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Extended Drains
The secret to long engine life

 
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Valvoline Conventional Motor Oil
 
Talking about motor oil is about as exciting as watching paint dry. But as a car owner, there is likely no subject that poses greater importance in the long-term operation of your automobile. Today's, and even yesterday's, engines are highly sophisticated machines that operate under extreme conditions for extended periods of time. Inside your engine, moving metal parts heat up as they rub against one another. Without proper lubrication to reduce friction and disperse heat, engine components are bound to suffer significant wear, which often results in premature failure with repair costs ranging in the thousands. Replacing your motor oil at regular intervals is the best way to prevent premature wear and ensure your car runs right over the long haul.
 
How often should you change your oil? The answer is simple—it depends. The general guideline for changing motor oil is every three months or 3,000 miles—whichever comes first. The manufacturer of your car most likely has its own recommended drainage interval. Listed in your owner's manual, this change interval represents the bare minimum required to keep your warranty in effect. After all, why would a carmaker pay to replace an engine that's been running on the same oil for 50,000 miles?
Why change?
Just like your favorite film star, engine oil begins to wear with age. That is because this complex lubricant is actually more than just oil. It is the combination of base oils and chemicals that serve as performance additives. These additives must be present in the proper amounts to guarantee maximum protection and performance for your car. While present they serve many functions in your engine such as creating a thin layer between metal parts when your engine is off and oil returns to the pan, protecting the base oils from oxidative and thermal breakdown, preventing deposits that can cause premature wear and providing anti-corrosion protection that neutralizes acids formed in the combustion process.
 
The problem with these additives, though, is that your engine begins consuming them as soon as they are poured into your valve cover, which in turn reduces their positive impact on your engine. Once the additives have been consumed to the point that they can no longer perform their jobs, their protective benefits are lost and oil begins to break down. Once motor oil begins to break down, the engine is at risk of suffering internal damage due to lack of lubrication.
Drain early, drain often
Although some car manufacturers and motor oils claim that maintenance intervals may be extended, there are still many benefits to changing your oil every 3,000 miles. For starters, the emission of dangerous pollutants like hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide increase as oil ages. In other words, old oil increases air pollution. Further, cars that have been subjected to extended drain intervals may continue to emit higher levels of pollution even after they adopt a more conservative maintenance schedule. Fuel consumption also increases as oil gets old, and vehicles may continue to burn higher quantities of fuel even after the oil is changed.
 
Perhaps most important, oil that has been run in an engine for an extended period of time is actually more hazardous to the environment as it contains more contaminants. Remember, recycling used oil allows it to be re-refined into new oil for your car or in other forms to conserve energy. In fact, just two gallons of recycled oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours, according to the American Petroleum Institute, the agency that sets standards for oil production.
Increased performance and protection
Fuel costs are rising and repair bills are becoming astronomical. Protecting your investment to the best of your ability is perhaps the safest way to prevent unnecessary expenses and frustration. And while today's conventional oil is leaps and bounds beyond the stuff our grandfathers used, some oils can provide an added level of protection against premature failure. These oils, usually synthetic or a synthetic blend, provide increased resistance to thermal breakdown and maintain their viscosity throughout a wider temperature range.
 
What is viscosity? Viscosity is the term used to describe how fluid the oil is. If the oil is thin and runny, the oil is less viscous. If the oil is thick and slow to pour, the oil is more viscous. This is important because every type of oil operates at an optimum temperature, but not all engines, or environments can maintain that temperature.
 
Conventional oils are often thick and slow in extreme cold making it difficult to start your engine, providing less protection when it does start and increasing fuel consumption. At extreme high temperatures conventional oils can thin out and thus fail to provide proper lubrication, they can also chemically breakdown. All of these scenarios expose your engine to potential harm due to decreased oil performance. Synthetic oils maintain a more consistent viscosity over a broad temperature range and are less prone to chemical breakdown allowing them to better protect your engine when things cool down or heat up. As a result, owners who use premium oils see improved performance and longer life from their investment. And that makes it all worthwhile.

 

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