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Is oil analysis a good idea for my engine?

2010 February 1
Dear Boat Doctor
I just put a brand new Yanmar engine in my Baba 40 and I'd like to monitor the condition of the engine via oil analysis. My thought is that I can have the oil analyzed at the end of each season and track any changes. Does this seem like a good idea? Do you know where a boat owner can get oil analyzed?

Robert Fairweather
Detroit, Michigan

Dear Robert,
I think that is great idea and very cheap insurance. Many problems with your engine or installation will show up in an oil analysis way before you have an actual problem. I have my oil analyzed every fall when I change the oil and winterize.

I use Blackstone Labs (www.blackstone-labs.com, 260-744-2380) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The company does a great job and the cost is reasonable. Blackstone will send you a free oil analysis kit (basically an oil bottle and packaging) and charges about $25 for the testing.