How to Take an Oil Sample

Oil sample kits can be purchased from the local businesses that supply oil for your vehicles. If you cannot purchase an oil sample kit from one of these stores, you can also order a kit online. Oil sample kits will include the name and address of a laboratory that will analyze the oil sample and provide a report of the findings to your agency.

To obtain the best possible data for interpretation of results, please follow these steps to collect your oil sample:

  • Use a clean, dry sample bottle.
  • Thoroughly warm up the engine before taking the oil sample. The oil should be “hot” and thoroughly circulated through the system.

Collect the sample by following these procedures:

Suction Gun Method

Using a suction gun, draw a sample through the dipstick tube. Use a new piece of tubing for each sample. The length of the tubing should be no longer than the length of the dipstick. Take the sample from the mid-point of the reservoir, not from the bottom. This method is used without changing the oil and is for analysis only.

Drain Method

Clean around the drain plug to remove any dirt. Remove the drain plug and take a sample after about half the oil has drained out, DO NOT take a sample from the drain bucket or from the filters. Leave some air space between the top of the sample bottle and the cap. Sample bottle should be at least 3/4 full. Screw the cap on tightly, but do not over tighten. A completed form must accompany all samples which may include

  • Company Name
  • Unit ID-Number
  • Unit Type
  • Date Sample was taken
  • Miles or Hours on the Oil
  • Miles or Hours on the Vehicle
  • How much oil, if any, was added since last oil change

Send the sample to the laboratory referenced by the kit promptly. Holding samples can allow a minor problem to turn into a major overhaul.