Basu, A., Berndorfer, A., Buelna, C., Campbell, J. et al., "“Smart sensing” of Oil Degradation and Oil Level Measurements in Gasoline Engines," SAE Technical Paper 2000-01-1366, 2000, doi:10.4271/2000-01-1366.
Proper lubrication of moving parts is a critical factor in internal combustion engine performance and longevity. Determination of ideal lubricant change intervals is a prerequisite to ensuring maximum engine efficiency and useful life. When oil change intervals are pushed too far, increased engine wear and even engine damage can result. On the other hand, premature oil changes are inconvenient, add to vehicle maintenance cost, and result in wasted natural resources. In order to determine the appropriate oil change interval, we have developed an oil condition sensor that measures the electrical properties of engine oil, and correlates these electrical properties to the physical and chemical properties of oil. This paper provides a brief background discussion of the oil degradation process, followed by a description of the sensor operational principles and the correlation of the sensor output with physical and chemical engine oil properties.