Tips for changing engine oil: how to do it better
A novice driver becomes a car enthusiast not when he receives a driver’s license, but when he refuels the car for the first time, learns from his older comrades to check the level of lubricating fluid with a dipstick, and on their advice does it regularly. Which means already at the very beginning of the driver’s journey many understand the importance of fuel and lubricants during the operation of the car. And when the time comes, they will not wonder why should they change the oil in the car, but will go to the service or change it on their own.
Why is there oil in the engine?
It is necessary to understand what role lubrication plays in the life of the engine, and to answer the question of what will happen if the recommendations prescribed by the manufacturer (and common sense) are not followed.
We list the main functions that motor fluid performs:
- reduces friction, preventing premature wear of mechanisms;
- eliminates temperature fluctuations within the system and prevents parts from overheating or freezing;
- provides easy start-up of the internal combustion engine;
- gives protection against corrosion;
- increases the life of the motor as a whole.
Engine oil filled during maintenance cannot perform its functions forever; over time, the lubricating fluid will begin to lose its protective properties: viscosity will decrease, soot and soot will appear. Moreover, over time, such an “assistant” becomes completely harmful: it will negatively affect the engine, thereby slowly disabling it. So it is necessary to monitor the renewal of motor fluid carefully.
Change the oil according to the regulations or the sooner the better?
From the previous paragraph, a reasonable question arises, after how much time the lubricating fluid should be changed. Back in the day, a mileage of 10 thousand km was called the standard, now many manufacturers have raised the bar to 15 thousand km. And at this stage, opinions on this issue are divided. Some experts (especially at official services) advise to completely trust the regulations prescribed by the plant, believing that there is no economic and technical feasibility in more frequent replacement. The main argument is that the level of modern technology makes it possible to create synthetic oil (including with the help of factory additives) that can perform its functions for a long time without fear of negatively affecting the engine.
The second camp proposes to separate the bean from the lentil and start not from the kilometers traveled, but from the intensity of exploitation. It’s one thing when you drive several hundred kilometers on a good country road on a weekend, and another thing is daily operation in urban modes.
The enemy of engine oil are:
- prolonged operation of the engine in traffic jams or at high speeds (operating temperature rises)
- short city trips (deposits may appear due to the fact that the engine does not have time to warm up to operating temperatures);
- frequent starts in frost;
- off-road driving or sport mode.
Therefore, the second part of the experts recommends filling in new engine oil in cars involved in daily operation at least 7-10 thousand kilometers. The only thing is that the two camps agree that the product must be changed at least once a year, even if the car does not drive the regulated number of kilometers. This is due to the fact that the liquid “ages”, oxidizes and loses its properties.
When is work outside the regulations necessary?
Now let’s look at situations that involve changing engine oil ahead of schedule (seasonal or caused by other circumstances).
It is worth considering that most motor oils are multigrade (more details here): this is confirmed by the double index on the label and the letter W (Winter). The lower the number in the first index, the lower the temperature at which the oil remains fluid. For example, a product with a viscosity of 5W-30 will flow better than a 10W-30. And since our winters are not extreme, the viscosity of all-weather oils is quite enough to cope with its task. But, if with the onset of cold weather you are close to the mileage at which the lubricant changes, it is better to do this a little in advance.
As for an extraordinary replacement, consider the circumstances. We list the situations when you should not doubt, but immediately change the lubricant:
- after repair work, when the oil was drained or the engine was partially disassembled;
- when other liquids get in (accidentally flooded; water got in after overcoming water barriers; coolant seeped through a broken gasket, etc.);
- a foamy emulsion has appeared in the product (can be determined by the quality of the liquid when checking the level with a dipstick).
And darkened oil is not a reason for additional alarm: grease accumulates dirt during operation: this is a normal process. Yes, and there is where you can let yourself go with detergent additives.
When to add engine oil, and how to do it?
We recommend that you always have engine oil for topping up – preferably the same one that is currently in the engine (in which case there will be no dissonance in the set of additives and other distrustful things). Topping up is necessary when the level has dropped for some reason: the threat of lubrication starvation does not bode well for the internal combustion engine.
When topping up, the vehicle must be on a level surface and preferably the engine must be cool. When topping up, in no case use the principle “the more the better” – the marks on the dipstick will be enough. If the oil is excessive, it will be squeezed out through the gaskets, and in winter, when it thickens, with a large volume it will be difficult to turn the shaft to start.
Even with frequent topping up, do not be under the illusion that due to the large ingress of fresh liquid, you can neglect the regulatory deadlines and manufacturer’s advice. Remember that combustion products and wear parts accumulate that the oil filter cannot handle. You can get rid of them only with a complete renewal of the lubricant. And yes, if you often need to top up, it is better to contact the service to fix the problem.
Use only good quality oil
You may have your own opinion about some of the nuances: whether to make a seasonal replacement, change the lubricant at the scheduled time or a little earlier. But one point should under no circumstances be questioned: only high-quality engine oil can be used. And this means that you need to purchase it only through the official website or from suppliers. Engine repairs are extremely expensive, and saving a few dollars to lose a thousand later is not the right decision.