Every year, millions of people across the United States get an oil change for their vehicle. However, very few people understand why lubrication is so important for their cars. The following guide explores how lubricants work in vehicles.
Vehicles have many moving parts. In addition to the engine, vehicles have transmissions, axles, gear boxes, and a variety of other parts. All of these components have parts in which metal comes into direct contact with other metal. Over time, metal surfaces rubbing against each other experience friction, which can cause substantial wear and tear on a vehicle.
Lubrication is very important for the engine of a vehicle. Motor oil helps to lubricate the pistons in an engine assembly. Whenever a vehicle engine completes one full rotation, the pistons in that engine undergo a compressive / explosive process. Gas and oxygen are forced into each piston, where they are compressed to a very high PSI. Once they are under pressure, a spark inside each piston triggers an explosion, which helps to turn the engine.
The pistons in an engine fit very tightly inside the casing of an engine. The engineering tolerances for a piston are less than a single millimeter. Because of this, friction can quickly become a problem in many types of engines. To reduce the risk of damage related to friction, engines continually apply a stream of oil to the top of the engine. This oil then seeps into each of the pistons, providing essential lubrication.
Lubrication also plays an important role in a vehicle’s transmission. Transmission fluid is a special type of lubricant that helps ensure the gear assembly inside a transmission drivetrain doesn’t lock up. The transmission helps to shift the gears in a vehicle cleanly from one speed to another. If the transmission fluid in a vehicle isn’t changed on a regular basis, the transmission can potentially lock up. Even if a transmission doesn’t lock up, poor maintenance can have a negative impact on fuel mileage and vehicle performance. To avoid the risk of this happening, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is properly maintained on a regular basis.
Lubricants also play an important role in dissipating heat. If an engine doesn’t have enough oil in it, it can be prone to overheating. Oil helps to remove heat from the pistons in an engine and disperse it. Without oil, engines can get so hot that the metal inside them actually begins to melt.
By maintaining your vehicle on a regular basis, it’s possible to avoid many common problems. An automotive service technician can help ensure your vehicle is properly lubricated and maintained. With the right preventive care, your vehicle can last for hundreds of thousands of miles.