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Old 08-28-2010, 03:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: General Maintenance : Reference Guide and Terms

What is Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic oil is an oil product that contains additional chemical ingredients that are not present in crude oil. These additional ingredients are synthesized or created artificially and added to petroleum as a means of meeting specific needs for lubrication. Synthetic oil products are used for everything from lubricating large machinery at production plants to use in the engine of the family car.

The creation of synthetic oil can be traced back to the first half of the 20th century. Germany made great use of synthetic oil products during World War II, since the nation had very limited resources in terms of crude oil. The synthetic oil was used to maintain motors in factories, keep ground vehicles operational and even for use as heating oil in some cases.

By the 1960ís, the production of synthetic oil had become commonplace. Oil corporations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and South Africa all developed artificial oil products for use in industry settings as well as for consumers. Today, synthetic oil is routinely used in many different settings, especially with the automobile industry.

There are a number of advantages associated with the creation of synthetic oil products. First, the addition of artificial ingredients helps to ease the burden on dwindling crude oil reserves, making it possible to use natural oil more efficiently. Synthetic products often minimize oil sludge issues in automobiles and machine engines, which is a benefit for cars and other motor driven machinery that are older. The viscosity performance of synthetic oil compares favorably with natural oil products and in some cases may be preferable. For example, a car engine that has over a hundred thousand miles on it will likely encounter less wear and tear by making use of synthetic oil.

Another major benefit of synthetic oil is a more efficient performance when an engine or motor is started in cold weather. This means that the oil begins to lubricate all the working parts more quickly than crude oil products. This means less of a chance of gumming and unnecessary wear on the individual components of the engine.

While synthetic oil was originally developed as a way to deal with a shortage of crude oil products, the artificial oils of today are often utilized due to the better performance. During periods when the price of crude oil rises significantly, synthetic oil may also be a less expensive lubricant option.

Cooling System

What is Coolant?

Coolant refers to the mix of antifreeze and water that circulates through the engine, radiator and heater core. Heat generated in the engine is picked up by the coolant, and circulated by the water pump through the radiator in the front of the car and the heater core. Air blowing through the radiator cools the coolant, and it returns to the engine to cool the engine. In cold weather, coolant circulating through the heater core is used to provide warm air inside the passenger compartment.

There are a number of things that can go wrong with your car's cooling system, causing the engine to run warmer than it should.

The following is a list of things that are easily checked at home by yourself.

Check under the car, inspect the radiator and look around the engine compartment for telltale signs of a coolant leak: Coolant is greenish, slippery and sweet-smelling.

Visit your mechanic if you know there's a leak but can't find it. A mechanic can detect a slow or small coolant leak by pressurizing the cooling system.

A loose fan belt or an electric fan that isn't working correctly can cause overheating even if there's enough coolant in the cooling system.

A loose water pump belt or a broken water pump can also cause overheating even if there's enough coolant in the cooling system.

Coolant can leak into the car (on the floor by the passenger's feet) if there's a leak in the heater core.

A thermostat stuck shut can produce similar symptoms resulting in coolant not flowing.
  • The engine's coolant level may be too low.
  • The engine's drive belts may be broken or slipping.
  • The electric cooling fan may not be coming on.
  • The ignition timing may be set wrong.
  • There may be a vacuum leak.
  • The engine may have mechanical problems.
  • You have been pushing the car too hard and making it work too hard.
  • There may be a leak in the cooling system.
  • The engine's head gasket may be leaking.
  • The radiator may be clogged.
04' Nissan Maxima - [Supercharged w/ HR Swapped Motor & Fully Built Auto Trans]
98' Nissan Maxima - [VQ35DE 6-Speed Supercharged]

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