How important is the engine oil that goes into your car?

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.

2016-30-5--11-17-45              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.







Why are you still putting 1980s oil in your modern car’s engine?

I remember watching movies such as Demolition Man, when i was growing up in the 1990s.The writers/directors of Demolition Man and similar movies  which  were set in the future always had this wild imagination of how the cars of the future would look and function.Thankfully, it’s 2016 and that means we are essentially sixteen years away from the 2032 year the Demolition Man was set.

demolition manSylvester Stallone standing by his 2032 police car in Demolition Man

So that brings up this question:Are the new cars  coming out of the countless production lines futuristic in look and function?I would answer in the affirmative especially in the area of function, considering  some cars are now  capable of ‘self-parking’  as seen in  some 2003 Toyota Prius hybrid models  and also in the 2006 Lexus LS sedan.The park-assist technology has gained popularity among many  car companies including Audi, BMW, Ford, Jeep, Lincoln and  Mercedes Benz.But what really makes the case for cars’ rapid evolution in the area of functionality is  the Google self-driving car technology.

800px-Google's_Lexus_RX_450h_Self-Driving_CarA Lexus RX450h retrofitted by Google for its driverless car fleet

In terms of exterior design, cars have also undergone some revolution  even if not with the same speed as technology has propelled vehicle functionality.That is not to say there are no new cars with damn right futuristic looks.The new Acura NSX is one such  car with looks that would allow it to feel right at home in the Demolition Man.And here is the proof:

2016_honda_nsx_preview_drive_japan_02-1029-900x480The 2016 Acura NSX…the future is here!!!

So what has changed in our engines ?

Although the basic principle behind how engines perform have remained practically the same,  new  car engines are very different in a lot of ways from  engines in cars of the 1980s for example.Here are few traits of modern car engines:

  1. 1.Modern engines are more efficient–this is due to technologies such as direct fuel injection which improves efficiency.
  2. Modern engines are more powerful–the engines produce more horse power compared to older vehicles with similar  engine specifications.
  3. Modern engines are smaller–modern engines make more power than older engines, so you would  expect them to be larger but the reality is that, they are actually smaller.
  4. Modern Engines work smarter–Today’s engines have technology such as Cylinder deactivation and Variable-valve timing that makes them work smarter.
  5. Modern Engines Have Partners–Today’s car engines are not only sophisticated technological achievements, they’re partnered with other high-tech components that help them do their jobs better.For the full article on the workings of  modern engines check this out: 5 ways modern car engines differ from older car engines.

How important is the oil that goes into your modern car?

In the next article, we will delve deep into this issue and provide valuable answers and keep checking us out for your updates on everything car maintenance.