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Piston Deposit Control: Avoiding the High Cost of Engine Damage

September 02, 2016


In our recent blog series, we’ve been exploring the three key traits to look for in the new API CK-4 and FA-4 engine oils. We covered two of these in detail earlier: oxidation control and wear protection. Now, let’s take a deeper dive into the third: piston deposit control.

Piston deposit control has been a requirement in motor oils since the earliest days of the industry. It also has been a major challenge for engine manufacturers and oil producers. The liner in which the piston moves up and down is very difficult to lubricate. The cylinder and piston rings need to be lubricated to allow free motion of the piston within the cylinder. And all this is taking place in the hottest part of the engine, where the fuel is combusting and temperatures are at their highest. If the oil is not formulated properly, it runs the risk of breaking down and forming deposits on the outside of the piston or behind the rings – which can lead to serious problems.


The Dangers of Deposits

Deposits can interfere with the function of the rings, preventing them from rotating freely or providing sufficient sealing of combustion gases. If deposits come into contact with the liner, they can cause significant wear, which results in a loss of control of oil consumption. The greater the wear, the greater the risk that oil will enter the combustion chamber. From there it gets into the exhaust system, causing rapid loss of oil and clogging up particulate filters, which puts a severe strain on the emission control system. If left unchecked, deposits can degrade performance and ultimately cause critical component or complete engine failure – and steep financial losses for the operator. Not only are repair and replacement costs high, but equipment in the shop isn’t generating any revenue.

Sparing the equipment operator from these onerous expenses is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish. It is important to not only meet the industry requirements, but also the most demanding piston deposit control specifications from OEM’s around the world.

Having a lubricant that provides effective piston deposit control can go a long way towards mitigating the risk of costly engine damage. The last thing you want is for a strain on your engine to be a drain on your bottom line. For more information, please visit: