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The classes of lubricating oil

Lubricants are one of the most important tools you can use to keep your equipment and engines in tip-top condition. However, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the right one.

This is because there are so many different classes of oil, each with a very specific purpose, that it can be tough for consumers to select the one that is really right for their machinery. With this in mind, we have put together a brief guide to the different lubricants you might come across:

What types are there?

Many people are under the misapprehension that motor oil and crude oil is the same substance. This is not actually the case, and anyone who tried to use crude oil in an engine would soon find themselves running into problems.

This is why synthetic oils were created. These are manufactured in such a way that they mimic the lubricating properties of oil, without being so overly viscose that it blocks up machinery and causes them to fail. This type can be bought in two classes: synthetic and semi-synthetic oil.


Synthetic lubricating oil is made by chemically altering petroleum in order to make a smoother, more useable consistency. It is the ideal lubricant for companies that need to keep parts moving smoothly over long periods of time. It is also great for use in tough environmental conditions, as it has a chemical structure that can be used in extreme temperatures on either end of the scale. Synthetic lubricating oil is often used by airlines in their planes.


Semi-synthetic lubricants are more commonly used than purely synthetics, because they are a much less expensive option. Semi-synthetic oils typically consist of around 70% mineral oil and 30% synthetic fluid. It is an excellent lubricator and is often used in generators and on gears to keep things running smoothly.

Sub classes

Synthetic and semi-synthetic oils are then broken down into sub-classes, which indicate what they can be used for.

C-Class oils can be used for lubrication in a commercial setting, whereas S-class oils are service-type lubricants, which can only be used to grease the engines of petrol-powered products, such as smaller generators and vehicle engines.

Before buying lubricating oils, it is always a good idea to find out what type of lubes your machinery requires, as well as which brands and classes will offer you the best performance for your cash.

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