‘Lifeblood’ of the internal combustion engine

Oil is the ‘lifeblood’ of the internal combustion engine

All cars burn oil.  It is just the rate of burning that differs. When your vehicle changes from burning a litre of oil in thousands of kilometres to one that burns a litre in hundreds of kilometres, you have a problem.

Engine oil is the lifeblood of the internal combustion engine. Not only does it prevent the wearing of moving parts but it also keeps those parts from getting too hot as well. Oil is a coolant as well as a lubricant.

If you own a newer vehicle that has an oil life monitor remember that the oil life monitor may let your vehicle go a lot longer between oil changes. In doing so you must remember that you very likely will have to add oil between changes. There are very few vehicles that monitor oil level and running your vehicle low on oil can be a disaster.

Oil is burnt in the combustion chamber along with the fuel. The oil is used to lubricate the piston moving up and down in the cylinder to prevent metal to metal wear. Each pass of the piston leaves a microscopic layer of oil. This exceptionally thin layer of oil is burnt up in the explosion of the air and fuel mixture.

The amount of oil that ends up left in the combustion chamber is controlled by the piston rings. These rings are used to seal the piston in the cylinder to maximize the squish of fuel and air while distributing only that microscopic layer of oil. When the rings no longer do their job, extra oil gets left on the cylinder walls.

When your rings are worn out repairing that oil burning problem will be expensive. There are other oil burning scenarios that are simpler to repair. Some of them may be just plain poor maintenance practises.

Never overfill your engine oil. This will almost always result in extra oil being burnt.  It can also cause extra wear in your engine. When the oil level is too high the crankshaft will froth up the oil and fill it with air bubbles. Frothy oil is a poor lubricant. It also splashes extra oil on the cylinder walls and leaves too much oil for the piston rings to scrape off the cylinder walls thus leaving more oil to burn off.

A  somewhat sudden change in oil usage that is not an external leak can indicate there is a problem in your crankcase ventilation system. The crankcase ventilation system prevents pressure build up inside the engine case. Each explosion that forces a piston down has a little bit of explosive pressure that sneaks by the piston into the engine case. These gases that sneak by the piston must be allowed to go back into the engine to be burned again. The plumbing system that meters this flow can fail.

If crankcase ventilation flow is too high ,oil will be pulled from the crankcase into the engine. If crankcase ventilation flow is too low, pressure will build in the crankcase and force oil out around seals or even push seals out and cause external oil leaks.

Infrequent oil changes and use of low quality or the wrong engine oil will also result in high engine oil usage. Suffice to say, watch your engine oil usage. Any change is an indication that trouble is brewing. Being proactive can be the difference between replacing a simple positive crankcase ventilation valve or completely overhauling your engine.

Just Posted

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read