Fran Christopher has been instrumental in developing a new diagnostic tool that helps consumers save money on engine repairs. She says with inflation hitting people in the pocketbook right now, Zengine is an important new product for everybody.
As the trend of older cars continues, understanding the overall health of the car’s engine with a Zengine diagnostic kit comes at the perfect time. The data collected from Zengine could help folks save money on repairs or sell their car at a premium price if they’ve done a Zengine test.
“We think the Zengine score is going to be as crucial to consumers as the Carfax report,” Christopher says. “Knowing the overall health of your engine is just as important as knowing whether your car has been in an accident before you decide to buy.”
Few understand the benefits of oil analysis better than Christopher. She has worked in the industrial equipment reliability industry for almost 40 years and is even writing a chapter for an upcoming book about women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). She’s going to highlight some of the changes she’s seen and challenges she faced and had to overcome.
“When I started, I was one of the few women involved in testing industrial oils on heavy machinery such as hydraulic systems, gearboxes, compressors, and diesel engines,” she says. “I’ve been doing this my entire career and I’ve seen companies save hundreds of thousands of dollars through failure avoidance using oil analysis.”
When SGS, one of the world’s leading testing and certification companies, decided to develop Zengine and use their lab near Chicago to make this engine diagnostic service available to the masses in the automotive sector, Christopher knew she wanted to be part of it.
In 2021, Zengine was first introduced into the US market but there are plans to take it global. Zengine checks for 30 different data parameters. It looks for contaminants, moisture and debris in the oil. If it finds the presence of things like sodium and potassium, for instance, that’s a telltale sign of a coolant leak.
Zengine can also detect early warning signs for issues such as damaged piston rings and valves, bearing problems and evidence of other worn materials, even before the computer warning on a car or a mechanic often identifies the problem. Christopher says Zengine can also be a valuable tool for mechanics as well to confirm a diagnosis before they have to do an expensive repair running in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Each Zengine kit costs $40, which includes shipping to send the sample back to the lab. Customers register the test online and put in their VIN as each car engine has different wear parameters. There are three different ways to pull a sample all explained in the YouTube videos.
One of the easiest is with a vacuum sealed bottle that’s included in the kit. Clients connect the hoses, drop the hose down the dipstick and turn a little valve on the bottle. Once they send the sample back to the Zengine certified lab, the test is completed within two to five business days. Customers receive a notification and log on to see easy to read color-coded results.
They get what is known as a Zengine score. The goal is to get a perfect 10 green score, which means there’s Zengine Nirvana and nothing abnormal with the engine oil sample. Anything below 10 and the consumer will be told some of the things they might want to do to fix the problem including seeing a licensed mechanic if it’s a severe issue. If they get a low score that is in the red, they know there are big issues that need to be addressed right away.