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What Is Blow-By & How to Prevent It From Harming Your Engine

Of all the problems you can have with your car’s engine, one that is the least understood is probably blow-by. You may have never heard of what is sometimes called oil blow-by or engine blow-by, but if you get too much of it in your car, you’ll know something is wrong. That’s why it’s important for you to learn what blow-by is and how to stop it in an engine.

What Is Engine Blow-By?

To understand blow-by, you need to understand how car engines work. Standard cars use internal combustion, a mixture of air and fuel gets sparked and essentially explodes with the power to move crankshafts and pistons. Naturally, this process can have some unintended by-products.

Specifically, the force of the combustion can push some of the pressurized gas, as well as any oil and still-liquid fuel mixed in with it, past the piston rings and into the crankcase where it does not belong. This unwanted fluid that blows by the piston and into that crankcase is known as blow-by.

Now, this in itself is not necessarily a problem, because your car has something called a PVC, Positive Crankcase Ventilation, system. Without such a system, the combustion could pressurize the crankcase, which could divert power from the engine and lead to oil leaks. The PCV system works by pulling that blow-by back from the crankcase, where it ends up in the air intake.

Oil/gas blow-by in the air intake isn’t much better than blow-by in the crankcase, which is why you also have an air-oil separator in the system. Unfortunately, this separator may not be 100 percent effective, especially over time, which is why you may eventually find yourself with a blow-by problem to deal with.

How Can Blow-By Harm Your Engine?

You may not notice the immediate effects of blow-by, especially if it happens a little at a time. However, over time, blow-by can cover your intake in oil and/or gasoline, severely reducing the efficiency of your engine. Even worse, under the right circumstances, blow-by can condense inside the crankcase and end up in your head and cylinders. This can lower the octane of your gasoline. If you ever used lower octane gasoline than recommended in your car and experienced engine knocking, you know what this is like.

This knocking is a sign of pre-ignition, where your air and fuel mixture ignites prematurely. Higher octane gasoline is more knock resistant. The octane level your car manufacturer recommends is sufficient to prevent pre-ignition, but not if oil or excess fuel find their way into the cylinders.

This situation is brutal on an engine, and blow-by can further lead to problems such as oil-coated spark plugs which will then misfire and valve carbon accumulation. You definitely do not want blow-by anywhere but the filter, so how can you stop blow-by in an engine?

How to Prevent Blow-By From Harming Your Engine

The most popular way to deal with blow-by is through the use of a catch can. The name signifies what it does — catching the fuel and oil blow-by after the PCV recalls it but before it ends up in your intake. The catch can suck in the excess fuel and oil, condenses it and keeps it in a separate cylinder, isolated from the rest of the car’s engine and related parts.

When purchasing a catch can, you want to pay attention to the type you get. Some catch cans attach to the crankcase and have a breather filter on top that vents the pressure out into the world. This is effective, but it is not very good for the environment, and your state may not even allow it. It’s better to get a catch can that catches and condenses the blow-by for disposal at another time.

Another factor you want to be aware of is how many inlets your catch can has. If the catch can only has one, you may have trouble fitting it to a V-shaped engine. Try to make sure the number of inlets on the can matches the number of ports on the engine.

Once you have found a catch can that fits, and that actually catches the blow-by, you want to think about how to get rid of the blow-by. Your catch, if it is working correctly, will fill with the sludge of condensed oil and fuel. If you don’t empty it regularly that sludge will go right into the intake if you make a sharp turn or a hard stop, defeating the purpose of the catch and creating a worse problem.

A solution is getting a catch can with a baffle. This is a catch can that includes a divider to keep the oil at the bottom of the can, even through turns or sudden speed changes. This protects the engine from the contents of the catch can until you can empty the can.

Contact Rislone for Help Today

In addition to adding a reliable catch can to your system, it’s a very good idea to protect your fuel system entirely with additives such as Rislone’s Complete Gasoline Fuel System Treatment, which boosts octane and cleans your valves and combustion chamber. Our products are the highest quality on the market, easy to use, and a great way to protect your engine from the effects of blow-by and other engine-related issues. To find a retailer of Complete Gasoline Fuel System Treatment and other Rislone products near you, visit our visit our store locator.

Everything You Need to Know About Engine Performance

Engine performance — it’s a topic that comes up in nearly every discussion about new or used vehicles. Whether you’ve got a brand-new model or are trying to get your old reliable car to its next mega-milestone, you want to get the best performance out of your engine for a long as you can. You don’t need to be a trained mechanic to understand how you can achieve optimal performance. All you need is a crash course in Engine Performance 101.
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How to Quiet Noisy Lifters

Are you having a problem with hydraulic lifter noise in your vehicle? If you are not a car enthusiast, you may have this problem and not even be aware of it. Others may know there’s a problem, but want to learn how to quiet the noisy lifters. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with car lifter noise. Here’s what you need to know about the different ways to quiet noisy lifters.

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Motor Oil Viscosity: Why It Matters

If you have ever looked at a bottle of motor oil, you have noticed a difference in oil weights. Perhaps a bottle says 10W 30 or 5W 20. What do these numbers mean and why do they matter? These oil “weights” are not weights at all, but a measure of the motor oil viscosity.

If you are the type of person that has their oil changed by a mechanic, you don’t have to worry about finding the right oil viscosity. The mechanic can look up the correct viscosity and will not even need to consult with you, although they may wish to know what type (conventional vs. blend vs. synthetic) of oil you wish him to put in your car.

If you are changing your oil, however, which is a much cheaper and relatively simple process, you need to be sure that you are putting the right viscosity motor oil and your car and it’s a good idea to know why this is so vital. To understand the relationship between viscosity and motor oil, it’s first important to understand what motor oil does in your engine.

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Does Motor Oil Quality Matter?

You have plenty of choices when it comes to the type of motor oil you use in your car. Given that some are considerably more expensive than others, it’s easy to wonder, “Does engine oil quality matter?”

Well, if your engine is the heart of your car, the motor oil is the blood, we can all agree that your engine’s lifeblood matters. Engine oil quality is no different. It absolutely makes a difference, and if you want your car to perform and last, it’s important you know why.

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