better picture as you do maintenance and checks. I apologize if some of this post is a little redundant or scatter brained, I found that I was remembering additional info that I wanted to include several times as I was typing and went back to add it. Both of these samples were obtained the last oil change I did on my 2011 Silverado 1500 LC9. I caught the oil from the drain stream after letting it drain for 15-20 seconds. I also called each company to ask some questions about the results to try and paint a better overall picture of each company. A little background on the use of my vehicle. I average approx. 4,500mi/yr, during the week it's main use is driving me to and from work, 1.5 mi each way. During the winter months it gets very cold up here in Buffalo and I use the remote starter to warm it up for 15-25 minutes, which is actually longer than it takes me to drive to work. There are some times where it's not driven on the weekend, I know it's less than ideal operating conditions, one of the reasons I wanted to start doing UOA to keep a little closer eye on it. I'm just trying to frame the conditions that the engine operates in so each companies reaction can be considered. I did not inform either of them of the conditions when I sent in the samples, I kind of wanted to see if they would be able to figure it out on their own. Both companies showed similar ppm of all tests across the board, neither state the margin of error for any of the tests, but I'm willing to bet that the differences were within the margin. They both deduced different aspects of the conditions. Blackstone got the idling, and OAI got the sample being obtained cold(the only time I can work outside is when the baby is napping, and the monitor don't got the range to cruise around the block, again less than ideal, but it is what it is) Oil Analyzers was the only one to pick up fuel in the sample. I had read that others have had issue with Blackstone's method of detection for fuel being inaccurate/low. So I figured I'd mention it, even though it wasn't a warning level, and is even further explained by the sample being taken cold. They also we're the only ones to pick up moisture in the oil, but they deduced that this was from the sample being obtained cold. I like that OAI includes the base number with their standard test barrage, where Blackstone costs an extra $10 I believe, I did not pay for it extra from Blackstone. I'm not trying to extend my OCI, I just want to get a better picture about the overall health of the engine. I called each company and asked about the high values of iron, as well as explaining some of the conditions that the engine operates under and asking if that would explain the values. Both companies were helpful, agreed that at the moment there's no red flags that jump out at them. And recommend continued monitoring in order to establish trend values to paint a better picture. Both companies were very easy and quick to get ahold of a lab tech. I know that a lot depends on the individual person that you just happen to be connected with in this area. But there's not much else for us as customers than to base our opinion on than our experience, so I figured I'd include my experience. It is not my intention to throw anyone under the bus. I did feel better after talking with the tech from OAI. The answers were much less vague/ambiguous, and seemed to have a more confident knowledge about their tests, how each test was done, and explaining what it means. I also asked about the comments being auto generated, because I had read that was an issue with OAI. He said that the computer comes up with the reactions to the values, but that the tech that generates your report chooses the order of them and the emphasis, and can edit them based on your particular engine and past tests. While I know that there will still be naysayers, I was happy with that explanation, and don't think that it's a negative against them. I also like the Mobile app that OAI has. I received the test results from both in an email. But it's nice to have the app to consolidate and organize everything. Especially if you decide to have multiple vehicles you want to keep track of. I told myself that I didn't want this to be a factor in choosing one or the other, the test itself is the important part, and the knowledge of the techs behind the company. Not the convenience of the presentation. Would love to hear everyone's thoughts and their experiences with these companies, or others that I haven't heard of, and hear why they prefer or choose the one that they use. This post ended up being much bigger than I initially intended, especially for my first post lol. So sorry if I posted in the wrong area or formatted it wrong, just wanted to share my (Limited) experience. Thank you for the read!
 

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Joined
Dec 24, 2011
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North Carolina
Originally Posted by millerbl00
Stop driving 1.5 miles to work and walk. That and 20 min of idle is hurting you big time
In Buffalo, in the winter. It's a car, made to serve him. Not the other way around. OP, I'd keep doing annual changes with a quality synthetic. If this is your first analysis, you really don't have anything to go on.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2010
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pa
cheap oil analysis is just that! for sure short trips without longer runs also is severe service + requires more frequent changes. you could use cheaper super-tech full synthetic with short intervals or at least shop for "deals". change at least after winter then just before it gets real cold, oil is cheaper than vehicles
 

Bud

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Jun 4, 2002
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Texas
Originally Posted by millerbl00
Stop driving 1.5 miles to work and walk. That and 20 min of idle is hurting you big time
Good luck with that in the dead of winter. LOL
 
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Apr 6, 2015
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2.5% fuel dilution.......You don't have any worries with that number. Keep doing what you are doing. You need to start caring at 4% First off, the test was done by Polaris Labs, so the fuel dilution CAN be trusted as being somewhat accurate. With one large coveate, that they actually ran the test. You MUST call for a " report clarification " every time to make sure they ran the advanced test. Not the quicky one they do most of the time, that is basically worthless. 1.317.808.3750 Have your test in hand so you can give them the Lab# .
 
