Oil, Lube and Filter Change Service
As most of us know today the oil in your vehicle needs to be changed usually every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on how you drive and what your daily driving requirements are.
From the title you can tell there are three components to this service; oil, lubricant and a filter.
THE OIL - Oil is available in different formulas and grades. The formulas include:
synthetic - better extreme high and low temperature performance
synthetic blend - synthetic and conventional base oils combined that resist oxidation with excellent low temperature properties
high-mileage - created for older vehicles and any vehicle with over 75,000 miles reducing oil burn-off while assisting in preventing oil leaks that often occur in older engines
conventional - available in a variety of viscosity grades and levels of quality, recommended for vehicles with simply designed engines and normal driving styles.
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed an oil rating system to categorize oil by its resistance to flow or viscosity called grade designations. For example; SAE 0W-20 is a multi-grade oil that protects the engine at high temperatures and flows easily at low temperatures. The “0” designates the cold temperature rating, the “W” represents winter, the “20” represents its high temperature rating. For a comparison SAE 5W-30 and SAE 0W-30 flow more easily at colder temperatures than SAE 10W-30 while providing protection in temperatures that are extreme. Your vehicle's owner's manual will instruct on the proper oil specs, viscosity grade and even oil drain interval.
The American Petroleum Institute or API was created to assist consumers in identifying engine oils that meet the least performance standards set by the makers of both engines and vehicles. The starburst on the right shows this oil is specifically formulated for gasoline engines. The starburst symbol indicates that the oil has met the current standards of the combined effort of U.S. and Japanese automobile manufacturers - the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee or ILSAC. This API/ILSAC Starburst is located on the front label of qualified motor oil containers. The API donut is usually located on the back label of motor oil containers. As you see it is divided into three parts - the top half of the circle displays the API performance level rating and whether the oil is for gasoline or diesel engines. The center circle indicates the SAE viscosity, and lower half of the circle will note resource or energy conserving properties.
THE LUBRICANT - There are synthetic and petroleum based lubricants. As lubricants are continuously exposed to various levels of degradation and oxidation they must be formulated to work in a wide variety of machinery components, environments and demands. A lubricant can be semi-solid or solid like grease or the Teflon® tape, or liquid like hydraulic and motor oils, or even powdered like molybdenum disulfide or dry graphite. But the purpose is the same - to create a barrier or coating that protects moving parts from too much wear, oxidation and contamination. Lubricants are used in several applications in a car or truck and motor oil is one - it is addressed above. Other lubricants are chassis grease including high temperature, electronic grease, gear oil, graphite, transmission fluid, penetrating lubricants, wheel bearing and white grease.
Transmission fluid prevents corrosion, conditions seals, lubricates moving parts and cools the transmission itself. It is colored brightly to make it easier to detect a leak. It should be checked often while the vehicle sits level and the engine is operating. The dipstick is often located near the back of the engine compartment.
Chassis grease, wheel bearing grease and high temperature wheel bearing grease have been the most common automotive greases in the past in older vehicles. Some vehicles, mostly trucks, require grease to be injected in the steering and suspension components and axel joints. Newer vehicles today most often do not require lubrication as the components are sealed.
Gear oil is often used in a manual transmission and the differential and also where high temperature lubrication is necessary. Its viscosity is usually above 75 denoted as 75W-90. It has a particular smell.
Penetration lubricants are applied to lubricate and loosen rusted, seized and corroded nuts and bolts.
White grease was created for metal to metal applications where the parts must be protected from water. It has a high temperature rating and cannot be diluted with water or washed away.
Electronic grease or heat-sink grease is used obviously on electrical connections where heat cannot be allowed to build up. It does not conduct electricity.
Graphite is most often used in door locks as it cannot be applied to any part that will be exposed to oils.
THE FILTER - A filter is usually made of high-strength steel housing with a variety of materials inside that strain or filter the oil as it passes through the materials. The filter contains an anti-drain back valve to stop the oil from running out of the filter when the engine is not operating. An oil filter removes contaminants from the oil and allows the oil to flow through the engine. Oil will flow around the filter when it becomes clogged - a safety feature - but it is recommended to change the filter before this occurs.