Latest Engine Maintenance Techniques that can save your engine!

Discover why a simple regular ENGINE OIL CHANGE can go a long way in having good engine maintenance


Most vehicle owners should realize by now that the biggest cost of repairs comes from engine replacement if there is major engine breakdown. The newer it is; the more expensive you have to pay because of all the extra features to make the engine more fuel efficient and reliable. Some engines will last 300,000 miles or more and will not require replacement whereas some barely make it to 100,000 miles and would need an engine overhaul. What cause this big difference? DIRTY ENGINE OIL is the common culprit pointed by most garages and GOOD PROPER engine oil change is the most important engine maintenance you can give to your vehicle.


Newer engine that are made smaller and faster speed will result in higher engine temperatures and operating pressures which put more demand on the engine oil. Try this: have you noticed more and more engines are now made of aluminum cylinder block and heads? Aluminum was introduced to make the engine lighter but compared to steel; it has a quicker expansion rate so that it makes the use of proper engine lubrication oil more critical.

Proper choice of engine oil and interval is important because not all drivers are using their vehicles the same way.

  • Cars used for work with lots of high way driving
  • Cars used for short distances but lots of stop and go driving
  • Cars used for commercial traffic but under heavy loads and acceleration

Looking at the example above, regardless of what type of engine you have; the first one will require normal oil interval since the engine is used under stable condition. The second case requires more oil changes because the engine requires condition that is changing all the times. The 3rd case requires extreme care therefore more oil changes because the engine is used under severe and harsh conditions that can result in premature engine failure.

Your engine oil is the lifeblood of the engine mechanical system and it does the following functions to your vehicle:

Lubricate the rubbing combustion surface walls

Engine oil provides a film of liquid cushion between 2 moving metals that produce heat and wear because of friction. With engine oil, the heat is carried away from the moving parts to improve engine efficiency. At the same time, the coat of oil in the metals minimizes the build up of oxygen which produces rust or corrosion.

Engine oil cools your engine

Under your engine pistons, an oil spray nozzle is used to cool down the cylinder walls to remove combustion heat on top of the piston. This heated oil then fall in the oil pan below to be cooled by the oil pan baffles and later sprayed again to the pistons. To maximize the cooling process, some engine oil is also made to flow thru the oil cooler under the engine radiator.

Seal the combustion chambers thru the oil soaked piston rings

Although the piston rings are staggered in the piston to seal the combustion chamber, it must be coated with oil. Because of the oil, any trapped carbon particles formed inside the piston rings will be removed by the oil making it seal better.

Engine oil cleans your engine

It cleans the engine by getting the oil carbon by products in suspended state using oil additive such as Teflon so it can be fed and separated at the engine oil filter. Carbon miniature particles are produced during extreme heat and pressure of combustion which later form into sludge that can restrict oil flow to engine oil pump suction screen and the engine oil galleries.

The gasoline used for combustion also produce sulfur which can react to moisture and oxygen during combustion to form acids which is really bad for your engine oil. To remedy this, engine oil are mixed with neutralizing agents to minimize acid formation.

How engine oil is made

Engine oil when formulated in refineries comes as mixture of base and additive oil. Base oil comes from the ground after crude oil is refined; however the base oil itself contains a lot of irregular molecules that produces friction. To remedy this, additives are added to the base oil such as chemical detergents to remove gum deposits; chemical agents to absorb air; and other agents to prevent wear and acid formation.

That is why when we speak of terms such as viscosity, flash point, pour point and ash content; these are all oil properties that must be met to meet various driving conditions. The more expensive the refinery process is, the more costly is your engine oil. When you change your oil; it is done when the oil additive starts to break down. This is ironic because it only makes up about 15-20 percent of the vehicles engine oil.

Synthetic engine oil was first developed by the Germans during WWII as an alternative to mineral oil. Similar to base oil but it is man made so that the molecules are more uniform and produces less friction. When added with additives, synthetic oil has proven properties more effective than mineral based oil.


engine oil is mineral based oil mixed with 30% of synthetic oil. This oil is a good substitute for synthetic oil and could be bought at a cheaper price.

