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Q. What's the difference between TBN and TAN in an oil analysis?

March 17, 2014

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A. TBN is total base number and TAN is total acid number. TBN is a measure of the reserve alkalinity or reserve acid neutralization remaining in the oil. TAN measure the increase of oil oxidation and build-up of corrosive acidic compounds. Engine manufacturers often recommend utilizing both tests to gain a more in depth understanding of oil condition and engine oil remaining protection. In utilizing both tests, the TBN will decrease over time and TAN will increase over time. The point where the two numbers meet or cross over can be considered the point where the oil can no longer provided adequate corrosive where protection.

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Mark Betner

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Citgo Lubricants
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