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What are the two main lubricants used in most motor vehicles?

Truck Transporting Cars

From cars and trucks to vans and motorcycles, vehicles of all kinds require dedicated lubricants to keep them in excellent working order. Correct lubrication is essential for optimum performance and good fuel economy, but also to protect parts from excessive heat and wear for extended active service life. In this blog, we’ll look at two of the most important lubricants required by most motor vehicle’s engine and gear oils. Read on to learn more.

Engine oil

Sometimes referred to as motor oil or engine lubricant, engine oil is a term given to a variety of products used for lubricating of internal combustion engines (ICE). These built-for-purpose lubricants usually consist of a base oil enhanced with a variety of different additives. These include anti-wear additives, dispersants, detergents and sometimes viscosity index (VI) improvers.

The main role of engine oil is to reduce wear and friction on moving metal parts and to keep the engine clean from sludge. Engine oil also neutralises acids that are found in fuel while acting as a seal for parts like piston rings. Engine oil also works to cool the engine by transferring heat from moving parts.

Along with these attributes, engine oils also contain oxidation and corrosion inhibitors. A variety of different formulations are available for engine oils. Non-detergent oils suited to classic car engines may be manufactured from only a base stock or a lab-made lubricant base stock plus special additives to enhance the oil’s extreme pressure (EP) performance, detergency and capacity to inhibit corrosion of components.

Gear oil

The dedicated gear systems in cars involve lots of metal-on-metal contact, resulting in wear-and-tear and excess heat production. The job of gear oil is to protect all these moving components by reducing friction while transferring heat away from important areas. Over time, changing a car’s supply of gear oil is a crucial maintenance practice which can extend the active service life of a vehicle and help owners avoid expensive repair work down the road.

Poor gear lubrication can result in the scuffing, pitting, scouring and corrosion of integral parts of the drivetrain. This deterioration can not only compromise a car’s performance but will eventually lead to exceptionally costly repairs as gearboxes are expensive to replace.

It is important to remember that gear oil and engine oil are not the same product, and therefore they are not interchangeable forms of lubrication. Gear oil has been specially formulated to lubricate gears while engine oil serves the car’s motor.

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