Before you begin you should have a good idea—or at least a plausible theory— about the nature of the problem. The diagnostic techniques described in Chap. 4 indicate whether or not major work is in order and, when supplemented by oil analysis, will suggest which class of parts—rings, gears, soft metal bearings, and so on—are wearing rapidly.
Test/analysis data, combined with a detailed operating history, should fairly well pinpoint the failure site (cylinder bore, crankshaft bearings, accessory drive, and the like). But analysis should not stop with merely verbal formulations. For example, it is hardly meaningful to say that a bearing or a piston ring set has “worn out” or “overheated.” One should try to identify what associated failure or special operating condition selected those parts to fail. City-bus wheel bearings are a good example of the selection process; experience shows that the right front bearings tend to fail more often than those on the left. Traces of red oxide in the lubricant suggest that failure comes about because of moisture contamination, (i.e., water splash), which is more likely to occur on the curb side of the vehicle.
Once the mechanic understands the failure mechanism, it might be possible to correct matters by performing more frequent maintenance, upgrading parts quality, or modifying operating conditions.