Keeping our cars in top running condition depends on a regular schedule of maintenance that includes changing the oil and using the correct motor oil. But what do we know about engine oil or bulk motor oil in general?
The Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE, established a numerical grading system for classifying bulk motor oil and motor oil standards based on the viscosity characteristics. This systems is where we get the classifications of bulk motor oil that includes 20, 50, 5w50 and others. Using the correct type and amount of oil in your car is important. If you use too little oil in your car, it can cause excessively high oil temperatures because heat from the engine is more concentrated. If you use too much bulk motor oil, it may cause the parts of the crankshafts to dip into the oil creating a foaming effect or fluctuations in oil pressure.
Also, did you know that automotive motor oil does not actually wear out; rather it simply becomes dirty. This dirty oil needs to be disposed of properly or recycled. According to the Environmental protection Agency, approximately 200 million gallons of this used oil are disposed of improperly every year. If this oil finds its way to bodies of water, it can create a layer of scum that can stop sunlight and oxygen from getting to the water. This in turn, will kill plants, fish and other aquatic life.
From a recycling perspective, recycling bulk motor oil is very beneficial. It takes about 42 gallons of crude oil to create only 2.5 quarters of new bulk motor oil. However, when one gallon of used oil is recycled it will create that same amount. When you consider that U.S. drivers produce about 1.3 billion gallons of used bulk motor oil each year, it seems only logical that we recycle oil as much as possible.
When you take your mechanic or oil change shop to get an oil change, you may want to check to see if they recycle bulk motor oil. If they do not, you may want to enlighten them about the facts of recycling oil, and you may soon have the thanks of these companies as they implement recycling programs.