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The three main functions of diesel fuel in current fuel systems is to provide energy from the combustion process, remove heat from the fuel system components, and provide lubrication to plungers, barrels and injectors. It is of tremendous importance to purchase fuel that is produced to and maintained at a quality level required for the engine to operate properly.

The tests provided by S·O·S Services Fuel Analysis identify the characteristics of the diesel fuel that may contribute to common fuel system problems:


Fuel Condition evaluates the quality of fuel against the regulatory and Caterpillar specifications.It verifies the diesel you’re purchasing and protects engines against poor quality fuel.

Tests include cetane number which affects an engine’s ability to start and an engine’s smooth running and performance. Colour rating monitors oxidation levels which cause darkening and leads to deposit formation.

High Sulfur can cause corrosion, increase exhaust emissions and interfere with after treatment devices such as the Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF).


In the quest to deliver more horsepower, better fuel economy and fewer emissions Fuel systems can exceed pressures of 30,000 psi and have tolerances smaller than five microns between parts. This makes fuel systems more vulnerable to wear and abrasion.

Particles can erode Injector Nozzles, wear Injector Plungers and Barrels and damage valves that control fuel pressures. ISO particle ratings by laser provides a reliable internationally accepted measurement to indicate increase in wear or the presence of contaminants.

We look for excessive water in fuel which can cause fuel filter plugging, hard starting, corrosive wear and low power.

Testing can identify Bacteria and Fungus which can live in the water and feed on the fuel. The presence of these microbes can result in filter plugging, corrosive or abrasive wear, and low power.


All the results are collated and interpreted by experts to give an assessment on the quality and operating conditions. We highlight any concerning findings and offer suggestions for improvement. Following are a few examples our testing program can identify:

  • Contaminants can originate from supply chains via poor storage tank practises or lack of adequate engine filtration systems.
  • Water contamination can be introduced into the fuel during shipment or as the result of condensation during storage.
  • Metal particles can flake off corroding tank surfaces or malfunctioning fuel system components such injector plungers or fuel pumps.
  • Older fuel stocks may contain high sulphurous fuels and form excessive deposits over time.

Your results are freely accessible over the internet and we are also contactable by phone to discuss any reports. Please refer to our Information Sheet which outlines our full testing program.

S-O-S℠ Fluid Analysis

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