How Car Engine Oil Works
A car engine has many moving parts and metal components that are in contact with each other. To reduce contact wear, adequate lubrication becomes necessary. It is the car engine oil that creates a layer of protection around the components to prevent wear. Hence, regular checks and timely oil change should be part of your car maintenance checklist.
Let’s take a look at how engine oil works and how you can ensure that it’s doing its job.
Understanding Car Engine Oil Circulation
In order to know how engine oil works, you need to understand the working principle of a 4-stroke combustion engine. This should make it easier to visualize how engine oil circulates in the car.
When you first pour in the oil, it is collected in the oil sump or pan located at the bottom of the engine. The strainer in the sump collects the oil with the help of an oil pump while filtering some impurities.
The oil pump is powered through the camshaft with the help of a pulley system. The pump sucks the oil from the sump and transfers it to an oil cooler before filtration. The reason for cooler location before the filter is to prevent residual particles that may get loose from the cooler itself. The benefit of an oil cooler is that it removes excess heat when the oil is in circulation.
The oil filter removes the contaminants that may include dirt, debris or metal particles. From here it moves upwards towards the crankshaft bearing. The oil flows through oil lines and galleries to lubricate the engine parts.
The oil galleries in the crankshaft supply the oil to the bearing through a connecting rod. Additionally, the oil splashing out from the side of the bearing forms an oil film around the cylinder wall. This keeps the piston and cylinder cool and lubricated.
Pistons usually have compression rings and an oil scraper ring. The scrapper ring limits the oil by directing excess oil inward. This allows oil to drain down from the piston to the sump.
Moreover, a second oil gallery connected with sprouts lubricates the camshaft, valves and springs to reduce contact friction and heat generation. After lubrication, the flowing oil is directed via a separate passageway including the one from the piston towards the oil sump.
Importance of Oil Change
With the technical knowledge of how car engine oil works, it is easy to understand the importance of maintaining adequate oil level in the car. There are many benefits of regular oil changes and the most important is that it enhances the engine’s efficiency. Engine oil is basically the only defensive layer against friction and prevents wear due to metal contact. At the same time, it also acts as a coolant and helps maintain the temperature. In Dubai, accumulation of dust is severe due to dry climate and regular sandstorms. The engine oil keeps the component clean through the circulation.
Lack of oil is usually detected by car dashboard sensors. Delaying the oil change can increase the probability of engine damage due to wear and friction. Hence, you will be spending a lot more than you would have for a simple oil change. Moreover, you can change the car’s oil without changing the filter every time, this also saves up the cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for oil to circulate in the engine?
It normally takes 12 to 15 seconds for oil to circulate completely in the engine.
When should I change engine oil?
A majority of auto manufacturers recommend car engine oil change after every 10,000 to 15,000 km. However, considering the number of trips and dry climate conditions in the UAE, engine oil change intervals may vary or in this case, more frequent. For instance, desert off roaders might require an oil change at around 5000 km due to excessive dust exposure.
Is excess oil harmful to the engine?
Too much oil in the engine along with air leads to production of foam due to crankshaft rotation. The foam degrades the lubrication capability of the engine oil. On the other hand, excess oil will try to escape through engine components, leading to oil leakage. Oil leakage is also a sign that you are using the wrong car engine oil.
Can you keep adding oil without replacing the old oil?
Topping up more oil is a lot better than no oil in the engine. However, the practice is ill advised. The purpose of oil is to remove impurities and carry contaminants back to the oil sump for filtration. In time, the oil will darken due to too much debris and soot. At this point, the oil will lose its lubrication efficiency and the oil filter won’t help much.
It is important to consider the type of oil used in car engines as per manufacturer requirement. Check our guide on engine oil change at home. You can also browse auto accessories for sale in Dubai to find some good deals.
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