A garage survey shows most engine failures come from poor engine maintenance attributed to dirty engine oil. When you consider that an engine replacement is very expensive, it stands to reason that there must be a better way of monitoring the engine oil. Regular oil change is not enough because engines are still failing. We should understand what exactly is happening to the oil while it is inside the engine. Most engine oil lubricants come from mineral based oil after being refined from crude oil. Using chemical oil additives, this based oil is enhanced so it can have the following qualities needed for good lubrication:
Provide film of liquid between rubbing surfaces which produce friction resulting in heat that could wear the parts. Without out, rubbing metals will heat and break up.
Minimize sulfur oxides which is a by product of gasoline that when mix with oxygen or moisture can become rust or corrosion which later could block movements of moving parts.
Oil takes away heat from the combustion chamber in addition to the coolant water jackets. When oil is sprayed under the pistons, the heated oil is re-circulated until it is cooled again and the cycle is repeated.
All of the above functions are possible once chemical oil additives are combined with mineral based oil. This practice has been in place until another form of oil was discovered during WWII called synthetic oil. Unlike mineral based oil which comes from oil wells, synthetic oil is mam made and has chemical molecules that are more tolerant with friction. When mixed with the oil additives, it gives better coating to engine metal surfaces. Research shows that synthetic oil surpasses mineral based oil in these categories:
Wide fluctuation in engine oil temperatures Decrease acidity in engine oil Faster cleaning and removal of carbon particles and solutions harmful to the engine components
And best of all, the additives used in synthetic oil does not break down easily so that it is not necessary to have another oil change for a longer period of time. The only drawback of the process is the cost of production which is expensive compared to mineral based oil. To offset this cost, some oil companies are producing semi-synthetic oil which is also mineral based but mixed it with 30% synthetic oil.
For engine protection, the engine oil additive must remain or the oil itself is useless. When the additive has deteriorated, the oil becomes black and dirty. If this is allowed to continue; oil contaminants like sludge will damage the engine.
Tip: It is very common that before an old abused engine starts knocking, carbon particles will score the sides of combustion cylinder wall by dirty pistons and rings. If the engine oil did its job of scraping these particles, the scoring could have been avoided.
Here is the rule of the thumb in selecting your engine oil:
1.) Follow your engine manufacturer recommendations.
If the manual says you need A SAE 10W-30 oil, W stands for winter and 10 stands for oil temperature in which oil can be started in cold weather. 30 is the viscosity index which only shows the oil thickness at operating temperature so that the hotter the weather, the higher viscosity index is desirable. It makes sense that if you live in colder places that you will need SAE 5W-20 oil.
2.) If you start to build sludge inside your engine
Make your regular oil change interval more frequent. If possible, switch to synthetic oil if you start to see sludge build up. Synthetic oil can hasten the removal of sludge if applied correctly. The usual practice is to have 2 quick oil changes so all traces of sludge and dirt can be removed. You might spend $50 per oil change but if you compare it to the cost of the new engine, you are still way ahead. Once all traces of sludge are removed, you can wait another 6 months or so before doing another one. Just check the oil once a month to make sure the oil color has not changed.
Mr. Richard Trent is a heavy duty mechanic since 1980 and a regular contributor of automotive articles. Save $200-$300 by servicing your own mass sensor from his car maintenance video at: http://www.automotivetroubleshootingsecrets.com/car maintenance.htm Or visit: http://www.automotivetroubleshootingsecrets.com/car maintenance.htm>Save $200-$300 by servicing your mass sensor
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Mechanic's favourite tip to prolong your car engine life
by RICHARD TRENT
To remove carbon particles created by extreme high temperature and pressure as a result of combustion. The oil makes these particles in suspension state which could be then collected at the oil filters.