Replacement of Oil and Technical Fluids: Why It Is Important To Maintain the Car on Time

Regular car maintenance is the key to a long and faithful service to its owner.

The main components in this procedure are fluids and filters. And engine oil can be considered to be the most important one. It provides lubrication for all rubbing elements of the engine, protecting them from increased wear. But how often do you need to have your car repaired and what can happen if you do not do it in time? Let us get this straight.

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Oil replacement

Automakers always specify a required interval for replacing engine and transmission oils, filters, brake fluid, antifreeze and Freon gas. But can we rely on the numbers listed in this service book? Not exactly. The fact is that an interval “from replacement to replacement” is calculated by a manufacturer in the normal, standard operation of a vehicle, which, unfortunately, is not always such. Increased loads, harsh temperature conditions, and even downtime in traffic jams can significantly reduce the life of a particular liquid, affecting its properties and quality. A combination of various external factors can lead to the fact that the last 2000-3000 km before a regulated oil replacement, a car, for example, will run on unsuitable oil, which will significantly affect the overall resource of an engine.

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From the above it follows that if oil change in your “manual” is recommended by a manufacturer for every 15,000 km of mileage or every 6 months, then it is better to reduce this number by 15-20%. This will definitely not make it worse, but the risk of exposing an engine to increased wear will be much less. Certainly, there are many ways to check technical properties of each liquid. And if this is not a big problem for antifreeze and brake fluid due to the existence of various devices that can be found at almost any service centers, then the situation with engine oil is somewhat different. You cannot do without a lab here. Experts can easily determine its quality by making a number of relevant analyses, but is the game worth the candle? The answer is simple – of course not. There has long been a popular method for this procedure when the quality of engine oil is determined by eye. To do this, just take out a dipstick and look at the state of liquid on it. Good engine oil must be transparent. If this property of the substance is lost, and in addition to everything there is a clear black hue in it – then there is only a direct road to the car service. Obviously, you need to change oil along with an oil filter.

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Engine cleansing agents

Drivers around the globe are still arguing over the use of cleansing agents before changing oil. However, numerous experiments have confirmed their positive effect on the procedure, rejecting all possible rumors about its harm. Almost all famous oil brands have these «additives” in their assortment, which finally confirms the fact of their use. A cleansing agent is a small bottle of a special substance that is poured into a running engine a few minutes before oil is drained or pumped out. The mechanism of its operation is quite simple: it dilutes old oil, allowing it to be washed more efficiently from all hard-to-reach places of an engine and its walls. Old oil will remain in the engine anyway, but if it is possible to reduce its amount, why not do it?

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  1. Your engine oil must indicate a name and viscosity. Such designations must be clear and avoid ambiguity.
  2. It is desirable to have an intended end-use of this engine oil specified.
  3. It is mandatory that your canister must be marked with the appropriate approvals. Make sure that it is listed in the «Freigaben/Approvals» column and not in «Compliance with the tolerance», «Meets the requirements of the tolerance», «Recommended» and other marketing «tricks» that many manufacturers sin.
  4. If your engine oil has actually been tested, it receives this document and becomes officially approved and, as a result, allowed to be used during the warranty period of cars.
  5. Approvals on the oil canister must match the tolerance in the official approval.
  6. An important detail – be sure to pay attention to the period of time during which this document will be valid (the approval may be expired!).
  7. The requirements for modern engines also affect the engine oil. This oil does not disrupt the operation of the DPF…
  8. … and can withstand Longlife III — oil change interval of 50,000 km (agree, not every oil can boast of such achievements).
  9. And finally, it is about the country of origin and implementation of engine oil. This information is the most vague, and often just deceptive. The inscription made in the European Union can be understood as anything. This is of course Germany, but at the same time the EU is Romania and Lithuania. The country of manufacture must be clearly and unambiguously indicated and confirmed by a barcode (for example, the first three digits of the German barcode are 400-440). Engine oil sold on the German domestic market must have the GVO license (it is forbidden to sell oil without the GVO license in Germany).

Standards

It is impossible not to mention viscosity, as well as a type of engine oil. Synthetic oils are known to have a longer service life than mineral oils. But if you prefer a particular type, you should make sure that the selected canister meets standards specified by the manufacturer of your car. Let us consider this question on the example of Volkswagen engines. The manufacturer assigns a specific standard to each engine, such as VW 502.00 or VW 505.00. When purchasing oil for such engines, just look at the label on the canister. The entire list of standards must contain these numbers (VW 502.00 or VW 505.00). The same principle is used to determine standards and tolerances for other manufacturers: BMW LL01, MB 229.3, etc.

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Viscosity

It would seem that incomprehensible abbreviations such as 5W30, 10W40 and others can mislead the average person, but in fact there is nothing complicated here. The first digit indicates the minimum temperature overboard at which oil will not thicken. This figure is deciphered quite simply. It is enough to subtract 35 from it, and we get a temperature in °C, at which the liquid will lose its property. The second number after the letter W indicates the upper limit of the temperature outside, at which the integrity of oil film will not be violated. There is nothing to add or take away – the figure directly indicates the temperature in °C, to which the substance will not lose its basic properties. From the above, it follows that the 5W30 oil has an operating range of -30°C to +30°C, and the 10W40 oil will operate from -25°C to +40°C.

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What happens if you do not change oil

The main tasks of engine oil are to lubricate rubbing surfaces and remove heat from metal elements. When a substance becomes unusable, it loses its viscosity, simultaneously losing its basic properties. It is not able to reduce friction properly, which is why moving parts begin to wear out. In addition, oil is no longer able to remove heat, as a result of which an engine begins to simply overheat, thereby exposing even more wear. The most dangerous thing in this case is a blockage of channels with old oil, sediment, soot and other waste accumulated in it over the entire life of its service. As a result, its circulation in an engine is disrupted, and an engine experiences a so-called oil starvation, which will bring a serviceable powertrain to overhaul in the shortest possible time.

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Brake fluid

Brake fluid, as you know, also needs to be replaced. Manufacturers regulate this procedure for every 60,000 km of mileage, also noting that it is undesirable to use substance for more than 3 years. On average, it is better to change brake fluid at least once every 2 years. A brake system is very important and, as strange as it may sound, brake fluid is one of the main elements in a car. When it becomes unusable, a car simply stops do not brake normally, and a pedal becomes «soft». It is quite easy to understand whether liquids in your car need to be replaced. To do this, there is a special brake fluid tester that instantly checks its composition and gives an assessment of performance.

Despite such a long period of service, it is still worth checking brake fluid. The ideal option is to test the condition of brake fluid at each oil change in the engine. This procedure will be performed for free in any service center, if you already have your car repaired there.

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Not enough freon gas

It is quite simple to determine the fact that a car's air conditioning system does not have enough freon gas. If the air in the passenger compartment is not cold enough at the minimum temperature, or if the “A/C” option is enabled or disabled, the air flow temperature does not change, then you need to add some freon. Air conditioning is like shoes. If you take care of it and maintain it on time, it will last a very long time. Even if a climate system cools well enough, it is worth checking the level of freon in any case.

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