Most of us maintain our vehicles either by the manufacturer's recommended service intervals or some arcane calendar handed down from generation to generation. Either way, changing a vehicle's oil is usually done on either a time or mileage basis, not the actual level of oil degradation inside the engine. A new startup project is looking to change that for the consumer with a device called the Lubricheck. Simply plop a few drops of oil onto the device's sensor, and it can automatically detect contaminates like metal and antifreeze as well as the acidity of the oil to determine the lubricant's serviceability.
The device even has settings for traditional and synthetic oils, so all of your bases are covered. Devices like these already exist in the market, but they cost a pretty penny and are typically relegated to the dark recesses of high-end mechanics' toolboxes. The individuals behind Lubricheck estimate that in some applications, oil could last as long as 10,000 miles before seeing significant breakdown. If true, the device could help seriously curtail our nation's engine oil intake.
Hit the jump to take a look at the introduction video for yourself. If you like what you see, the project is currently seeking backers.