What are the Types of Lubricants Used in Automobiles?

Types of Lubricants Used in Automobiles

Before we find out more on what types of lubricants are used in automobiles, let’s understand more about lubricants and its role in the automobile industry. This would help us gain significant insight on this subject.

What is lubrication and the role of a Lubricant?

Lubrication is crucial for the control of friction and wear by adding a friction-reducing film between the moving surfaces. The lubricant which is used can either be a fluid or solid substance. Substances which are generally used to lubricate a surface are lube oil and grease which are the most common forms of lubricants available. The type of lubricant used is determined by the application. There are different types of lube oils for different applications such as automobile, industrial, marine and others.

Role of a Lubricant:

Some of the key roles that lubricant plays in the automobile applications are as follows:

• Reduce friction
• Transfer heat
• Prevent corrosion
• Protect against wear
• Carry away contaminants
• Transmit power
• Act as a seal

Now let’s find out more about the types of lubricants used in automobiles.

They are as follows:

Engine Oil

This is the most common form of automotive lubricant that you would see being used in automobiles. It consists of base oils enhanced with various additives, particularly antiwear additives, detergents, dispersants, and for multi-grade oils, viscosity index improvers. Motor oil is used for lubrication of internal combustion engines. The main function of motor oil is to reduce friction and wear on moving parts and to clean the engine from sludge and varnish. It also neutralizes acids that originate from fuel and from oxidation of the lubricant, improves sealing of piston rings, and cools the engine by carrying heat away from moving parts.

Gear Oil

This oil is generally used for transmissions, transfer cases, and differentials in automobiles, trucks, and other machinery. Gear oil usually has a high viscosity and contains extreme pressure (EP) additives that consist of phosphorus sulfur compounds, to cope with the sliding action of hypoid bevel gears and combat wear.


Grease is used in the suspension and steering joints to prevent any premature wear and tear. It is made from oil and thickeners. The lubricating oil can be petroleum or synthetic and can vary in viscosity. Additionally, anti-wear and extreme pressure additives can be added to formulate greases for specific applications, such as, high speed bearings, very cold or very hot conditions, open gears, extreme loads or high moisture conditions, to name a few. Thickeners can be combined or formulated with additional chemicals to produce more complex thickeners for specific applications that require high tolerance for extremely high temperatures like disc brakes in some vehicles which uses this type of grease for its wheel bearings.

Brake Fluids

Brake fluids are used in all automobile applications to maintain and improve the performance of brake systems. Brake system plays a crucial role in the safety of cars and trucks so it is extremely important to keep brakes in great condition to maintain its high performance. Brake fluids are not oils it is made from ethylene glycols and anticorrosion additives. Ethylene glycols can withstand the high operating temperatures of automobile brake systems and that will keep the brakes in good operating conditions.

There are several type of break fluid, that we have already covered in our previous blogs.

Hydraulic Oil

A hydraulic system is any system that requires force activation from one point to another. Some examples of hydraulic systems in a vehicle is the power-steering system. Hydraulic oils usually made from base oils and additive package to combat wear and corrosion.


These are some of the important and most commonly used applications of lubricants in the automobile industry. It is extremely important for you to check the authenticity of the lubricants before you buy them. You should only buy the high quality genuine products from the market.

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