If You Woke Up to a Sandy Car Today, Then Your Oil Might Need a Check

Today, many in the UK woke up to an unusual sight: cars, windows, and even garden furniture covered in a fine layer of Saharan dust. This phenomenon occurs due to the long-distance travel of sand particles carried by high-altitude winds from the Saharan Desert across thousands of miles. As these winds reach the UK, they deposit the desert’s fine particulate matter across the landscape.

My car didn’t look quite as bad as above, but for our readers in the very sandy parts of the world or even coastal regions sand ingress is the predominant wear cause. When I see a car enveloped in this dusty layer, my first thought goes beyond mere aesthetics. I think, “That could be in my oil if my air filters are not functioning properly.” That’s right; the same dust that settles on your car could very well be compromising the integrity of the oil in your vehicle or machinery.

The Hidden Enemies: External Contaminants

You might be surprised to learn that the main problem afflicting most lubricated systems isn’t necessarily the age or quality of the oil itself, but rather external contaminants. Dirt, water, and sand are among the most common culprits. These particles can infiltrate your oil and cause an array of issues, from abrasive wear to chemical changes, ultimately reducing the efficiency and lifespan of your machinery.

This is not just a problem of a freak weather occurrence, but sand, dirt and water are all around us. Even the most unexpected places. Take a look behind your TV when you get home tonight, it will show you how much can settle of these particles in a relatively clean indoor environment. If you work in construction or mining or your machines operate outside the problem can be 10 or 100 fold worse.

The Only Way to Know: Oil Analysis

If you see a machine covered in dirt, or notice water pooling on its surface, these are red flags that your oil or fuel may be contaminated. There’s only one definitive way to find out: oil analysis. By examining an oil sample, you can determine the level of contaminants and decide on the necessary corrective actions.

The image below is a from a sample of compressor oil (obviously exposed to a lot of air) that was sampled yesterday routinely and arrived by courier at 8am this morning. Conveniently one of the lab staff came over to show me this sample in time for me writing this article. The below represents just 1ml of sample by LubeWear vision analysis. Its still in the lab now, but I have just telephoned the customer to say there is a lot of sand in the oil.

Take Action Today

So, as you head out to give your car or other machinery a much-needed clean after the Saharan sandstorm, take a moment to think about what’s happening on the inside. Don’t just clean the exterior; consider the cleanliness of the internal parts of your machinery as well. The next step? Get an oil sample today. It’s the surest way to keep your systems running smoothly and efficiently.

Remember, cleanliness is not just about appearances; it’s about operational excellence. Keep the insides as clean as the outsides, and you’ll be on the road to optimum performance. To find out more about oil analysis contact the lab by clicking the contact us button below.