LemonAide for a Used Engine
So you're ready to buy a used car (or truck, airplane, motorcycle, boat, ATV, jet ski ... you get the idea), and you're trying to find out everything you can before you buy it. LemonAide Oil Analysis is a kit that contains everything you need to do an oil analysis on the engine, and help you determine if this is the used vehicle you want to buy.
What is oil analysis?
Oil analysis can help you "see inside" the engine to determine what condition it's in. Oil analysis is like a blood test. When you have your blood tested, they can tell you if any problems are occurring in your body. Similarly, when we test the used oil, we can tell you what wear metals and contaminants are present, as well as the overall condition of the engine.
What does the analysis look for?
An analysis will tell you about the wear metals the engine is producing and compare them to average for that type of engine. We'll tell you if any contaminants, like antifreeze, fuel, or moisture, are present. You'll find out the viscosity of the oil (15W/40, etc.). And we'll tell you if it looks like the air and oil filters are working as they should be. Note that any problem that is not associated with the oil won't be visible with oil analysis. For example, the alternator is electrical. If it's going bad, we won't be able to see it.
What if the oil was just changed?
Oil analysis can best find problems in oil that has been in use for 1000 miles or more. If the owner of the vehicle has just changed the oil, the engine may look like it's in good condition, even if problems exist. Major issues (like antifreeze) may still show up, but a more insidious problem like a part that's slowly going bad may not show up.
What does LemonAide include?
The package will include instructions, a reusable pump, tubing for taking the sample, a sample bottle (or two, if you also want to do more than one test), and a postage-paid return mailer and envelope.
How do I get results?
When you send your sample in, we will run it ASAP — usually that same day we receive it. Include an email address or fax, and we'll get the results to you the same day we do the analysis. Or we can put a copy of the results in the mail for you.
What if the results are inconclusive?
If the oil has been in place for a few thousand miles, oil analysis should be able to tell you the general condition of the engine and if any major problems exist with the parts that share the oil. But there are no guarantees with oil analysis. If the owner has just changed the oil, we may not find much at all. It's best to take the sample when the oil has at least several hundred miles on it. 1000 miles or more is better.
How does the process work?
You take a sample, either from the engine, the transmission, or both. You send us the sample. We email or fax the results to you the same day we do the test. Based on what we find in the oil, we should be able to tell you if the engine or transmission has any major problems — before you buy it.
How is LemonAide different from just ordering a kit?
LemonAide is meant for people who are unfamiliar with oil analysis. It contains a kit and a pump, as well as a prepaid, Express Mail envelope to return the sample to us, and you pay for it all at once. If you're not in a big hurry and you do your own oil changes, then you can accomplish the same thing by just ordering a kit from our website and taking the sample when you change your oil. You'll pay $28.00 when you send in your sample, and pay for postage separately to send it back to us. Because this program works with the US Postal System, we cannot take international Lemonaide orders. If you live outside the US and would like to order a pump and sample kits separately, please feel free to do so.
One option you can choose is to have us Express Mail the package to you (1- to 2-day delivery). If you don't choose this option, we will put Priority Mail postage on it to get it to you (usually 2- to 3-day delivery). Please note that our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8 am to 5 pm EST. If you order a LemonAide kit over the weekend (say, on a Friday night) and choose the option to have us Express Mail the kit to you, it will go out with Monday's mail.
Express Mail is the US Postal Service's fastest service. They guarantee next-day for most locations, and second-day delivery to the rest. We are using USPS to keep the LemonAide cost down!