In any engine motor oil is a necessity. The internal combustion engine cannot work without it. A lack of oil in the engine can cause it to seize up. In essence this means that the moving components become welded together because of the intense heat and the extremely rapid motion of them rubbing together. Oil helps to prevent this by lubricating these moving surfaces. By stopping them from directly impacting each other friction is reduced and so is heat. Less friction means the engine can function more efficiently.
In car engines the oil also helps to cool the engine. When gasoline and air are mixed together and burnt only approximately one third of the energy is transferred through the Pistons to the crankshaft where it is used to drive the car. The other two thirds are wasted as surplus heat with one third going out of the exhaust and the other needing to be cooled in some way. In most engines, motor oil does this cooling. As it circulates around the engine it gets heated up but eventually it is returned to the oil pan where the current of air around the pan is used to cool the oil. To cool effectively the oil has to circulate quickly and be kept under pressure. The engine oil pressure sensor monitors the pressure and sends a warning to the dashboard if it falls to low.
Some engines, usually found on motorcycles, are cooled by as exclusively by air. But sometimes these have a tendency to overheat so a fan is also needed to draw air in when the motorcycle is not moving. There are some differences between car motor oil and motorcycle oil, in many cases you cannot use them interchangeably. Some of the additives in car engine oil, for example friction modifying additives can damage your bike. Car oil can also make the motorcycle’s clutch more likely to slip. So although it is more expensive it is often a good idea to use an oil designed specifically for a motorcycle.
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