6 Types of Car Lubricants and Where You Need to Use Them

A vehicle has hundreds of moving parts, which makes lubricants crucial. They minimise friction between components, resulting in smoother operations and a longer lifespan. Of course, you need to make sure you’re using the correct lubricant or you might damage your vehicle.

Here are the most common types of automotive lubricants and where they’re needed:

Engine Oil

The engine oil is, of course, used to lubricate the engine and its many components. It should be replaced after driving a certain distance (the owner’s manual will have a recommendation), which you can reach within a year or so depending on how often you drive. The condition of your oil filter can also affect how long the engine oil can stay clean.

There are many kinds of engine oil, which include the following:

1) Full Synthetic

Full synthetic engine oils provide high levels of lubrication, thanks to their high viscosity and oxidation resistance. They also help reduce engine drag, which can in turn increase horsepower output. Full synthetic engine oils are also more effective in preventing oil sludge buildup and can even contribute to greater fuel efficiency. The only downside is that this product is more expensive compared to other engine oils.

2) Synthetic Blend

If you want the benefits of full synthetic engine oils without the hefty price tag, you may want to consider a synthetic blend. It’s composed of conventional oil as a base, mixed with a synthetic oil and additives to boost oxidation resistance. This type of engine oil is also perfect for transitioning your vehicle from traditional or conventional into fully synthetic. Think of it as getting your engine used to a new kind of oil.

3) Conventional

This remains to be the most common type of engine oil, particularly for those who don’t drive as often. Those who have older cars may also benefit more from conventional oils, since their engines are simpler.

Automotive Greases

All other parts of your car that are not lubricated by oil or fluids will use greases. They are often applied on metal-to-metal joins and gears, but they are also used for electrical connections and plastic parts. Of course, you need to find the right kind of grease for every purpose.

The most common type of automotive grease is the wheel bearing grease, which is frequently used on suspension and steering components. There are also what’s called EP or extreme pressure greases, which can be used under heavy loads. For electrical components, make sure to find a non-conducting grease to prevent any mishaps. You can also find multi-purpose greases. However, there may still be certain parts or areas where they can’t be used so check the instructions and follow them for the best results.

Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid, which is often coloured red or green, lubricates the transmission components. This helps facilitate the smooth transfer of engine power to the driveshaft and rear wheels or axle half shafts and front wheels. For automatic transmission vehicles, the transmission fluid also serves as a form of coolant.

Do note that manual and automatic transmission cars have different transmission fluids, so make sure to get the correct one for your vehicle.

Brake Fluid

All cars need a brake fluid to ensure the proper and efficient performance of the brake system. Essentially, what it does is give more power to the force that your foot applies on the brake pedal. Without clean and sufficient brake fluid, you will need a lot more force to stop your car from moving.

What makes brake fluids different from other lubricants is that they’re not necessarily oils. Rather, they’re made from ethylene glycols, which are capable of withstanding the high temperatures generated by your car’s brake system. There are also anti-corrosion additives in brake fluids, to prevent rust from forming.

Electric Vehicle Lubricants

Compared to fuel-powered cars, electric vehicles have different internal workings. Thus, it’s only logical to have a new kind of lubricant for them. Electric vehicle lubricants are specially formulated for the powertrains of these cars. They can handle high temperatures and power fluctuations, which can be a big issue in these new types of engines.

Hydraulic Fluid

Hydraulic fluids aren’t lubricants, per se. Rather, they provide a buffer for the hydraulic system where they are being used to reduce wear and tear on the parts as they work. They also contain additives, such as foam inhibitors, to further boost performance and prolong the lifespan of the entire system.

A good example of hydraulic fluid is the brake fluid. Hydraulic fluids are also used in the power steering system.

There are many facets to taking care of your car, which includes ensuring proper lubrication. If you notice any odd squeaking or grinding noises, and other irregularities in your driving experience, check if you need to reapply or top up the necessary lubricants. This way, you can keep your car working smoothly for years, drive safely and efficiently, as well as save money in the long run.