An Oil Check While You Drive?

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Changing the oil in your car every six months or 5,000 miles could be a thing of the past after Australian researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) developed a low cost sensor that can monitor oil quality in engines as they are running.

ECU Electron Science Research Institute Director Kamal Alameh said providing an early indication of the quality of engine oil is crucial for maintaining optimum engine performance, high reliability, low maintenance costs and better environment.

“The sensors developed by ECU are only about two to three millimetres in diameter and are very rugged so they could survive inside an engine to provide real-time monitoring of engine oil quality,” Alameh said. “Engine manufacturers understandably err on the side of caution by recommending oil changes every six months or 5,000 miles because they want to minimise the risk of engine damage. The deployment of this sensor will save millions of litres of oil per year, in addition to protecting the environment through the reduction of waste oil generation.”

Alameh said the application of the sensor was wider than just car engines.

“Any process that involves using oil for lubrication could benefit by including one of the sensors,” he said. “They could be potentially be used to monitor oil pipelines, large industrial machinery or even airplanes.”

This article originally appeared on

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