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So what is gear oil? Everyone knows that gears make the world go round, but not all are aware that they can do this only if they are properly lubricated. And what type of lubrication do they need? Nothing complicated, just some gear oil. No matter if it’s your vehicle’s crankcase or any heavy industrial machinery; you need gear oil to ensure all the gears in them slide smoothly. This prevents any unnecessary surface friction from wearing out the gears as they work.
This is why you need to keep your gears well maintained with regular oiling, to bring out the best performance in your machinery and vehicles. This means that although you may not always remember about using gear oil, you should at least know which gear oil your equipment or vehicle needs, and have it nearby at arm’s reach. You should also know its recommended oil change interval and if you don’t know which oil to use or its oil change interval, don’t worry, everything is mentioned in your user’s manual.
Gear oil function
Gear oil is responsible for protecting all your equipment’s and vehicles vital parts like gears and bearings in drive axles and differentials, transmissions and industrial gearboxes. These oils come with a higher viscosity level, and with a purpose. It is to provide for easier distribution and protection of the entire gear set.
What type of gear oil should I use?
Now you naturally wonder what type of gear oil is best for your vehicle. While the first and most logical option you have is to select a product from your maintenance manual’s qualified product list, it sometimes may not give the best lubrication option for a given gear set.
Some equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have specific requirements for the gear oil to be used while others have only general specifications. This is why it’s better if you can interpret these specifications by equipment manufacturers so that you can make changes to choose the right gear oil as necessary.
There are various factors to take into consideration while choosing your gear oil like operating conditions, preferred brand, product consolation efforts, and product availability. The best choice for your vehicle ensures maximum machinery reliability in normal working conditions.
While viscosity is important while selecting gear lubricants, the oils are made of two important components, the base oil, and additives. The base oil is selected based on factors like gear type and operating conditions.
However it is the additives that determine the oil’s properties, and in fact, even suppresses undesirable properties. Additives are more like the gear oil’s backbone which provides you with gear oil with the desired performance and protection. You have to keep three main points in mind while choosing your gear lubricant:
The oil has to remain thermally stable at all times, and should not oxidize at high temperatures. This is vital to ensure the oil does not end up creating sludge or varnish. Besides, preventing the oil’s oxidation helps extend its drain and replacement intervals. It is generally declared that an 18 °F increase in fluid temperature above 140°F oxidation levels ends up reducing the lubricant’s service life by half.
Extreme pressure properties
You need to look for and use gear lubricants with extreme pressure properties. This is especially essential if you plan to use it in enclosed gearboxes which are constantly exposed to heavy or shock loads. It’s generally gear oils containing EP additives which protect the rubbing surfaces from extreme pressure.
As there is always the chance of the system getting contaminated, especially by water, you need to look for gear oil that can fight this contamination. It should also be easily demulsified because these oils help facilitate the easy removal of water from the gearbox.
What is Duolec?
Gear oils containing duolec are a better choice because duolec is a proprietary liquid used as an oil additive. It’s designed for use in LE gear lubricants thanks to its dual-acting anti-wear and extreme pressure properties. It also provides for less downtime with fewer replacing of parts thanks to its thermal activities which makes the oil synergistic in nature.
It is always better to use gear lubricants that are OEM-specified or something equal. Don’t get tempted to buy lower quality or off-brand oils just because of its lower price. These oils make up for their increased rate by providing for a longer change interval and by ensuring top equipment performance. Besides, the best gear oils are also more durable than its lower quality counterparts. This is because they contain anti-wear additives and dispersants that reduce the accumulation of carbon and sludge.
Consequences of poor gear oil maintenance
Like any traditional engine oil, engine oil also tends to oxidize and turn dark in colour if used for too long. The oil also ends up with a high viscosity because of contaminants like debris, and if used for a prolonged period without any changes.
Do not avert from changing gear oil thinking its unnecessary and a waste of money because gear lubricant that’s not changed regularly starts breaking down. The broken down gear oil, in turn, leads to the friction and grinding of the gear parts, and its eventual wear and tear and repair.
Gear lubricant change interval
It is generally better to check your manual for its recommended change interval, which tends to fluctuate for different pieces of equipment. Too long oil change intervals are not always good because you tend to forget about the gears and neglect it.
Performing an oil analysis on the different equipment parts at least once annually serves as a reminder for a gear oil change. The analysis tests the different parts of your equipment to give you a report stating how effectively and efficiently the oil performs. It also helps identify any potential mechanical problems before they develop into a major problem. Remember, while you may not have to change gear lubricants too frequently, it does need changing and is very important for ensuring the smooth functioning of your equipment.