Here are some benefits of using synthetic oil

Better flow at colder temperature

Improve resistance for boiling at higher temperature

Improve resistance to acid formation

Here are common symptoms to watch if you suspect your engine has started to form sludge

Remove your engine valve cover cap and check the rockers inside. A contaminated engine with sludge will usually show there but if you rub your finger under the valve cover itself, no trace of sludge should remain in your finger. (Do this test first thing in the morning after the engine has cooled down overnight).

Pull out your dipstick and check on top where the dipstick rest on the dipstick tube. If you have sludge, this will be a spot where it will also accumulate.

While the engine is warmed up and idling; pull out the dipstick tube. If the engine is starting to wear out due to high mileage, you will see some air pressure coming out commonly known as blow by. This means combustion gases are leaking past the piston rings and as soon as it cooled down, these gases will also form as sludge. An advance state of blow-by happens when you rev the engine and dirty engine oil actually shoots up from the dipstick tube hole.


If you see milky creamy oil on the dipstick, this is not sludge but a result of vapor condensation inside your engine after it has warmed up and cooled overnight. On extreme cases, you can also have this if the engine head gasket has failed and you can check this if your engine coolant level is disappearing in the coolant reservoir.

Multi-grade oil?

On places where there is variation in weather conditions, it is a good practice to have properties of oil that has the right viscosity. This means when the ambient temperature is cold, the oil will not freeze and at the same time, not be so thin during hot summer weather.

To make this possible, a viscosity additives called polymer is added to the oil to make it handle different temperatures. So if you read the label that says SAE 30W oil, it is single grade oil but if it says SAE 5W 30 oil, it is multi grade oil. On the first example, W stands for weight whereas W on the multi grade oil stands for winter. So for SAE 5W 30 oil, it means the oil has the ability to start an engine at 5 degrees C and 30 is a viscosity index or fluid thickness at recommended operating temperatures.

Selecting the right engine oil

To select better oil and have good engine maintenance, follow the car manufacturer guidelines as recommended by the vehicle service manuals. All the standard ratings for oil will be described in the manual and all you do is exceed that if you want a better engine oil whether it is regular mineral base or synthetic oil.

If you can afford it, it is recommended to use synthetic oil which is known to have excellent qualities that prevents the breakup of additives in your engine oil. Remember: what you are really paying is the oil additives and this is the one you have to watch. So when you see the oil turning black, the oil additive is already deteriorated and you better have an oil change in a hurry.


1.) Most engine wear occurs on the first few minutes after you start your engine cold. To minimize, install an engine coolant block heater or inline hose coolant heater during winter.

2.) Synthetic oil has some additives that can help seal engine oil leaks. If you have an old engine using conventional oil, its time to switch to synthetic oil.

3.) Semi-synthetic oil is an upgrade of your conventional mineral base oil but comparable to synthetic oil but at a cheaper cost.

4.) Thicker grade of oil is better on high mileage vehicles so if your engine has over 100,000 miles and was using 10W 30 oil you can switch to 10W 40 oil.

5.) Using synthetic oil after 30,000 miles will not hurt your engine, as a matter of fact the engine will benefit from it.

6.) If your engine sits out for a long time and you want to start it, pour some trany oil on each plug hole and soak it overnight. Crank it first before starting and install the spark plugs. This is proven to restore the engine compression and have a good start. (Just make sure to do it on well ventilated areas).

7.) For new vehicles, you can switch to synthetic oil as soon as you have your first oil change. There is no need to wait until the piston rings are seated or broken in.

8.) When switching from conventional to synthetic oil, there is no need to flush the engine. If the engine is badly neglected, do short oil change interval after the 1-2 oil changes. This will remove all the sludge and contaminants left behind by the old oil.

9.) Switching to synthetic oil for engine using conventional oil that puffs blue smoke might be reduced after the switch. Conventional oil is often less stable compared to synthetic oil.

10.) When in doubt, always follow the vehicle manufacturer recommendation for selecting the grade of the engine oil.

Here are some example of factory recommended engine oil and fluids for some vehicles

NOTE: When choosing or replacing your engine oil, use the recommended factory guidelines below example: choosing SAE 5W-20 is better than SAE 10W-30 because SAE 5W-20 protects you in colder temperature. However, if you live in hotter regions, you are better off using SAE 10W-30)

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