Fluid Testing of lubricants and coolants is an economic way to find out what’s going on inside your motorhome engine, transmission, or generator, without disassembly. A comprehensive fluids analysis is offered by RV Inspector Pro, both as an add-on to our standard motorhome/RV inspection and as part of an ongoing program for motorhome/RV owners. These tests apply mostly to motorized units. However, some larger towables are being delivered with generators that can benefit from fluids testing.
It should be noted that fluids analysis is not just for used motorhomes. In fact, a full spectrum of fluids analysis should be run on a brand new motorhome, as a baseline, for future tests. The third-party laboratory that we use keeps a history of each vehicle on which tests are run. This way, they can give a more detailed fluids analysis, for future testing. Having a full spectrum of fluids analysis run, at the time of purchase of a new motorhome, gives the lab an invaluable benchmark to refer back to, during future tests.
Since almost every NRVIA inspector uses the same lab, future tests should be able to be performed by any NRVIA inspector who offers that service, even when you’re away from home.
RV Inspector Pro only draws samples of the fluids for analysis. The samples are sent to a third-party laboratory, for analysis. The lab we use is certified to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standards. The lab sends us a detailed report on the fluid condition, usually within two business days from the time they receive the fluid, and we pass on that report to the client.
For Buyers –
The only ways a buyer has of knowing the condition of a motorhome engine, transmission, or generator, is to either have a mechanic disassemble those devices and visually look for signs of damage or excessive wear or to have fluid samples taken and analyzed. Obviously, taking fluid samples is much faster, easier, and far less costly. In fact, many chemists claim that they can tell more about an engine or transmission, through fluids analysis, than can a mechanic tell, by disassembly.
A fluid analysis looks for trace minerals, chemicals, and metals in the various fluids, which may indicate signs of excessive wear, heat breakdown of the fluid, or show chemical contamination of the fluid. A full-page report, showing parts per million of the various contaminants, is generated and sent to the client. That report also includes a plain English description of what was found, along with recommendations.
Hopefully, these reports will give the prospective buyer a greater sense of security in his purchase. But they may also be used by the buyer to aid in determining if he wants to continue with the purchase or walk away. In some cases, these reports may simply be used as a bargaining tool, to aid the prospective buyer in obtaining a better price. But in any event, purchasers should seriously consider a complete fluids analysis workup, along with the inspection of any motorhome (or towable RV, with a large generator).
For Owners –
A scheduled coolant and lubricant analysis program allows motorhome owners to plan maintenance downtime through “predictive maintenance”. Lubricant and coolant analysis can diagnose problems and determine when attention is needed. Oil and coolant analysis lets you “see” into the equipment and determine the overall health of the unit.
You can either be proactive or reactive. Being proactive means that you know what’s going on inside your motorhome engine or generator and plan your maintenance, before a minor issue becomes a major problem. A scheduled lubricant and coolant analysis program gives you the ability to plan the best downtime for maintenance, instead of discovering a major problem in the middle of your vacation, hundreds of miles from the nearest motorhome/RV service center.
Without the information provided by a scheduled fluids analysis program, you are at the mercy of Murphy, who famously said, “Anything that can go wrong, will.” Of course, RVers know that Murphy was an optimist. The things that go wrong on an RV will most often be the worst thing and it will go wrong at the worst possible time. Would you rather identify a potential problem and have it addressed on a schedule that suits your needs or have the problem show up, without warning, while you are on the road?
The obvious solution is to limit the number of things that can go wrong with your motorhome/RV and a scheduled fluids analysis program goes a long way toward that goal. Call RV Inspector Pro now, at 713-819-6000, to begin a scheduled fluids analysis program on your motorhome.
Even if you’re traveling, any NRVIA Level 2 Inspector across the country can do the same fluids analysis. In fact, you can do it yourself, if you are mechanically inclined and want to purchase the pumps and kits required. We use JG Lubricant Services as our lab. So as long as you or your inspector sends the samples to that lab, the lab will be able to provide specific information about your motorhome, based not only on the provided samples, but on past fluid samples from the same motorhome.
What can a comprehensive fluid analysis program do for you?
