In 1866 Dr. John Ellis founded the Coninuous Oil Refining Company to study the healing properties of crude oil. While he did not find any medicinal value, he did discover the potential of crude oil to be refined into high heat lubricating oil. He abandoned medical research and developed petroleum based lubricants to be used in steam engines. Until Dr. Ellis developed his lubricating oil from crude, oils were made from animal and vegetable fats which were highly inefficient. Dr. Ellis's refined crude oil had higher viscosity, worked effectively at high temperatures, resisted corrosion, and prevented gunk buildup in moving parts. Dr. Ellis's steam engine oil ultimately rendered steam engines obsolete. More effiecient oil allowed diesel and internal combustion engines to work more effectively than steam power and eventually led to the birth of the automotive industry.
Oil refining has advanced leaps and bounds since the 1800's. Modern engine oil is specifically engineered to meet the demands of specific vehicles under specific circumstances. There are three main types of motor oil. Conventional motor oil is refined directly from crude oil. Synthetic oil is manufactured chemically to provide the best possible oil performance. Blended oil is made from a combination of crude refined conventional oil and synthetic oil. Older vehicles will typically use conventional or blended oil, while modern vehicle's engines are designed to run soley on full synthetic oil. All modern oils, conventional or synthetic, have additional additives mixed into the oil to enhance the functions of the oil. Additives include; corrosion inhibitors to prevent rust inside the engine, detergents to clean debris from engine parts, and dispersants to limit build-up of debris in the engine. Some oils are made for vehicles with high mileage, high performance, cold weather, hot weather etc.
There is no doubt the environmental impact motor oil has on the environment. Motor oil is the largest source of water pollution in both fresh and saltwater, and it has a huge impact on the health of acquatic eco-systems. You should never dump used oil on the ground or toss into the household garbage. Used motor oil should always be disposed of at a facility with proper storage and disposal protocols. Usually, auto parts stores or repair shops will dispose of used oil for a small fee, if not free. Interestingly, because of the environmental impact of conventional and synthetic oils, there is a renewed interest in bio-organic oils made from animal and vegetable fats. Some car manufacturers have even developed engines optimized for bio-oil.
Motor oil is essential to keep your engine running and ensure proper function. Motor oil has four functions in the engine. It lubricates the engines moving parts to prevent damage from friction, cleans build-up of carbon and sludge from the engine, protects steel engine parts from corrosion, and removes heat from the engine cylinders. The oil is circulated around the engine by a built in recirculating oil pump. Oil is pumped into the valve train where it lubricates, cleans, and prevents corrosion to the valves, valve springs, lifters, and cams as well as coating valve seals to prevent oil leaking into the combustion chamber. The oil also coats the cylnder walls allowing the piston ring to glide up and down the cylinder with minimal contact to prevent damage and poor engine performance. The oil coats the crankshaft, connecting rods, and bearings keeping the parts lubricated and protected as well. As the oil is circulated around the engine it pulls heat away from the engine and collects in the oil pan where it is cooled by air flowing over the outside of the pan. Some vehicles, particularly high-performance or turbocharged vehicles, may have an oil cooler, similar to a radiator, to enhance the cooling efficiency of the oil. As the oil circulates, it will also collect metal shavings, carbon build-up, and other waste which reduce the oil's effectiveness. The oil passes through a filter to remove contaminants before cycling through the engine again.
Your vehicle's oil and oil filter should be inspected and/or changed periodically to prevent damage and extend the life of your engine. The standard interval for oil changes has been 3,000 miles or 3 months with inspection in between changes for conventional oil for years. However, more advanced synthetic oils are capable of maintaining oil efficiency much longer. The standard interval for synthetic oils is thats it should be changed at 5,000 miles or 6 months, but some are, according to manufacturers, capable of running 15,000 miles between changes. No matter what type of oil your vehicle uses, it is best practice to regularly check the status of your oil between changes, before a long trip, or before you may be hauling heavy loads. Motor oil should be checked while the engine is warm and left sitting off for 5-10 minutes. Oil level should be checked to ensure the proper amount of oil is in the engine and added if neccessary. However, if you experience oil loss between changes you will want to note any oil spots that may/may not be under the vehicle. The oil itself should be a golden brown to dark brown in color. If the oil is black that indicates that it is time for a change. Oil should be changed at least seasonally in colder climates where different oil weight is recommended for cold winters or hot summers.
Regular inspections and changes of the oil and oil filter are very important to the life of your vehicle's engine. Low oil levels are usually due to a leak somewhere in the oil system and can be easily identified by oil dripping from below the vehicle. Leaky valve seals can also allow oil to enter the combustion chamber and evacuated from the engine in the exhaust system. Either way, low or no oil in the engine could result in serious and costly damage to the engine, possibly even complete destruction of the engine. All engines will generate microscopic or very tiny metal particles from the movement of metal parts and is normal. But, larger obvious metal shavings seen when checking the oil, indicate abnormal wear in the engine and should be addressed as soon as possible. Large enough pieces of metal circulating within the oil could cause damage to other engine parts like valves and lifters. Oil that is turning dark black well before the oil change interval can indicate that there are large deposits of sludge in the engine that need to be cleaned and/or replaced. Oil sludge built-up will reduce engine performance and efficiency which, over the life of the vehicle, will increase operating costs and could eventually lead to early failure of engine components.
Full Blown Automotive recommends that your oil/filter be changed at a minimum of 5,000 miles or 6 months for most vehicles, and the oil to be checked at least twice in that period. Upon checking your oil, be sure to inform the mechanic or service manager if you've noticed low oil, oil spots under vehicle, obvious metal shavings, or if the oil is turning dark black significantly earlier than the scheduled interval. That information can help our mechanics identify other potential issues with your vehicle. When you have your oil and filter changed at Full Blown Automotive, we will not only replace your oil and filter based on the vehicle's manufacturer recommendations for your driving conditions, but will also perform an inspection of the vehicle (depending on what service package you choose) to identify other potential issues you may not be aware of such as; leaks, belt condition, tire condition, brake condition, fluid levels, exterior lighting, etc. We properly dispose of all used oil and filters in accordance with all regulations. Full Blown Automotive stocks filters and a full range of oils for most consumer vehicles, and we are always ready to provide you with highest standard of customer service when you get your oil changed with us. Visit the "Specials" page of the website, or give us a call (407-831-3855) and ask for a quote on our oil change packages today!