The engine oil pan stores the engine oil when the car is parked.
But when you start the engine, the oil travels throughout the lubrication system — the system that protects the engine from overheating and ensures you get to keep your car for a long time.
However, that only happens if the lubrication system works as required — and there are no leaks in the pathway.
Let’s learn about the engine oil pan and the lubrication system to better understand your car and take care of it.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Engine Lubrication System 101
The engine lubrication system helps minimize or prevent loss of power by reducing friction between the engine’s moving parts. This reduces the wear and tear of those parts and cools them down.
Additionally, the lubrication system provides a cushion that reduces engine vibrations and cleans the inner sections of your engine.
Engine Lubrication System: Main Components
Let’s explore some of the major components of an engine lubrication system and find out how they help in lubricating an engine.
Oil pan is a bowl-shaped engine oil reservoir. It’s placed below the crankcase and is responsible for storing oil when your car is at rest.
The engine oil returns to the oil pan by gravity as it’s under the engine.
Oil pump is the device that forces the oil to circulate around the moving parts of your car’s engine, including valve lifters, camshaft bearings, and the crankshaft.
The oil pump is placed close to the oil pan, below the crankcase.
Oil galleries consist of multiple passages of different sizes drilled within the cylinder block. They help supply engine oil to all parts of the engine. In other words, oil galleries direct the engine oil to different engine parts, including valve lifters, camshaft bearings, crankshaft bearings, and the crankshaft.
The oil cooler works like a radiator and cools down the hot engine oil. It uses its fins to transfer the heat from the oil to the coolant. In this way, the oil cooler helps maintain oil temperature and viscosity.
An oil cooler also helps save the engine from wear and tear by preventing overheating and retaining lubricant quality.
Oil Pan Gasket
The oil pan gasket seals the engine oil pan and prevents oil leakage.
Engine Oil Pressure Sensor
The engine oil pressure sensor helps measure engine oil pressure. This helps you ensure the oil pressure remains within the suitable range.
How Does a Lubrication System Work?
The crankshaft is among the first few components that move (or rotate) when you start a car. The rotating crankshaft drives the oil pump and causes it to pump the engine oil from the oil pan to the rest of the engine through the oil galleries.
The oil moving through the oil galleries lubricates the different parts and absorbs their heat. After passing through the engine, the engine oil goes to the oil cooler, where it transfers its heat to the coolant. In the end, the oil returns back to the oil pan.
Common Problems with Oil Storage Pan
Here are some common problems you might encounter with oil storage pans.
Puddles of oil under the car
Your engine oil pan might start leaking oil leading to puddles under the engine. This is mainly due to leakage in the oil pan. If you encounter this, you need to get the oil pan replaced.
Visible damage to the oil pan
You may notice a dent or crack on the oil pan. Possible reasons include passing over a big rock or driving on a rough surface.
You need to replace the oil pan if this problem arises.
Oil leakage around the drain plug
The drain plug is typically used to drain the used oil during an oil change. It shouldn’t leak oil in normal conditions.
If it does, you have a problem.
In other words, if you find the drain plug leaking oil, the drain plug gasket or the plug is faulty. Check and replace the faulty component to fix this issue.
Final Thoughts: Which Engine Component Stores Oil for Lubrication
But you can always do something about the leaks if you know where the oil is leaking from.
Knowing about the parts of an oil lubrication system will help you in that search. Check out our blog for more information on engine oils.