Engine Oil and Your Car – What You Need to Know

June 27, 2016
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oilchange

Engine Sludge – What Is It?

Have you heard of the term ‘engine sludge’? Well, it refers to that hard substance of contaminated engine oil found at the bottom of the fuel tank. People also call it black sludge and mayonnaise sludge depending on their hardness level. Breakdown and too much contamination are major factors causing sludge.

Sludge doesn’t build up over a night. Instead, it builds up over a long timeframe when you skip on oil change and continue driving miles and miles after manufacturer recommended oil change interval.

Key Factors Forming Engine Sludge

If you are pondering how shiny and clean oil based lubricant can transform into a lumpy mess that can turn out to be engine-clogging, following are several scenarios.

Not adhering to the recommended timelines of an oil change is a most common reason. There are several factors like humidity in the air, engine metals and acids that can contaminate the engine oil over time. And this is why it is crucial to change engine oil in a timely manner. If you wait longer than recommended timeframe to change your motor oil, you will allow the formation of sludge which can cause significant damage to engine parts over time.

Don’t test the oil too hard. Engine overheating and excessive usage can result in the formation of sludge. If more humidity accesses the oil, it can considerably change the consistency of oil and make it sludgy over a certain period. Replacing your oil at a regular time interval will help eliminate stress.

Sludge can cause some serious damage to your engine. In order to avoid this, check your owner’s manual and find out the recommended intervals for oil an change and then follow it. Driving style and usage of the vehicle are other important factors that need to be considered while deciding oil change intervals.

Watch Out For The Wrong Driving Habits

Yes, you heard me right. Your driving habits can be a factor forming sludge. For example, if you often drive your vehicle in hot temperature, heat can make your oil thinner. Excessive heating can also cause oil breakdown leading to sludge build-up. This further leads to the consequences of metal wear in the engine or it can be worse if your car is heavily loaded. In such scenario, it is important to change oil more frequently and regularly. And make sure you choose higher quality motor oil.

Secondly, if you are driving short distances regularly, the engine oil doesn’t meet optimal temperature condition. In such scenario, water and combustion by-products including smoke start contaminating the oil. If oil isn’t changed, it can lead to oil breakdown and damage the engine parts severely. Taking your car for oil change service regularly based on your driving habits can help prevent the damage to engine parts and enjoy pleasant drives!

Weather Conditions Also Impact The Oil

Both excessive hot and cold weather condition can accelerate oil breakdown demanding early and more frequent oil change. Lower temperature can make oil thick which makes it hard for the engine to pump it resulting in faster wear of engine parts. Thus, make sure you use thinner oil (lower grade oil) in winter months.

On the contrary, you need to choose higher grade oil while driving on hot summer days as high engine temperatures can cause the oil to thin out and pose the risk of metal wear in the engine parts.

Now you know what things need to be considered for selecting the right grade of oil and schedule oil change at the right intervals. You can check the owner manual of your car or seek the advice of your local garage to determine the right oil for your territory.

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