Engine diagnostics just took a step ahead with the arrival of the Shell LubeVideoCheck digital inspection service. It’s been available to Shell lube customers in the U.S. and elsewhere for a couple of years, but there’s now a system making the rounds in Canada. It’s busy, by all accounts, and Shell says there’s nothing else like it.

It uses a fiber-optic digital camera or videoscope to transmit video images of key engine components, including the cylinder head, valves, cylinder walls, and piston crown, without dismantling the entire engine. This non-invasive technology is similar to what surgeons use to assess a patient’s health – and even to do some operations.

Otherwise, the only option for diagnosing engine trouble is to rely on techniques such as oil analysis, costly engine tear down, or just plain driver intuition. Shell calls it “the ultimate tool for preventive maintenance.”

The video service can help to avoid unnecessary engine tear-downs, reduce risk of contamination or misassembly associated with tear-downs, and increase efficiencies in maintenance scheduling. Shell also suggests it can enhance a truck’s resale value by producing up-to-date, detailed reports, and it can certainly provide the right information to increase drain intervals safely. It might even allow you to identify potential problems before warranties expire.

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