Coolant and engine oil are something different. Coolant is used as a medium to conduct engine heat to be cooled.
While engine oil is a lubricant for engine components.
However, the two circulate within the engine block.
What happens if coolant leaks into engine oil?
Let's discuss it.
Coolant and engine oil have their respective lines
Coolant circulates on the water jacket. Water jacket is a hole in the cylinder block and cylinder head, where the coolant will flow in this hole.
Coolant that flows in the water jacket will absorb heat in the engine block and send it to the radiator to be cooled.
While oil collects in the oil pan under the crankshaft. When the engine is running, oil is pumped to all parts including the cylinder head. Oil is returned to the oil pan through the holes around the cylinder block.
So even though coolant and engine oil have different paths, their paths are close together.
This is what could potentially cause a leak in either one.
When coolant mixes with engine oil, it will broke the physical properties of these two fluids. Initially, engine oil and coolant did not mix (like water and oil). but when these two fluids enter the oil pump and water pump, the two fluids will be stirred. So there is a mixing reaction between coolant and engine oil.
It produces a new liquid that is thicker, white like a porridge. This mixture cannot be used as a lubricant because it is very thick and not as slippery as oil.
This fluid also cannot be used as a cooling medium because when this mixture enters the radiator it will clog the radiator channel.
Then what happens if the engine is forced to run?
That will damage the engine as a whole, all parts of the engine that are rubbing against will be worn. And the engine will overheat because the cooling system is not working.
What caused that ?
The most common cause is a blown cylinder gasket. Gasket is a coating or bulkhead between the cylinder block and the cylinder head.
The reason gaskets are needed, is because the cylinder block and cylinder head are made of a tough material. So that each of them cannot adjust to make it a meeting. In fact, in the head of the cylinder there is a combustion chamber which has super high pressure.
Therefore, a soft metal gasket is needed.
In addition, gaskets also function to prevent coolant and engine oil leaks. As I said above, inside the engine block there is a water jacket and an oil line. The two lines must also be sealed by gaskets so that the two liquids do not mix.
However, when the gasket is damaged, oil can enter the water jacket and coolant can also enter the oil line.
That is what causes the coolant to mix with engine oil.
what is the solution?
The mixture of oil and coolant is attached to the components. So if you think the solution is just changing it is wrong. You have to disassemble the engine to clean the residue of the mixture that is between the components.
Therefore the best way is prevention.
Make sure you check the oil stick and coolant reservoir. If something is abnormal, don't force the car to use it.