Image Gallery: Car Engines
Image Gallery: Car Engines

Metal shavings from engine parts, foreign debris, and oil that doesn't lubricate properly can all contribute to eating up an engine.

Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

One of the worst pieces of news you can ever receive as a car owner is to hear that your engine is toast -- so worn down that your only options are to replace it or buy a new car.

Metal shavings from engine parts, foreign debris, and oil that doesn't lubricate properly can all contribute to eating up an engine. Replacing one isn't a cheap proposition -- depending on your vehicle, you're looking at a few thousand dollars (at least) for parts and labor. Even if just certain parts of the engine are worn down, like the engine bearings for example, repairs could require big bucks.

Of course you knew that your vehicle engine's oil plays a crucial role in keeping your car, truck or SUV running smoothly. But did you know that the condition of engine oil can actually provide clues to an engine's health -- sort of like a blood test in humans?

It can, and it's actually pretty easy to have an engine oil analysis done for your vehicle. You can even purchase kits that allow you to provide a sample of oil, analyze the results on the spot, or have the results mailed back to you from the lab.

This article will cover a few things about engine oil analysis:

  • What's involved with performing an engine oil analysis
  • Several ways that oil analysis can save you money
  • How oil analysis can keep your four-wheeled (or two-wheeled) chariot on the road longer

Go to the next page to learn what goes into an engine oil analysis kit ... and what you'll get out of using one.