Auto enthusiasts, we are venturing into the wide scoped topic of engine lubrication, or lube servicing.
*A lube service, these days normally consist of an oil/filter change, tyre pressure condition check, all fluids check, cooking system, brakes, clutches (where applicable), hoses, lights and a general look underneath the vehicle* This is best performed at a lube bay. For the purpose of this week’s discourse, we shall limit ourselves to engine oil change and when to proceed on a lube service. Next week we shall look into the various oil grades and viscosity as well as sludge formation.
Engine oil is a lubricant that:
– Protects the engine from friction;- Absorbs heat from the combustion chambers of the engine;- Channels away by products of combustion and;- Inhibits corrosion.
As oil hears up, it gets thinner and flow more readily. However, when the oil gets too thin, it does not stay on the surface of the metal long enough to act as a proper lubricant.
The goal of an oil manufacturer is to prevent the oil from getting too thin when hot, but thin enough to flow when very cold. Due to the dual nature of the problem, oil operating at cold and hot temperatures, designers came up with a dual grading system that accounts for both extremes.
*Time for a lube service:*
I am compelled to write this article given the rather recurrent disparity of when appropriate to do a regular oil/filter change on an engine as a precautionary measure most manufacturer of today’s car emphatically states when it’s best appropriate to do a routine oil change for their various brands, as every brand has its own service interval.
When to go for a lube service requires few considerations, these considerations will determine when best you can carry an oil change for your car regardless if your car has attained the required mileage for this. These considerations include:
*-Driving pattern:* If you are the type that gets caught in the typical Lagos traffic, or you embark on long trips daily (like the commercial vehicles, Uber cars) or you do a lot of stop and go, then it’s advisable to reduce the service interval, compared to what is stated in the owner’s manual.
*-Short trips*: Too many shorts distance driving does not allow the engine reach it’s optimal operating temperature. Most modern cars normal operating temperature ranges from 80°c to 98°c depending on the brand. This is when the engine works normally. Anything less than that will cause a high fuel consumption and faster engine wear.
Check your owner’s manual to know when your thermostat opens up and closes. We shall be looking more into this when we eventually treats the engine’s cooling system.
*Oil type, and age of a vehicle* are other determinants in deciding when to go for a lube service. We shall dwell more on the various oil grades and types in our next outing. Until then, enlighten yourselves on which oil to use(inscribed on the oil filler cap in the engine of most car brands) and when to go for that change as the importance of a regular oil change cannot be over emphasized.
Written by Adeniyi Balogun