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Oil Maintenance of your Aircraft

Preventative maintenance is key when you own a larger investment such as an aircraft. One of the most common things that could deteriorate the health of your engine is not being diligent with your POH and giving cutting corners with oil changes and oil filters.

Changing your Oil

Changing your oil is a regular maintenance routine that gives you a snapshot of what is going on in your engine. By letting the old oil sit in the aircraft, it starts to neutralize and over time will lose its corrosion inhibiting properties. Ensure your engine is fully warmed before the oil is drained – this allows more contaminants to be removed rather than sitting in the oil pan and adding more debris to the fresh oil.

We recommend the oil to be drained and replaced every 25 hours or 16 weeks, whichever comes first. At this point you will be able to notice if there are metal flakes within the oil and if this is a concern you can send it off for a spectrometric analysis to examine the type of metal and take the next steps necessary. {Alberta labs include ALS and AGAT Laboratories}

Are you harming your engine with ground run ups?

After an oil change yes, a ground run up will allow the elements to be lubricated with the new oil. If your aircraft is not flown in over four months, we recommend you do an oil change before you put it away and do another before you fly. DO NOT do monthly ground run ups, this does not help, and will do more harm than good as there is residual water in the sump. In a ground run up, and that water will mix with the oil. You will not be running the engine it to full power and it will not be hot enough to vaporise the water and you are circulating water and contaminants throughout your engine, letting it sit for a month, which could lead to more corrosion and damage to the life of your engine. Take the aircraft up for a half-hour flight and this will do what you intend with the ground run. The engine requires an oil temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for 30 minutes to purge excess moisture from engine.

Post overhaul/ prop strike

After a major event such as an overhaul or a prop strike, it is common to see small amounts of metal in the oil. This is due to the engine breaking in. After the first 10-15 hours, you should check your oil and screens and clear away this metal and refresh the oil. You will likely find any issues between the first 50 and 100 hours of flying the aircraft, so this is the ideal time to monitor and qualify the engine.

Oil filter / Monitoring Oil Screen

The oil filter is the least expensive way to have an idea of what is going on inside your engine. It helps determine what is going on in terms of dirt, corrosion or metallic wear. Avoiding regular changes will risks an impairment on lubrication and an increase in wear on your aircraft. Oil filters should be replaced every four months or 50 hours – whatever comes first. (A reminder to have engine be fully warmed when replacing oil filter to allow more oil contaminants to be removed.)

Checking the screen regularly or opening the filter could potentially diagnose if there are any issues you might be able to catch early. By the small amount of time spent here, it could save you from having to ground your aircraft in an non-ideal situation or you risk having to replace more expensive elements if not caught in time.

After your oil and filter changes Do a ground run so it reaches all the right places and take it for a flight!

If you have any follow up questions do not hesitate to ask us! Contact us

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