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Engine oil myths and facts from Bel Air MD Drivers

Posted by tom zoebelein on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 11:08 AM

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Motor oil has been as essential as gasoline to the automobile since the dawn of the horseless carriage. You would think that by now, we would have all the oil myths put to rest. However when discussing auto repair at our shop in Bel Air Maryland, we still run into these same (blank) common misconceptions and Myths


Myth1: The oil engine oil I'm using is good enough because I haven't had any engine troubles, therefore I do not need to pay extra money for higher quality engine oil.


Fact: You will not see the damage caused by the wrong oil right away. In your engine without the proper oil, harmful contaminants may already have entered the engine's lubricating system, causing corrosion, rust, and wear. Just because you haven't experienced any symptom yet doesn't mean problems don't exist. When problems do become visible, it may be too late or very costly to bring the engine's performance back to normal. It's always advisable to stick to high quality, warranty backed brand for maximum protection.


If you are forced to use the wrong type of oil, (say for example your oil lights come on and you cant get what you need at the local gas station), get your oil changed to the proper weight and viscosity immediately.


Myth2: Older vehicles that are no longer covered under the manufacturer’s warranty period no longer need to use quality oil.        


Fact: Just because your car is out of warranty doesn't mean you need to stop maintaining it. Your car can get you 10 time the warranty mileage or more if treated and maintained using the correct regimen of oil changes and correct high quality fluids.


Myth3: Synthetic oil will leak from the seals of older vehicles.          


Fact: Synthetic oil does not cause leaks. In fact, good quality oil is tested in dozens of industry standard, OEM-approved tests to prove its seal performance. Oils are tested to ensure that they are fully compatible with the electrometric materials from which all automotive seals and gaskets are made. If an older engine is in good condition and does not have oil leaks, good quality oil provides the same advantages as when used in a new engine.


Myth: Synthetic engine oil is only for new engines or vehicles.          


Fact: Quality synthetic engine oil can be used in old as well as new cars including vehicles in which conventional oil was previously used. Synthetic engine oils are beneficial for the good health, long life and top performance of new or old cars.


Myth: Engine oils can cause sludge that will kill an engine.


Fact: This is true. Poor quality oils can contribute to sludge build-up. Sludge deposits are formed by a combination of dirt, soot, partially burned fuel, oxidized motor oil, leaked coolant and condensed water vapor produced during combustion. Good-quality motor oil keeps these contaminants separated and held in suspension. They are drained with the oil and not left behind to create deposits or sludge. Using a good quality oil along with regular oil and filter changes will prevent sludge problems from occurring.


Myth: You can tell the condition of an oil by its look, smell and color. If it turns dark or goes black quickly, it’s not good.      


Fact: this is completely false assumption. When an oil is doing its job cleaning the engine, it will be dirty when it is drained. In the case of diesel engines, the oil may look dirty within a few hours of operation. This indicates that the motor oil is keeping soot, dirt and other combustion contaminants in suspension. These will then be carried to the filter or removed from the crankcase when the oil and filter are changed. Good quality motor oils are formulated to hold these contaminants in suspension until the oil is drained when the oil and filter are changed.


Myth: New or rebuilt engines need to be “broken in” with non-detergent, non-synthetic oil.        


Fact: With the technologies used in today’s oil formulations and engine designs, manufacturers no longer recommend the use of non-detergent oils for the break-in period. In fact, engines come factory-filled with high-quality performance motor oil which contains high levels of detergents and dispersant additives.


Myth: Thicker motor oil is better for your engine and increases engine life as it gets more milage.        


Fact: The main reason vehicle manufacturers recommend thinner or lighter viscosity grades of engine oil is because a gain in fuel economy may be achieved. Lower viscosity oils may help reduce internal engine friction. As a result, it takes less

energy to pump the thinner oil throughout the small passages inside an engine.

Thinner motor oil is also essential for easy starting, particularly in cold weather and for good lubrication once the engine starts. Thinner oils, such as SAE 5W-30, will flow faster than heavier motor oils during start-up and initial engine operation helping to protect the engine. The viscosity grade(s) recommended by the vehicle manufacturer depend somewhat on engine design. Engine manufacturers have spent considerable

time and expense experimenting with different viscosity grades. The owner’s manual indicates the grades they feel will best protect the engine at specific temperatures.

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Topics: engine oil