About Lubricants



Proper lubrication of a vehicle will determine the cost of lubrication and maintenance. It will also determine the life of the vehicle i.e. vehicles that are properly lubricated will have long drain intervals, less frequent maintenance and longer vehicles life.

Transport industry is highly competitive. There are limited options of cutting costs as fuel and tire prices are fixed i.e. very little room for negotiations. The winning transport will be the one that has reduced its maintenance costs to the minimum and the starting point is the lubrication.



The parts to be lubricated in a vehicle are the moving parts i.e. engine, manual transmission, automatic transmission, differential, wheel bearing, radiator, brake system and body parts (door hinges etc.)



An engine manufacturer comes up with a modern high performance engine. When he uses the best oil in the market he finds it does not perform well enough. The oil might fail say on piston cleanliness or might not protect some parts from wear. He identifies this failure and reports say to the API. API then summons the members of the committee on engine oils which includes engine manufacturers, additive manufacturers, government representatives, lubricants companies and consumer organizations. The additive supplier undertakes the duty to develop a technology that will overcome these problems. He makes many trials which he tries in his engines based in the engine room. It is run for prescribed time and load and stripped and examined against a given standard.

Once it meets or exceeds the required standards which are witnessed by an independent inspector, the additive manufacturer goes back to engine manufacturer and API to announce the new technology. He must state the components used i.e. base oil and additive proportions and the test results. This is then approved against a new classification. If say the highest classification in the market was API CD then the new classification will be API CE. Of course, all the other three additive manufacturers will make the same discovery.

It is necessary that if it is an engine oil, the technology must be approved by the major engine manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Mack, Mercedes, Iveco, Renault, Volvo e.t.c… These additive manufacturers have installed the latest engines in their engine rooms and they will run the tests and prove to the engine manufacturer that his technology meets his requirement. The oil will then be approved against the prescribed specification such as Mercedes Benz (MB 227.1) or Volvo VDS 3 or Caterpillar CAT 1 A e.t.c…

In Japan, the major four manufacturers; Toyota, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Nissan carry out joint research on engines oils and they have one JASO specification that the oil will meet. As all the auto makers are also in lubricant marketing they don’t have approval process for oil marketer’s brands.

It is after this new additive technology is well approved that the additive company approaches oil blenders to try to sell the technology. In this case they will provide proof that it has been approved against specification and the source of base oil use.

Recycled base oils are never used in these tests as they lack consistence in quality, they have contaminants that will interfere with the additive. As we saw earlier, the contaminants can react with the lubricant. If you see an API classification on oil made from recycled base oil it is false as no API classification can be achieved using recycled base oil.