Comp: Blackstone Laboratories
416 East Pettit Avenue
Fort Wayne IN 46806
Praise: This company performs analysis of various petroleum based products (including normal vehicle engine oil) for $22.50 ($2.50 increase recently). Testing kits are free and you do not pre-pay for the test. Just get a kit in the mail and when your ready send it out with payment. Some may have seen my previous post of the analysis of the factory fill of oil from my 06 Pathfinder. There is also a link to a sample report above. Once you have an established base line of at-least 2 "normal" reports I believe this would be an invaluable tool for finding engine related problems before you can perceive them. You don't necessarily have to have the test every oil change but I'm sure once a year would suffice. Quick turn around of samples and you get the reports e-mailed to you in PDF format. I recently sent in a 3700~ mile sample of mobil 1 from my Sentra late on the 13th and by lunch on the 20th I had a complete report. Thats roughly 4.5 business days, 7 calendar including shipping time. Upon completion of the report, prior to it even being e-mailed out I was telephoned by one of their techs to notify me that the oil had elevated levels of potassium and sodium in the oil indicating an internal coolant leak. The levels were higher than normal but low enough that a regular leak down test may not even show the anomoly. I saw no milkiness when changing the oil nor do I see any type of residue anywhere now. My coolant is a nice green color and has no percieved loss so I will be doing one more oil change + analysis while troubleshooting over the next 3k miles.
Postal: QC seems to be iffy on attention to detail. My first round went off without a hitch. I even submitted my initial online request for the free testing kit with a note in the comments field asking for 2 kits as opposed to the normal 1. I was surprise to see someone actually reads that field and I did get 2 testing kits. But then two days after mailing out my Sentra sample I received a mass e-mail stating that prices had gone up by $2.50 effective immediately. Well damn, now I had under paid. Fired off an e-mail politely asking what would happen for people in my situation who had already mailed out the samples with the old payment. A few hours later a new mass e-mail was sent out with the revised statement of "if you already mailed one its ok". Next day I got a direct reply of "we've made a note on your account" regarding the payment.
Last issue was with the report its-self. Because I was interested in extended oil use I purchased a TBN test (analyzes the amount of additives and detergents left in the used oil). The results of the test were Omitted from my first report. Again, off goes a polite e-mail stating I had paid for the TBN and that it was omitted from the report, was this an oversight or is there a problem I need to address? Today recieved a reply stating that it was an oversight on there end and that the revised report with the TBN information would be sent out shortly. Which it was, I received it within an hour.
Conclusion: I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. They are quick and polite on the phone. Actually respond to e-mails and pay attention to details (at-least some of the time
) I'll give them another chance to see if they can get it perfect or else closer to it anyways. And the way it looks, the $20 I spent on the oil test could prove to save me several hundred in unexpected repair bills or at-least the time and aggravation of getting a tow if a head gasket really is on its way out.