Oils & Lubricants

Understanding Lubricant Types and Their Applications

As a machine with numerous moving parts, a car relies on good lubricants to keep functioning as it should. A vehicle owner must ensure that each piece is properly oiled to facilitate movement. Using a lubricant is not enough: one must know the right one. The wrong engine oil can cause severe damage to components. You should be capable of identifying the lubricant that your car uses then pick the most suitable product. The problem is that the market is filled with oils of all kinds, and without sufficient knowledge, making this decision can be intimidating. A car owner should first be able to distinguish between the different types of lubricants and what they can do.


Automotive grease is oil that has thickeners such as lithium soaps added. The stickiness that these compounds give greases allows them to adhere to surfaces. Some greases are also blended with other particles such as Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene), graphite and molybdenum disulfide. For this reason, grease will lubricate parts as well as form a film on the surface to offer protection from contaminants. It is why this lubricant is recommended to prevent rusting of car parts. The high viscosity of greases can make them unsuitable for some small parts due to the resistance they generate after lubrication. The wheel bearing, chassis and areas with grease fittings require this type of lubricant. Grease varies in consistency, so the degree of thickness that you need when lubricating different parts dictates the right product. Grease lubrication is ideal for machines that are not used very often to make up for the lack of regular oiling. Greases come in categories like white grease, which is waterproof and suitable in areas where you can't have water. High-temperature grease is used in the wheel bearing, particularly in cars with disc brakes. The advantage of this lubricant is that even when it dries, it stays slippery. Then, there is the type of grease that doesn't conduct electricity and is, therefore, ideal for parts with electrical connections.


Oils are the most diverse automotive lubricants. They are made with long polymer chains and get their various properties from additives. Oils that are designed to avoid corrosion of metal parts are added with corrosion inhibitors, those that protect against oxidation have antioxidants and oils that are meant to prevent surface deposits have detergents, and so on. It means that you have to know what function an oil product is intended for before picking it. When applied on surfaces, oils form a barrier that offers protection. Oils are ideal for lubricating small parts that move fast. However, they are not suitable for parts that come into contact with water. Although oils form a surface film, over time, water can absorb into the oil and degrade its adhesion. The viscosity grade differs from one oil to another. How thin you require the lubricant to flow will indicate the right viscosity. Most cars will have manuals on the right engine oil viscosity. Multi-grade oil is a popular recommendation because it offers some flexibility. When a multi-grade oil is exposed to low temperatures, it has one viscosity rating and when it is heated, the viscosity degree changes. Oils come in different classes, including transmission oil, which is responsible for keeping all the components in the transmission system lubricated. Transmission fluid serves more than one purpose. It is designed to condition seals in the system, grade against corrosion and keep temperatures low when the vehicle is running. Transmission fluid is also used in leak detection because it is brightly coloured. Gearbox oil is another lubricant that every vehicle needs to survive. It is built for high-temperature usage. A majority of gear oils have a viscosity degree of above 75. The manual transmission and differential are the two sections of a vehicle that benefit from this type of lubricant.

Dry Lubricants

A car has parts that require lubrication but cannot stand exposure to oils. Dry lubricants serve as alternatives in such circumstances. These lubricants are sold in aerosol form but are extremely slippery to allow adequate lubrication. A dry lubricant can be silicone, PTFE, graphite or molybdenum disulfide. Alcohol or water is added to these particles to give them evaporation properties after application. Dry lubricants are suitable for car door locks, hinges and parts that need to stay clean.

Penetrating Lubricants

When a car has stuck bolts, corroded and seized nuts, this is the lubricant to get. A vehicle that has gone a while without property lubrication or has been in use for too long can have years of rust buildup and other debris. Penetrating lubricants are designed to get rid of such contaminants. They are typically low in viscosity and work on a temporary basis. The lubricating additives in these products allow them to get through minute cracks and break up corrosive builds. Whether you are buying transmission fluid, engine or gear oil, you must be careful about the type of lubricant you pick and its usability.





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