Why Vehicles Need Oil
Most people know that oil acts as a lubricant in a vehicle’s engine. But many people are not aware of what the oil lubricates or why it is needed. Unless you are a mechanic or someone who has taken a genuine interest in learning about the auto engine, you most likely do not know about the vital functions of the oil and its operating conditions.
The engine underneath your hood has hundreds of moving parts that cooperate with one another under extreme conditions of friction, stress, and a vast variation in temperature. Some parts of the engine range between temperatures of 86°-122° F (30°-50° C), while others get up to 662° F (350° C). Engine oil has to be able to endure these intense temperatures while still maintaining its integrity as a lubricant. It also needs to be able to absorb some of the dirt and deposits that accumulate inside an engine.
Engine oil protects the engine from all of these factors, ensuring longer life. Those auto owners who choose not to keep up on oil changes or regularly check the clarity and level of the oil in their engines, do so at the peril of their engine’s lifespan. And those who purchase cheap oil can expect to experience engine failure far sooner than someone that spends a little extra for quality oil. In this case, the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is absolutely appropriate since replacing an engine is one of the most expensive auto repairs that can be done.
In addition to preventing engine failure, the right oil can reduce fuel consumption because reduced friction means smoother operation and smoother operation means less energy is required to operate the engine. This improves vehicle performance and reduces engine emissions. If the potential threat of engine failure is not enough to motivate someone to stay on top of oil changes, better gas mileage is typically a good enough reason.
Of course, one does not have to spend a fortune on oil changes to keep the engine running well. But there is a difference between conventional mineral oil lubricants and synthetic lubricants. Conventional (standard) oil lubricates with molecules that have an inconsistent size. That means that friction is decreased, but not as much as it could be with a lubricant of consistent molecule size. Synthetic oils contain molecules that are the same size, reducing friction more effectively than standard oil.
While many vehicle owners balk at the expense of synthetic oil, the fact is it just works better. There is always the option, however, of staying with high quality standard oil or using a synthetic blend, which contains some mineral oils and some synthetic oils for improved performance without as much cost. The bottom line is you get out of your engine what you put into it. Consistent oil changes with higher quality oil will result in the best performance and longest life you could expect from your engine.
06 Sep, 2012