Love's Blog

What's Your Total Base Number?

Posted June 13, 2017
oil sample testing at speedco

Ready for an oil change? Or can you push your truck a few thousand miles more? There is a quick and easy way to tell.

It's time to get an oil analysis, or a "Blood Test for Your Truck. This quick, five-minute test can tell you a lot about what's going on under the hood by measuring metals and physical properties of the oil.

One key number measured with an oil analysis is the Total Base Number (TBN).

The TBN measures the oils alkalinity and its effectiveness in the engine combustion process. This number is figured by determining the amount of acid required to neutralize the base reserve in oil. As the amount of acid needed to neutralize the base gets less, it is a sign of the base in the oil is depleted. Low levels of base reserve make it hard for the oil to neutralize the acidic by-products from combustion.

In non-technical terms, this measures the deterioration of your oil. The number reports milligrams of acid needed per gram of oil. The lower the number, the more worn it is. If your TBN reaches three or below, it's a sign your oil is not serviceable and you need to get an oil change.

So what is your TBN? If you don't know, ask for an oil analysis the next time you're at Speedco.

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