A critical review of recent work on fuel lubricant interactions is undertaken. The work focusses on liquid fuels used in diesel and gasoline vehicles. The amount of fuel that contaminates the lubricant depends on driving conditions, engine design, fuel type and lubricant type. When fuel contaminates a lubricant, the viscosity of the lubricant will change (it will usually decrease), the sump oil level may increase, there may be a tendency for more sludge formation, there may be an impact on friction and wear, and low speed pre-ignition could occur. The increased use of biofuels (particularly biodiesel) may require a reduction in oil drain intervals, and fuel borne additives could contaminate the lubricant. The move to active regeneration of particulate filters by delayed fuel post-injection and the move to hybrid electric vehicles, and vehicles equipped with stop-start systems will lead to increased fuel dilution. This will be of more concern in diesel engines, since significant fuel dilution could still persist at sump oil temperatures in the range 100-150C (whereas in gasoline engines the more volatile gasoline fuel will have substantially evaporated at these temperatures). It is anticipated that more research into fuel lubricant interactions, particularly for diesel engines, will be needed in the near future.
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