Which lubricants are used in vehicle maintenance?

When people talk about maintenance, they often only consider engine oil, which represents the biggest volume. But next to it, there are a series of other lubricants specially design to protect the different mechanics’ components:

  • Automatic transmission oils
  • Manual Transmission oil
  • Brake fluids,
  • Axle oils,
  • Steering fluids
  • The greases

Why are lubricants important for vehicle maintenance?

Engine oil is the lifeblood of the engine. Its unique combination of properties is balanced to serve the needs of the different types of applications:

Reducing friction is the primary function of a lubricant.

Cooling is necessary because a combustion engine heats up to high temperatures.

Cleaning concerns the impurities that exist in an engine.

Controlling acids and corrosion is of vital importance for the engine’s lifespan.

Managing viscosity will help to ensure stable engine oil performance.

Controlling the oxidation rate of engine oil will guarantee stable engine performance in-between oil changes.

Is it a one-type-fits-all or are there different types, grades and characteristics we should be aware of when buying grease and oil?

The world of lubricants becomes more and more complex, as specific engines require specific, advanced lubricants. The time is over when just a few types of motor oil could service 98% of cars.

Every lubricant has his specific application depending on the specification and the viscosity required by the OEM.

Therefore, the most important recommendation is to always follow the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer.

In order to support mechanics professionals and car owners, Wolf Lubricants have developed an online tool available on www.wolflubes.com and an application available on Apple Store and Google Play.

You just need to select your vehicle, and you will see all the lubricants recommended by the OEM.

What are the risks of using an inferior or incorrect type of oil or grease?

On one side, for new vehicles, you will lose your warranty.

On the other side, you risk insufficient lubrication, excessive oil consumption, low power, excessive fuel consumption, low protection of the components. In other terms, you risk damage or breakdown of your engine.


What are the benefits of Synthetic oils vs Mineral oils?

Base oils can be segmented into two groups based on how they are obtained:

  • Mineral base oils, group I and II, are base oils refined from crude oil
  • Synthetic base oils, group III, which are mineral-based oils refined through hydrocracking, and group IV and V, which are oils purely generated by synthetic or chemical processes

The trend towards more performing lubricants encourages oil blenders to invest even more in their synthetic oil product range. Technical evolutions of the past decade brought engine designs that require more sophisticated oil formulations.

In the past, you could use mineral base oils for basically every type of engine, but the newest engine designs no longer support these. At Wolf, we mostly work with synthetic base oils as they show a significantly better performance on all characteristics.

The benefits of synthetic base oils:

  • Improved fuel economy and power output
  • Better resistance to temperature fluctuations and oxidation processes
  • Cleaner engine surfaces
  • Superior wear control
  • Increased drain interval of the finished lubricant

What is the best advice to consumers on buying grease and oil and using it in vehicle maintenance?

The best advice is to use the always use the oil and/or grease recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Do not start to experiment.

The second advice is to not compromise with quality. Always prefer brands recommended by the car manufacturer as choosing a low-quality cheap product to save a couple of ZAR often mean postponing the expense and exposing you to engine damage.


Goldwagen would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the Wolf Lubricants Team for their assistance.