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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's a Crude World

With the summer travel season approaching, many people are keeping track of how much a barrel of oil costs.  Having just paid $4.25 for a gallon of premium, worry is definitely settling in about how much fuel will cost after Memorial Day.  However, crude oil prices don't just affect fuel costs but also the life blood of our cars' engines, motor oil.

Being a good auto enthusiast, I run full synthetic and change it every 5000 miles which means I'm due for my tenth change very soon.  Over the years, I've heard a lot of debate about this.  Some still change at 3000 mile intervals, as was taught for ages.  Others, like myself, follow their car's manual.  Better still, the new breed of car can tell the owner when to change their oil based on algorithms that take into account temperature and rpm amongst other things.

A company called Lubricheck is looking to change all this guesswork and maybe put an end to all the heated debates.  It's as simple as checking your oil which you should be doing anyways.  I'll let them tell you how it works.

If they can get this to market for $30 as they say, it would pay for itself in a very short time period.  Using my car as an example (2008 Mazdaspeed 3), it would only take about 2500 miles of extra oil life to cover the cost of the Lubricheck device.  Here's how it breaks down:

6 Quarts Oil: $50
Oil Filter: $10
 $60 per oil change

5000 miles / $60 = 83.33miles/dollar

$30 Lubricheck device * (83.33 miles/dollar) = 2500 miles

That extra 2500 miles is definitely achievable over the life of a car.  For instance, I just attended the wedding of FPH's very own Kyle Swift.(Congrats!)  That trip to Philly in addition to day trips to Cape Cod and New Hampshire covered about 900 miles with air temperature ranging between 50 and 70 degrees.  The interstates had the tachometer between 2500 and 3000 rpm in top gear.  This is hardly straining the motor.

The only problem that might arise would be the ability to reuse the device.  How can the old oil be cleaned off to allow for a proper reading of the next sample?  If a new test strip needs to be inserted like a blood glucose meter, how much would these strips cost?  If these questions can be solved with a cost effective solution, Lubricheck will definitely have a winner on its hands.

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