Engine oil - what it is and why is it needed
ZigWheels takes you back to the basics, to highlight what engine oil is and why it is important


Yes, oil is available on Earth as a natural resource, but that doesn’t mean that you can simply walk up to your nearest oil well, fill a bucket and pour it into your car. Before the engine oil actually reaches you in that can, it has to go through a lot of processing and distilling. Engine oils are manufactured with two basic components – base oils and additives. The base oils form nearly 70-85 per cent of the composition of your final product while the remaining are additives.  These additives also include viscosity modifiers to prolong the life of the engine oil and make it more effective even when put through extreme conditions.     

Now we all know that for any motor vehicle to function, it needs engine oil, but why? Engine oils have several very important functions in the working of an automobile: 


Friction buster

In a motor engine there are parts that move/rub against each other, for instance the friction between the piston and the cylinder liner can lead to loss of energy which can be otherwise used more efficiently. Engine oil reduces friction between such parts not only for efficient energy management but also to reduce wear and hence prolong engine life. 


Cleaning agent

This is without doubt one of the most important functions of an engine oil. In a new motor, particles from the moving parts generally tend to disperse. Engine oil helps in reducing the damage to the piston/cylinder done by these loose particles by removing them out with the help of the oil filter. It clears away dirt, debris and deposits to ensure smoother running of the engine. It removes alien dirt particles/carbon and renders it harmless until it is removed during the next oil change.


Heat absorber

Friction causes a lot of heat. Engine oil forms a protective layer between two moving surfaces that that not only restricts direct contact between the two surfaces but also reduces the effort needed to do so. Further, since liquids are good conductors of heat, it also absorbs the heat that is generated hence helping in reducing the overall temperature of the engine. Engine oils carry heat from hot areas and distribute it around the engine.


Corrosion fighter

Strange as it may sound, internal parts of the engine are subject to rust and corrosion as well. When the oil is flushed through the engine forming a protective layer, it prevents these parts from rust and corrosion prolonging the life of the engine. 



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