Unfortunately, piston rings are one of those obscure but expensive components that our cars need to operate. By keeping our car in tip-top condition throughout its life, piston damage can be avoided. However, if you notice several troubling changes happening to your car, read on to make sure it’s not a more expensive problem than you initially anticipated.
Why are piston rings useful?
Engines need piston rings to function like human bodies need food to survive. Typically made of cast iron or steel, piston rings are split rings that fit into a groove in the outside diameter of a piston (a moving metal cylinder that effectively powers an engine). Its main task is to ensure that, by applying the correct pressure to the cylinder wall or liner, an even layer of oil is maintained. Other ways that piston rings are useful are by preventing any excessive heat build-up within the piston by transferring heat from the piston crown to the cylinder.
Different types of piston rings
What many of us don’t know is that there are two different types of piston rings inside your engine: compression rings and oil control rings. The compression rings are located in the first grooves of the piston, their main function being to seal the combustion gases and transfer heat from the piston to the piston walls. There is usually a top and middle compression ring to ensure that you get the maximum power your engine can deliver. A piston wouldn’t be complete if it weren’t for the control rings; its task is to regulate the amount of lubricating oil that passes along the cylinder walls. Control rings keep all gases and lubricants where they belong by prohibiting oil from seeping into other engine chambers. Having all three piston rings working harmoniously is crucial to preserving the inner workings of your vehicle.
What is leak and why do I want to prevent it from happening? compression rings
As mentioned above, one of the main functions of piston rings within an internal combustion engine is to maintain gas compression between the piston and the cylinder wall by sealing the cylinder. Why would this be important? This is because we want to prevent leakage, known as unwanted leakage of pressurized gas, as much as possible.
There are two main ways the leak will occur. As an engine ages, the cylinder walls wear out due to the constant scraping of the piston and piston ring. This will encourage the cylinder bore to enlarge and form a gap behind the piston and cylinder. On the exhaust stroke when the piston moves up, the piston rings will be pressed down, giving the exhaust fumes and gases a chance to sneak through that gap. On your intake stroke that occurs after your exhaust stroke, the pistons will move upward. As they rise and hit the top of the piston, harmful gases can now pass under them and travel downward, eventually working their way into the crankcase.
how to tell if the piston rings are bad
Another way that leakage can occur is by gases that pass through the piston ring space itself. When analyzing a piston ring in a piston, there must be a gap in the ring that exists so that the piston ring can act as a spring. This promotes sealed compression; This can be ensured because the ring expands and contracts with heat and meets the cylinder walls so the chamber will seal. Unfortunately, over time, constant scraping of the piston rings wears them down and sealed compression doesn’t occur as naturally. The gaps will allow other combustion gases to escape through the rear of the ring and inevitably fall into the crankcase.
Symptoms of bad piston rings: worn rings symptoms
“Your piston rings are damaged” are the five words any driver is afraid to hear from a mechanic. What are the signs that …