- Car Care & Maintenance
What happens to engine oil inside the engine?
Understanding engine oil
Although modern cars have practically made it impossible to perform any DIY tuning fork tweaking juts yourself it still doesn’t hurt to understand the principles behind many of the crucial systems. One of the most important systems concerns motor oil and how it circulates around the engine protecting cooling and cleaning as it goes.
When you top up your engine oil or check its levels you are filling the oil. The oil pan sits beneath the engine and is the repository for oil. When you start the engine oil is pumped from the pan through a filter. The filter is needed to remove any contaminants in the oil including fragments of metal that they have broken away from the engine or other particles of dirt that may have found their way into the oil supply somehow. Once filtered the pressure of the oil is checked. The oil pressure gauge sensor is used to send a signal to the oil warning light or oil pressure gauge (if you have one) to let you know if there is a problem with the oil supply.
After the pressure test the oil is sprayed onto moving services to provide lubrication and to absorb excess heat. As it goes cleaning additives in the oil help to prevent a build-up of black sludge and to prevent other forms of corrosion. But oil cannot keep on doing this indefinitely and it has to be replaced. Usually this is every four or 5000 km but this varies between manufacturers so checking in the owner’s Handbook.
Changing your own motor oil is a good way of saving money and it is quite simple to do. With a few simple tools such as air filter wrench, ramps to raise the car and an engine oil drain pan to catch the oil as it comes out you can do the job yourself. In a nutshell this is the procedure or check with someone who has done it before if you are unsure or need help.
Drive the car up onto the ramps and brace the rear wheels and chocks. Make sure the handbrake is on good and tight. Many engine for a few minutes to get the oil warm and flowing easily but you don’t want to do this when the engine is hot. Remove the sump plug in and catch the oil in your oil drain pan. Once it’s all empty reapply the plug and lower the car off the ramps. You can now begin to tell the engine on the game using the correct grade could be careful not to overfill it. Take regular measurements as you go using the dipstick. When you are finished take the car for a spin around block and all being well you won’t see any oil on your driveway. Again, if you’re not sure nervous about the process seek help from someone with automotive experience.