What Are The Basics of Engine Lubrication?

Source: Mobil.com

The engine is considered the heart of the vehicle. It is what makes the vehicle move, and the driver to enjoy the vehicle. The engine is made up of many moving parts, sliding against each other. These include the pistons that move at very high speeds in the cylinders or combustion chambers; the cam shaft responsible for the opening and closing of the inlet and out let valves to allow for fuel to be injected into the combustion chambers; and the crankshaft, responsible for moving the pistons up and down within the chambers, as well as transmitting the power of the engine to the drive train.

The spaces between the piston rings and the cylinders are less than razor thin, yet the piston has to slide easily without rubbing on the cylinder wall. It is hard to imagine that the very small spaces are separated by an oil film. Certainly, that film has to be very strong to prevent the piston rings from rubbing against the cylinder wall.

An ideal situation would be that the oil film is completely able to separate the moving parts, and therefore ensure that they do not wear out. The scientists that are responsible for the manufacture of lubricants certainly try as much as possible to do that. They go to great lengths to produce lubricants that reduce wear to almost zero, through many hours spent in an effort to come up with an almost perfect lubricant. This lubricant should be able to reduce friction, or the rubbing of metals against each other, to a bare minimum. Achieving that means the engine’s life is extended, and owners enjoy hassle free and low cost ownership.

However, the lubrication of the engine is more than just using quality oil. Engine lubrication is one of the most difficult on a vehicle. The vehicle’s internal combustion engine is considered as an open environment; one where the fuel and air are introduced into the combustion chambers from external sources. Oil is also an external component. These external components are a source of dirt and dust into the engine, hence the need for filtration of these components. When they burn at high temperatures, there are chemical reactions that take place, resulting in the production of undesirable by products such as soot, water, and other components that can settle on the metal surfaces. All these have an effect on how lubrication functions within the engine.

To reduce the impact of the above, the most important factor that is within the control of the vehicle owner is to ensure first of all, that they regularly change the oil and filters. Secondly, they should ensure that they use quality oil and filters that meet the engine manufacturer’s recommendations or specifications. Quality oils are blended or formulated with chemicals or additives that help to counter the effects of chemical reactions that occur within the combustion chamber, and prevent the by-products from settling on the hot metal surfaces. Thirdly, the owner has to ensure that vehicle is serviced at intervals recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, or as advised by the mechanic, based on the operating environment, or vehicle use. Servicing is important in order to get rid of the undesirable components suspended in the oil, or the dirt captured by filters, as well as to replace the chemical additives that get used up with time.

To summarise, a well looked after engine can last for a long time, and serve the owner a lot of money. A lot depends on how well the owner looks after their vehicle. Lubrication is very important, but more important is the selection of the correct lubricant and timeous servicing of the vehicle. This largely depends on the owner and their mechanic.

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