Piston rings and blowby explained

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Yesterday, we turned to the folks from Engineering Explained to examine five things you should not be doing with a manual transmission. Today we're heading back to that fountain of knowledge for another lesson. The topic this time? It's all about piston rings.

This video serves as a great primer on what's going on with piston rings as they move along with the piston in an engine. The basic duty of the rings is to keep the crankcase and combustion chambers from mixing their respective goodies. Engine oil doesn't need to have a playdate with the air-fuel mixture.

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If your rings are worn, you're going to experience blowby. This means there's an intermingling of air and fuel from the combustion chamber heading down into the crankcase, or vice versa, and you're going to wind up burning some oil. Get ready for that not-so-delightful puff of blue smoke from your exhaust pipes.

Besides serving as a barrier between internal engine zones, piston rings also aid in heat transfer between the piston itself and the cylinder wall in which it resides. The video above does a great job of explaining the science behind piston rings, and it it won't even take four minutes of your time.

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