Your car's supply of oil is supposed to be a closed loop -- you put in several quarts and that same amount is constantly filtered and recycled. Rarely, if ever, should you have to keep adding new oil. You only need to replace it every so often per the manufacturers' directions.
So, if all of a sudden you see the "check engine oil" or oil pressure light come on, especially while driving, you may have serious trouble. Even if the amount of oil is fine, sludge may have deposited in a crucial oil passageway, blocking the flow and circulation of oil throughout the engine. If fresh, viscous oil can't circulate, the engine will quickly grind to a halt and probably suffer serious damage.
In this case, the deposits are more than just small flakes -- they can congeal into thick chunks of material that not only look gross, but also have a potentially catastrophic effect on your vehicle's engine (and your wallet, too).
Clearly, when it comes to oil deposits, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
While some makes and models are more prone to oil deposits than others, there are several things you can do to keep your vehicle's engine healthy:
- Change the oil and oil filter regularly -- follow the manufacturer's recommended intervals
- Pay attention to signs from your car, like difficult starts, any type of lurching or surging while driving and so on
- Use synthetic oils, if you can afford them
- Be careful with using additives, which may react chemically with your oil in undesired ways
For more information about oil deposits and other related topics, follow the links below.
- AA1Car.com. "Turbocharger Diagnosis and Repair." (May 23, 2011) http://www.aa1car.com/library/turbo_repair.htm
- Carbibles.com. "The Engine Oil Bible." (May 17, 2011) http://www.carbibles.com/engineoil_bible.html
- Denso Australia. "Diagnosis of a Used Spark Plug." (May 17, 2011) http://www.denso.com.au/Products/Automotive/Spark-Plugs/Diagnosis-of-a-Used-Spark-Plug
- Denso.com. "Lowering Your Car's Cholesterol." (May 15, 2011) http://www.denso.com.au/Products/Automotive/Spark-Plugs/Diagnosis-of-a-Used-Spark-Plug
- ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants. "Oil Coking. Part One: The Process." 2009. (May 17, 2011) http://www.exxonmobil.com/lubes/exxonmobil/emal/files/TTopic6_OilCoking1.pdf
- NGK Australia. "Oxygen Sensors." (May 18, 2011) http://www.ngk.com.au/sensors_tech.php
- Oil Medic. "Deposit Formation." (May 20, 2011) http://www.oilmedic.com/additives.htm#DF
- Total Motorcycle. "Spark Plug Guide." (May 23, 2011) http://www.ngk.com.au/sensors_tech.php
Is it possible for something as simple as new motor mounts to increase engine response in your car or truck? Find out at HowStuffWorks.