If you know anything about an automobile, you know that it is important to cool the engine as efficiently as possible in order to maintain effective operating conditions. Water needs to flow through the engine block and must be diverted to the front of the vehicle where it is cooled by passing wind. Yet, did you know that it is equally as important to ensure that the oil that lubricates the motor is kept within certain operating temperatures? What do you need to know about this system so that you can make sure that your everyday motoring is as reliable as possible?
Engine oil is a very carefully designed and manufactured liquid that has a variety of different properties. Primarily, it's designed to lubricate the scores of internal parts found in an engine and is meant to operate under defined conditions.
Oil performance is measured in viscosity, which defines how easily it can flow and how it can cope with heat variations. As things warm up within the engine, the viscosity will decrease, and if it goes down too far, it will lose many of its protective properties. It may flow more easily, but it may therefore be thinner and less capable of managing friction between moving parts.
The Oil Cooler in Action
Most modern-day vehicles are fitted with an oil cooling system. This relies on a miniature radiator with similar characteristics to the larger water radiator and, often, sits at the front of the vehicle. The theory is the same, as oil will be pumped through hoses from the engine to the cooler and back again. Once it arrives within the engine block, the heat that had accumulated will now have dissipated, and the oil will, once again, be at its intended viscosity level.
Checking the Cooler
From time to time, you should always take your vehicle to a mechanic so that they can complete a comprehensive service. While they will change the oil and filter, they should also have a look at the oil cooler and associated hoses. After all, it may be necessary to flush the cooler, and some of the hoses or connections may need to be replaced, depending on their age and exposure to damage.
Doing Your Part
Remember, the temperature inside the engine can reach extreme levels, and you need to ensure that the circulating oil is always operating at peak performance. Therefore, never miss a service visit so that the oil cooler and all ancillaries can be checked and certified.