Forum: Advice / Cars & Driving

Please... change your oil! (karma: 1)
By dangslowmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun May 10, 2009 08:45 PM

Changing oil is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your car, regardless of age. It's also the cheapest thing you can do besides putting air in your tires.
When your car burns the gas inside the pistons, gas blows by the piston rings and contaminates your oil. You will get tiny bits of carbon, moisture, and even unburnt gas that will blast by the rings and suspend themselves in your oil. This happens in all cars, even new ones. As your car runs, heat and mechanical stresses break down the actual structure of the oil over time it turns acidic.
The type of driving that you do will also affect how fast this accumulation occurs.
If you drive short trips, where your engine never really gets a chance to heat up, it will happen faster. If you drive in the city or race your car it happens faster too.
Whenever you drive your car, you need to get it up to temperature and operating for about 10 minutes so that the residual moisture can be consumed by the EGR system. You need to stop racing your car, because aggressive driving dumps too much gas into the engine. Racing also DOUBLES the dynamic load on top of the pistons, down the connecting rods, straight to the crankshaft and crank bearing, where a thin layer of oil is the only thing keeping that engine from welding itself together. The other thing you need to do is to change your oil.
When you change your oil and filter, the slate is wiped clean. All the acids and solid precipitates will be removed and replaced with fresh clean oil.
Find a reputable shop and get in the habit of getting that oil changed every 3000 miles.

6 Replies to Please... change your oil!

re: Please... change your oil!
By Sumayah
On Sun May 10, 2009 09:41 PM
Seeing as my car is sitting lifeless in my driveway, what exactly happens when there's no oil in the engine? I've googled this to no good resolution. What actually happens to the engine? Obviously it stops working but more specifically - does it make a noise or a smell or does the car shudder or what happens? I'm concerned because I have a slow oil leak and though I replenish the oil between changes I'm worried it got too low and the engine went kaput. However with mine one minute it worked and then I turned ot off and literally one minute later it didn't. Hopefully I'll find out tomorrow, but I'd still like to know what does happen with no oil in the engine.
re: Please... change your oil!
By DayTripper_Premium member
On Mon May 11, 2009 12:28 AM
It's story time boys and girls!!!

I work at a Volvo dealership in the office and my dad is the shop foreman (aka the head technician). A customer brought his '06 S60 in to be serviced as it was no longer running properly. He was absolutely puzzled as to why his engine was running so strangely.

My dad brought the car in and had one of the service writers pull a full history on the service the car had before. We had no record of it being at our dealership so we contacted the customer and asked him about his car's service history. It had ONE oil change since the car was bought. There was well over 30,000 miles on the car. Volvo recommends that you get your oil changed every 3,000 miles. That means he missed over 10 oil changes. His engine was not even salvageable and the car was totaled....and it's only 3 years old. We're not even sure how his car ran for as long as it did with oil that contaminated.

Needless to say, Dangslow brings up a great point! Change your oil often as it's really a very important part of being a responsible car owner. :)

Diana
re: Please... change your oil!
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon May 11, 2009 07:43 AM
Sumayah wrote:

Seeing as my car is sitting lifeless in my driveway, what exactly happens when there's no oil in the engine? I've googled this to no good resolution. What actually happens to the engine? Obviously it stops working but more specifically - does it make a noise or a smell or does the car shudder or what happens? I'm concerned because I have a slow oil leak and though I replenish the oil between changes I'm worried it got too low and the engine went kaput. However with mine one minute it worked and then I turned ot off and literally one minute later it didn't. Hopefully I'll find out tomorrow, but I'd still like to know what does happen with no oil in the engine.


With no lubrication in the engine, the moving parts (pistons, connecting rod joints, camshafts, in short anything that moves generates friction and heat. When that heat gets hot enough (which doesn't take very long) the parts may actually weld themselves together and the engine will seize. A lot of other short term and long term things can also happen. Old oil can get a lot of microscopic metal wear bits in it and cause excessive wear and shortening the expected life of an engine. The lack of a proper air filter (which should be changed at oil change time) can also allow grit to get into the engine which also shortens life.

You should fix the leak rather than simply replenishing the oil. While the oil should be checked for level, just adding oil all the time without a change is only a remedy not a cure. When a car starts "burning" oil, I'm usually thinking of getting rid of it. I won't sell those to a private party, I'll let the dealer handle it. They usually wholesale those cars to brokers and some end up at reconditioners.

This catastophic failure of an engine happened to me once, not because I didn't change the oil, I did, but some oil duct in the car got clogged. One cylinder wasn't getting the proper oil and the piston siezed in the cylinder which caused the connecting rod to break. The broken connecting rod then banged against the side of the piston with a horrific noise and after about a hundred feet the engine quit entirely, never to run again. Fortunately it was an old car which didn't owe me anything and had 100,000 miles on it which at the time was pretty significant for a car. [Nowadays, I routinely get 100,000 miles on a car and they are still running perfectly.] A fellow at work was handy with cars, so he bought the car from me for $125 (this was in the mid 1970's) and bought an engine from a junk yard, swapped it out and gave the car to his kid who ran it for another 200,000 miles. This was a fluke as I alway changed the oil on that and any other car I've owned. I usually get rid of a car now just short of 100,000 miles, but for the last several cars I've owned, I've had no mechanical failures at all and the only thing I've done to these cars except for the routine maintenence recommended by the manufacturer, basically oil, oil filter, air filter changes every 5000 miles and replacesment of normal consumables such as tires (I'm a fanatic on tire safety), brake linings and doing the 30K, 60K etc. recommended check ups which is when they check over the car and replace fluids such as anti-freeze, transmission fluids etc. You do this religiously and your cars will last an awfully long time.

The last ten cars I've owned have only been replaced just because I wished to get new cars while I still had some tradeable value in my old cars. The only exceptions to this were two cars I had bought for my kids while in college/high school which we ran for over 250,000 miles (one of them bought used) which were just scrapped (but still running), and the car I mentioned above. Modern cars are far more reliable than the first cars I owned in the 1960's.

Jon
re: Please... change your oil!
By dangslowmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon May 11, 2009 09:23 AM
I think a car can sit with no oil with little problem. Lots of people drain oil before storage to avoid leaks. The biggest concern would be forgetting that you drained the oil out, and then trying to start er up.
When an engine runs dry, they fail in different ways. Usually the seizure is quiet and undramatic. Sometimes the failiure is accompanied by a tremendous high-pitched squealing, then your engine locks up and all the dash lights come on. Smoke is almost always a given. If you are enveloped inside an inky blue haze, then you know that you really should have changed your oil.
re: Please... change your oil!
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon May 11, 2009 05:16 PM
I get free maintanence for 3 years on my car, so I'll be getting free oil changes and tire rotation...

Issue is the free maintenence they offer is every 10,000km, basically when my oil life monitor gets down to near 0... It's every 5,000km for an oil change right? I'm planning on getting one every 5,000 at the dealership because they than have a free tires and batteries for life program if I do all my maintenence with them.

I actually own this car so I plan on maintaining her... she's a purdy little car.
re: Please... change your oil!
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon May 11, 2009 07:11 PM
It is interesting that although a kilometer is roughly .6 of a mile, those of us who buy cars in the USA with miles as a standard are now told to change oil every 5000 MILES. There must be something magic about counting 5000 of something with the service light. Canadian cars should last longer then :).

Jon

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