Identify minor problems before they become major failuresA coolant and lubricant analysis program allows you to plan maintenance downtime, through “predictive maintenance”. This analysis can diagnose many problems and determine when attention is needed, before you might otherwise even suspect a problem. Lubricant and coolant analysis lets you “see” into the equipment and determine the overall health of the unit.
Knowing the state of your fluids gives you insight into your equipment and gives you maximum flexibility in planning the best downtime, to fit your schedule. It helps you keep your vacation trouble-free. Without oil and coolant analysis, you’re kept in the dark on what’s happening in the various lubricants, coolants, and the equipment in general, which means you end up simply reacting to problems whenever they occur (usually when you’re miles from a motorhome/RV service center), instead of catching problems at an early stage, when you can schedule repairs, before those minor problems become bigger and more expensive to repair.
Extend oil change intervalsA lubricant analysis can determine the remaining useful life of the lubricant or coolant and tell you how the equipment is responding to changes occurring in the oil or coolant, over time. This can lead to being able to safely extend change intervals. On a motorhome that can have as much as a 28 quart sump capacity, fluid changes can be expensive. So being able to safely extend change intervals can save a lot of money. But such savings can only be accomplished through oil and coolant analysis. In short, the information gained from oil and coolant analysis can be used to optimize PM (Preventive Maintenance) schedules.
Extend equipment lifeUsing a coolant and oil analysis program has been shown to extend equipment life by stopping wear before it results in equipment failure. Equipment life is a function of wear rate on the individual components (gears, bearings, bushings, seal rings, etc.) used in the engine, transmission, differential, or cooling system of a motorhome. If oil and coolants deteriorate, or if they have an excessive amount of contaminants, then abrasive or chemical wear can become a real issue. Only oil and coolant analysis allows you to determine oil and coolant condition and the amount of contaminants circulating through the oil and coolant.
Increase resale valueThis is something you may not have thought about. Imagine buying a used motorhome. Then, imagine your relief when the seller offers to show you the complete history of the coolant and oil analysis for the equipment. Wouldn’t you feel better if the seller could show you a clean and wear free history on the coach? Or, imagine you plan to sell your used motorhome down the road; you might want to consider oil and coolant analysis records as part of the selling points. Having a history of oil and coolant analysis, showing a clean and wear free system makes your sale all that much easier, as you reduce the buyer’s overall risk of future problems, because you’ve kept up the maintenance and you have third party oil and coolant analysis data to prove it. It can help to “seal the deal”.
Minimize warranty risks A coolant and oil analysis program reduces warranty risks by keeping wear to a minimum. Warranty typically covers parts and workmanship. This is ultimately based on statistical data and known failure rates, which in turn determine how long the system is designed to run until a percentage of the warranted units fail. With this in mind, it can be said that the best chance of maximizing design failure life is by maintaining wear at a minimum and keeping the system clean through proper filtration and proper change intervals. Oil and coolant analysis allows you to know the amount of contaminants in the system and how much wear is taking place at a given time. Knowing these things and reacting to them, through preventive and predictive maintenance, can greatly reduce overall warranty risk, while maximizing equipment uptime and improving equipment life.
Reduce downtimeHaving coolant and oil analyzers is useful in maintaining your motorhome in the best shape possible. By understanding the state of the oil and the coolant and how the equipment is responding to changes in the oil and/or coolant, you can predict maintenance and plan the best time to take your coach out of service. Oil and coolant analysis helps you to avoid unanticipated failures that can ruin your vacation and take your motorhome out of service for days, waiting on parts to arrive that you didn’t know you would need. You certainly don’t want your motorhome to be in for service, when you’re supposed to be on vacation. Only through oil and coolant analysis can you anticipate maintenance needs and plan the best time for service, so it won’t affect your travel plans.
A complete set of fluid samples would include:
- Engine oil
- Engine coolant
- Transmission fluid
- Generator oil
- Generator coolant (if present)
Let RV Inspector Pro provide a complete set of fluids analysis for your coach or for the coach that is about to become your coach. Call now, to 713-819-6000 or contact us by email, to begin your fluids analysis program.
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