Insured & Factory Certified Technicians
The engine oil serves multiple functions. Its first job is to lubricate internal engine components, creating a protective film between them, which keeps them from contacting one another. Other functions of the oil include: removal of heat by carrying it away from the hottest portions of the engine back to the sump (or oil pan), cleaning of internal components and protecting them from corrosion, and keeping contaminants from building up and creating sludge.
Engine oils are comprised of a base oil, as well as, numerous additives, which are responsible for reducing wear, maintaining viscosity, cleaning/protecting components, and dispersing soot. Over time, oxidation of the oil breaks down it’s physical properties, and degrades its ability to lubricate and protect. Also, as the oil ages, the contact between internal engine components, creates microscopic particles in the oil, that act as abrasives, increasing engine wear. It is because of the oil breakdown, and particle contamination, that we need to change the oil and filter(s) at specific intervals.
The oil is circulated through the engine by the oil pump, which draws the oil up out of the sump and pushes it into the oil passages of the engine. After the oil reaches the internal components, it drains back to the sump. A sensor is mounted in one of the passages which transmits the oil pressure to the gauge at the helm. Oil pressure is used as an indicator of oil system function and flow. Oil flow is essential to the lubrication of the engine. Without oil flow, there would be no layer of oil between parts, and no heat transfer, and the internal components would quickly wear out.
Diesel engine combustion creates much higher temperatures than that of gasoline engines, which requires the use of a higher viscosity oil that can still perform under these temperatures. Also, the combustion process in a diesel introduces a greater amount of soot into the oil. This requires the use of an oil designed to keep the soot suspended in the oil and not allow it to clump together and create sludge. Also, because of the increased soot, diesel oils need to have a higher amount of detergent in order to keep surfaces clean.
The maintenance of the oil system consists of draining the sump completely, replacing the oil filters, and refilling the sump. Usually, it makes sense to remove and replace the primary, intermediate (if equipped), and secondary fuel filters at this time also.