In our previous article you were informed about the differences between old car engines and modern car engines, so this piece will continue on the same engine oil theme and shed more light on the importance of engine oils–especially to modern cars.
The engine compartment of a 2012 Toyota Corolla
The oil that goes into your car’s engine is very important because oil performs multiple functions in the engine and these are summarized below:
1. To lubricate engine parts and prevent wear
The primary function of engine oil is to minimize metal-to-metal contact reducing friction and wear. You may remember from your Secondary school physics lessons that friction is the force that resists the motion of one surface relative to another with which it is in contact. Friction produces heat, which causes more wear and distorts moving engine parts.The oil in your engine maintains a thin, lubricating film on all metal parts that lets them glide over each other safely and efficiently, reducing friction.
2.Cooling of engine parts
Besides the lubrication function, the oil also assists in cooling the engine because the constant flow of oil carries heat away from the engine to keep the operating temperature down. In most modern internal-combustion engines there is a centralized pressure-feed lubrication system equipped with an oil cooler where the heat in the oil is transferred to the water circulating in the water cooling system.
3.Protection against rust and corrosion
The oil protects the engine against rust and corrosion by coating metal parts and by flushing debris from between moving parts.
4. Keep engine parts clean
The oil in your car’s engine circulates through the engine and collects many kinds of contaminants that cause engine wear and damage. The oil and the oil filter help remove these contaminants.
5. Helps to protect the emissions system
The right engine oil also helps protect your emissions systems. You might not be aware but most new cars are equipped with catalytic converters –in an effort to control emissions. These catalytic converters can deteriorate over time and are expensive to replace. A high-quality motor oil helps protect the emissions system by minimizing its own impact on these devices.
6.Helps to improve fuel economy
In recent years, modern automobile gasoline engines have been getting more and more efficient to meet the demands of government regulations for increased fuel economy–especially in the developed countries such as the the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom.
engine oil and engine oil caps indicating the recommended oil viscosity grade
This has also pushed oil companies such as Mobil to produce lower viscosity oils which can help support efficiency and help improve fuel economy by decreasing engine friction.Perhaps, it’s the ability of these lower viscosity oils to improve fuel economy that is driving car manufacturers to recommend SAE 0w-20 grade as the oil of choice in most new cars.For instance, the ubiquitous 2012 Toyota Corolla and all the model years that followed require SAE 0w-20 oil in their engines.
Now that you’ve been adequately informed about the importance of oil in your car’s engine, in the next article we’ll delve deep into the oil viscosity grade ratings and why they should matter to you.
- Motor Oil Matters. “Motor Oil 101.”(May 29, 2016) http://www.motoroilmatters.org/Protect-Your-Car/Motor-Oil-101
- Valvoline. “Engine Oils.” (May 29, 2016) http://www.valvolineeurope.com/english/products/engine_oils
- Pennzoil.”Learn About Motor Oils.” (May 29,2016) http://www.pennzoil.ca/learn-about-motor-oil/about-motor-oil/
- Mobil.”Car Maintenance.”(May 29, 2016) https://mobiloil.com/en/article/car-maintenance/learn-about-motor-oil-facts/how-to-improve-fuel-economy