Motor oil plays a crucial role in the maintenance of a vehicle. Using the right type of motor oil and knowing when to change it can go a long way in enhancing a vehicle’s (containing a new or a rebuilt engine) overall performance. The right motor oil can also prevent engine breakdowns, and extend your vehicle’s its life. Motor oil serves to fulfill a number of functions, such as lubrication, corrosion prevention, contaminant removal, and cooling.
Motor oil provides lubrication and prevents direct contact between the surfaces of neighboring moving parts by forming a separation layer between them, thus reducing friction and the heat generated by it. Reduced friction implies less wear and tear of the parts, and hence longer engine life. Motor oil also provides cooling through heat transfer by convection while it flows through the engine. The oil coating on metal parts also prevents them from being exposed to oxygen and undergoing oxidation, a process that leads to rust formation and corrosion.
Furthermore, the detergents and the anti-dispersants present in motor oil help remove combustion soot, metal fragments generated by wear and tear, environmental contaminants, and sludge build-up, thus keeping the engine clean.
Here are Some Common FAQs Related to Motor Oil:
- Are all motor oils the same? No: motor oils differ in their characteristics which are specified by the manufacturer (particularly, their viscosity, a property that defines their ability to flow and spread on surfaces) and the list of additives (detergents, corrosion inhibitors, etc.). You need the one that meets the recommendations specified by the manufacturer.
- Does the change in oil color towards a blackish shade indicate that the motor oil in your car needs to be changed? Not always. Appearances can be deceptive, and the oil may simply be doing its job of holding the sludge as a suspension, preventing it from building up. Only when it gets saturated with impurities is it time to change the oil. The best way to decide whether your car needs a change in motor oil is simply to follow the guidelines given in the owner’s manual supplied by the manufacturer.
- What is the difference between conventional motor oils and synthetic motor oils? Conventional motor oils are manufactured from natural petroleum through refinment, whereas synthetic motor oils are tailor-made oils containing a number of additives that are designed to meet specific requirements, such as high oxidation and corrosion resistance, high thermal stability, low volatility, superior flow properties, etc.
- Are synthetic oils better than the conventional natural oils? Yes. Synthetic oils give a far superior performance compared with the conventional mineral base motor oils in terms of engine performance, fuel economy, and engine life. Their purity level is also much higher. Being tailor-made under controlled conditions, the molecular composition of synthetic oils is much more uniform, implying that fluid friction levels are greatly reduced. Hence, they flow more easily even at low start-up temperatures (as during winter) reducing engine wear and tear. Plus, they retain their viscosity also at high temperatures, protecting the engine even under high speed and heavy load conditions.
These were some of the important facts about motor oils. You will be a better-informed consumer the next time you visit your auto repair shop.