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If there was only one, it would be her! Emptying is the most important operation that you must not miss for the engine to work properly. Why ? For the simple reason that internal engine parts move and rub against each other with tremendous speed. These are the famous “rpm” displayed on the counter. Just by starting the mechanism without accelerating, each piston goes up and down in its cylinder about 1,000 times a minute. So we could not see them move properly with the naked eye if we cut the block in half (on the other hand, we rarely open our engine in the middle).
All this friction requires good lubrication. The bottom of the engine for this has a tank filled with oil, which is sent everywhere around the moving parts by means of a pump. This oil also passes through a filter at each cycle of its circuit. Over time, this oil wears out and loses its lubricating properties. Drainage becomes necessary.
When to drain?
When you fill its tank with new oil, it is transparent, slightly yellow. At the end of its life cycle, it will be completely black and opaque. For over time, it is filled with impurities mainly from microcontacts with the combustion of fuel in each cylinder. In fact, the combustion chambers are “dry” and the oil under the pistons does not penetrate there thanks to a series of seals around the pistons, called “rings”. However, these joints are not 100% sealed, and a tiny portion of the oil, which also lubricates the inner walls of the cylinders, passes into the combustion chambers and recovers the soot generated by the successive burns of the fuel.
The oil then becomes black and less effective. In addition, small metal particles contained in the engine due to friction. Second consequence, more or less observable depending on the vehicle, a decrease in the level of oil, which evaporates at the same time as the fuel at the time of combustion.
Therefore, it is advisable to check the oil level approximately every three months. On the meter, it should be between the lower and upper indicators. An operation to be performed flat and with a cold engine (the oil takes up volume with the heat).
Top-up can be done to stay at the right level, but if the loss is too high and regular, there may be a leak. A visit to the mechanic is important. Do not overfill the oil tank either, as too much lubrication can cause parts such as the turbocharger to run amok. Driving with too much oil, or too little oil, can therefore lead to breakage …
As for the complete oil change, it should be carried out according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, generally every 10,000 to 20,000 kilometers (7,000 km for a diesel) and in most cases every two years.
The longest deadlines advertised by certain brands as a selling point for longer maintenance intervals are based on “long-lasting” oils, but we can only advise you too much to perform your oil change every year or 10,000 km depending on this. use, the best guarantee of reliability for your car.
Which oil to choose?
The easiest way is to respect the oil recommended by the manufacturer. They are denoted by a code of the type “5W40”, the first number which determines the cold viscosity, which will be lower with a low number, therefore more liquid, the W corresponds to “Winter” (winter in French) for the whole season compatibility and the last value is a hot lubrication index which will be higher with a high number. The choice depends on the usual outdoor temperature ranges that your car faces on a daily basis as well as the use of the vehicle (road or competition). Therefore, the best choice not to make a mistake is to stick to the value that the brand indicates.
All that is left is to empty the old one by removing the drain plug and its seal under the crankcase as well as the oil filter, and then replacing them with new ones. Then simply fill the tank through the filler cap at the top of your engine, making sure that the level does not exceed the maximum indicator on the dipstick. A common operation that is easier to perform in a garage, with a lift, most often during the periodic inspection. Its price can be from € 50 to € 150 depending on the brand. In any case, a good habit to adopt for a well-oiled mechanism.