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The Importance Of Engine Oil

We all know that our car’s need engine oil but did you realise that using the wrong oil can lead to reduced lubrication and shorter engine life. Were you aware just how many different oils there are and the importance to match the correct oil to your car engine particularly with modern-day cars.

In recent years some manufacturers have designed their engines where the timing belt actually runs in oil! How is this possible when oil can interfere with the timing belt causing it to slip and slide or contaminate you may ask? It’s all down to the material used to make the belt and the support of specially designed oil to keep it working properly. Look out for a further blog on this in the future!

So, engine oil provides lubrication to all the moving metal parts, ensuring they don’t grind together and cause unnecessary wear or too much heat. Oil also holds all of the nasty by-products of combustion. In between services keeping your oil level topped up will save you cash on repairs, and will even give a very small improvement to your fuel economy, as the engine won’t be working quite so hard.

Over time, your engine oil will pick up dirty deposits, meaning it won’t last forever. If you’re wondering how often you should change your oil, check your car’s manual or service book, but it should be done either on mileage OR time, whichever comes first. At the minimum this is annually unless of course your vehicle does a lot of mileage.

Engine oils are rated and this rating will be displayed on the bottle, the first number, which will be attached to the letter ‘W’ (which stands for ‘Winter’), is the cold rating. The lower the number, the lower the temperature it will work in – if the number is too high and you try to start your car in freezing temperatures, the oil might be too thick to get flowing, and your engine may not start. The second number is the viscosity of the oil when tested at temperatures indicative of a running engine. The higher the number the thicker the oil. It is important to use the correct viscosity of oil.

The cool thing about fully synthetic oils is that clever scientists in laboratories can add to the oil’s makeup to provide better anti-wear, anti-oxidant and anti-corrosion properties. Once the base oil is in place, they’ll typically add zinc, phosphorous and sulphur molecules.

Another way oil manufacturers have found to reduce wear on start-up is to add magnetic particles to the oil mix. When the engine is switched off, the magnetic particles cling to the engine to reduce wear on start-up.

This is fantastic news for car owners, providing oils that will protect and prolong engines. The only downside is that the price of oils has increased as research and quality has improved.

Why do I need to change my engine oil?

As your car engine burns fuel, harmful contaminants build up and are captured within the oil. This degrades the oil within the engine, regularly changing your engine oil helps to remove these contaminants and replenishes the additives which protect your engine.

What is engine oil made of?

Each manufacturer has their own recipe, however almost all engine oils are made of between 75-90% base oil. The remaining 10-25% of the oil is made up of a variety of additives designed to help maintain the oils viscosity at high temperatures.

The base oil determines the basic properties of the engine oil, whilst the additives enhance the base oil. The additives also help to maintain the base oil and engine components.

What is engine sludge?

Whilst an engine is running, by-products from combustion contaminate the oil within the engine. Over time these contaminants build up and can form a ‘sludge’, which can settle in the bottom of your engine.

Using low quality oils, not regularly changing your engines oil and maintenance problems can all lead to sludge forming inside your engine.

Why should I use the oil grade that the manufacturer recommends for my car?

Every engine made is designed to use an oil of a particular SAE viscosity rating in order to properly lubricate all the engine components. Choosing an oil which is too thin can cause wear problems within the engine. Choosing an oil that is too thick will cause the engine to work harder and become less efficient in the process.

We always recommend using the correct engine oil for your vehicle. At K-tech we always check and use the correct oil listed for your vehicle. Whilst we aim to be competitive with our servicing prices, we don’t cut corners by using cheaper oils as this is false economy and damages engines.

Engine sludge can be a very serious problem as it develops on and around your vehicle’s engine components when oil begins to break down. When engine sludge is present, oil is not able to properly lubricate the moving parts of your vehicle’s motor.

So, the best method of removing engine oil sludge is frequent oil changes. A good quality engine oil will have the proper detergents that can dissolve engine sludge and deposits.

Make sure that you change your oil and oil filter on a regular basis. The development of engine sludge is directly related to how often you change your oil.

Did you know ………. The oil pump is the heart of a lubrication system. The pump sucks up oil from the oil pan and forces it through the engine’s oilways, it makes its way through your engine, along the way it collects sludge, grime and debris from the wear and tear of the engine’s moving components. Then the oil drips back into the sump and gets recirculated. The oil pump is absolutely necessary for an engine to function and, if it malfunctions, it will lead to a costly engine failure.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this. Look out for further blogs!!

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