For today’s #techtiptuesday we are going to talk about the science of why regular oil changes are important. We’ve discussed in the past how viscosity can change in mineral oils over extended use, but there is another important factor to keeping the oil in your vehicle fresh, and that is what we refer to as “consumables”.
Consumables are additives that over time and use either degrade or become damaged beyond use, thereby inhibiting their positive effects on your engine and oil. There are three main ones we want to talk about today; Antiwear, Detergents, and Dispersants.
Antiwear is an important additive to your oil as it helps prevent wearing of the metals inside your motor. Antiwear such as ZDDP helps to coat the surfaces inside of your engine and provide a smoother surface where there is metal to metal contact. It acts as a sacrificial barrier, slowly being deteriorated rather than the metal inside your motor wearing down.
Detergents help keep the inside of your engine clean. Just like laundry, or dish detergent they help to break up any materials that aren’t supposed to be there so that they can be easily “washed” away. Over time the cleaning power of detergents get used up and they become less and less effective.
Dispersants are the second half of the cleaning process. After the detergents clean the buildup off of the surfaces in the motor it is the job of the dispersants to make sure that the contaminants don’t get stuck anywhere else. The dispersants do this by bonding to the contaminants and keeping them in suspension in the oil until it gets to your oil filter. Over time the amount of dispersants in your oil will decrease as well as they will be trapped in the filter with any of the other particulate that gets trapped there.
These are just a few of the reasons why regular oil changes help keep your motor running solid, without wear, and clean from contaminants that can cause damage. If you ever have a question about how often you should change your oil you should always consult with the manufacturer of your vehicle.