Automotive lubricants are used in a car's transmission, engine, chassis, gears, and seals to ensure optimal performance of the components. Lubricants like oil and grease reduce friction between different moving parts, easing wear and prolonging the life of the vehicle.
Many different choices are available for automotive lubricants. There are also a number of different applications within the automotive industry that require various lubricants. The automotive manufacturing industry requires industrial lubricants for the machines that build the vehicles. Then once a car, truck, SUV, bus, van or motorcycle is purchased in a consumer context, it needs lubrications such as oil and grease to run properly and maintain its initial performance level. Although synthetic products are usually more expensive than organic ones, they often provide better performance. Synthetic lubricants are chemically engineered substances, which are often specialized to produce certain characteristics. Silicones, esters, polyalphaolefins and fluorocarbons are all synthetic lubricant bases that have higher corrosion resistance and flash points then organic lubricants. Referring specifically to engine lubricants, the most common remains the petroleum based oil that is organic, although the polyalphaolefins, or PAO, has been around long enough to be less expensive and is therefore becoming more and more popular.
Choosing an automotive lubricant requires attention to the viscosity of the particular lubricant. The viscosity of oil varies and is indicated by a number on its container. Thin oil has a low number and flows easily, while thick oil has a high number and is resistant to flow. Multi-viscosity oils have added polymers to prevent the oil from thinning as it warms. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is the organization that classifies oils by viscosity. Manufacturers often suggest that the oil should be changed in cars every 3,000 miles. Stop and go traffic, short trips, cold weather, and hot or dusty conditions can increase a car's need for an oil change. Numerous oil changing businesses that offer quick service are available. Other lubricants, such as transmission fluid, can also be checked and refilled at such locations. Transmission fluid is commonly a mixture of oil-based lubricant with additives such as anti-rust and detergent, meant to protect as well as clean the transmission system. These basic maintenance lubes make a huge difference in the health and durability of a vehicle, and should therefore be taken seriously.