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Joined
Aug 15, 2006
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Central Washington
Thank you for doing this, yes that polaris number is by GC so its a "real" number. This just illustrates how much of a guesstimate Blackstone number is. Its pretty much worthless and for the cost its unacceptable. Thats why I always just use OAI, have for the past few years. I will say 2.5% isnt anything to worry about, considering your usage profile. and the TBN is pretty good considering. Change it and carry on.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2016
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MD
Thanks for posting. Have seen at least 3 or 4 people that sent the same oil to both Blackstone and Oil Analyzers/Polaris, to compare the two. I've done this too. Blackstone always looks really bad when comparing the two, because most who have done this were concerned with fuel dilution. Result is always that Blackstone gets fuel dilutuon way wrong because they don't measure it. Have seen numerous cases where Blackstone said trace (TR) or <0.5 fuel, when the real measurement from Polaris showed over 5% fuel in the very same oil.
 
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Thank you for your contribution to BITOG. Its great to be able to compare. Yes, it looks like polaris hit it on the head with the fuel and honestly that is what the fuel should be, as you know, oil samples are supposed to be taken with the oil at full operating temperature.
 
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KC
I know you didn't mention it but I use my local CAT dealer for my UOAs. They do everything but flash point (including TBN, TAN, Nitration, Sulfation, Oxidation) for $15.
 
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ON, Canada eh?
Polaris isn't bad but Test Oil in Ohio is the best I've found so far. Highly calibrated and they are using the latest latest technology. My samples to Dyson Analysis go through this lab. \ I sent a UOA to Oil Analyzers, Blackstone and Test Oil in Ohio from the same sample and found Test Oil to be the most accurate especially when the fuel numbers came back. Polaris (Oil Analyzers) was 2nd best and then BlackStone. Blackstones fuel percentage which isn't measured but interpreted was way off.
 
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Joined
Feb 20, 2019
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'Murica
I came here looking for a thread just like this. I mainly just wanted to see how any other report compared to the Blackstone report, since they're the most commonly mentioned. My opinion is that the Blackstone report looks the best if you want to compare to previous oil changes, but I'd rather enter that stuff into a spreadsheet myself if I can save some $$ by doing so. Other than that, the only real benefit provided by Blackstone appears to be the flash point. That's it. Who does the WIX UOAs -- WIX? What's the cheapest UOA that does Base Number, Fuel Dilution, & Flash Point?? I'm interested in each of those things, or at least 1 of those functions per 1 of my vehicles. Speaking of Base Numbers.... Is it even necessary to know your Acid Number if the Base Number is above 1? Should the Base Number always be higher than the Acid Number? How does that work?? (Interested for extended oil changes in infrequently driven truck.)
 
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Joined
Jun 26, 2003
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LA (Lower Alabama)
Originally Posted by Mainia
... make sure they ran the advanced test. Not the quicky one they do most of the time, ....
Is the "quickie" test denoted by "EST" (presumably estimated) and is the "advanced" test denoted by "GC" (gas chromatography)? If not, what is the "advanced" test? TIA.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
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LA (Lower Alabama)
Originally Posted by StevieC
... I sent a UOA to Oil Analyzers, Blackstone and Test Oil in Ohio from the same sample and found Test Oil to be the most accurate especially when the fuel numbers came back. ...
Will you define 'accurate' in your context? How was accuracy determined? Did you have use a control sample with a known concentration?
 
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ON, Canada eh?
Originally Posted by doyall
Originally Posted by StevieC
... I sent a UOA to Oil Analyzers, Blackstone and Test Oil in Ohio from the same sample and found Test Oil to be the most accurate especially when the fuel numbers came back. ...
Will you define 'accurate' in your context? How was accuracy determined? Did you have use a control sample with a known concentration?
I sent VOA's from the same shaken bottle of oil to various labs to test them first. They should have all come back the same / really close. Blackstone was the furthest off. Oil Analyzers and Test oil were virtually the same with some minor variance. I chatted with Terry regarding these results and we went into detail about the different UOA lab equipment and calibration regimes and he agreed with my discovery and he said that is the reason he has all of his samples run through TestOil because of their excellent equipment that is highly accurate and because they take the time to do precise calibrations versus a more standard routine. (I'm paraphrasing here)
 
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