Lubricants Guide

Lubricants FAQ

With so many different types of lubricants and oils on offer, it can be a minefield knowing which product to use for which application. As a UK leading supplier and custom lubricants blender, we’ve put together some of the common questions we get asked here at Speedy Fuels.

What is a lubricating oil?

Lubricants have a wide range of functions that include controlling the following:

  • Friction – lubricants reduce heat generation and energy consumption
  • Wear – lubricants can reduce mechanical and corrosive wear
  • Corrosion – quality lubricants protect surfaces from corrosive substances
  • Contamination – lubricants transport particles and other contaminants to filters and separators
  • Temperature – lubricants can absorb and transfer heat

In essence, they reduce friction and offer a layer between metal surfaces to safeguard against wear and tear and keep your operations running smoothly.

Are you using the correct lubricant?

Before you order lubricants, there are some important questions to ask so you can ensure you use the right products for your business. Unfortunately, with lubricants, the idiom ‘one size fits all’ does not apply. There are many products available for different applications, all with varying attributes.

Engines and machinery are complex with a multiplicity of moving parts that operate under rigorous conditions in a wide range of temperatures and conditions. The lubricant you use must be able to withstand these harsh operating conditions to protect your engine from costly replacements.

Our in-house experts can help you find the perfect product for your application. They will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision, based on key details such as the age of your machinery.

Do I need an OEM-approved lubricant?

There are some key distinctions between OEM-approved and ‘suitable for use’ lubricants.

OEM-approved products go through rigorous testing by the manufacturer to ensure they adhere to strict criteria. In many cases, your engine warranty will be invalid if you use an oil that is not OEM-approved.

At Speedy Fuels, we can source OEM-approved lubricants from global leading suppliers, giving you complete confidence in the performance of your equipment and machinery. Visit our Lubricants Product Page for more information.

When should I use oil or grease?

The application used determines what type of lubricant is required. Sealed applications such as gearboxes typically use oil or soft grease, whereas applications that are exposed to the environment or are unable to provide an oil reservoir usually use grease.

Can I mix two lubricants together in one engine?

Lubricants are always optimised to meet classification requirements. However, there are many ways to formulate a specific type of lubricant. Mixing two products that have the same properties will not cause a problem, but end performance cannot be guaranteed. All market oils are mixable; however, it may reduce the quality of the blend.

It’s important to use the same quality oils that are from the same manufacturer. Mixing lubricants with different viscosity levels is also not advised.

We don’t recommend mixing lubricants without following advice from a qualified specialist. Simply call us on 0330 123 5665 for more information on mixing lubricants.

How often do I need to replace my lubricants?

Many people find themselves placing regular orders for various types of lubricants when each piece of equipment runs low. But with advice from our in-house lubricant experts, you may be able to streamline your lubricants stock into fewer, more suitable products.

How frequently you need to replace your lubricants depends how much the machine is being used and how much of the machine is using the oil.

You can benefit from buying in bulk when you have fewer products to manage, creating even bigger savings.

How do I avoid running out of lubricants?

If you order your lubricants in bulk, which is a great way to save money in the long run, we recommend giving us a call. We can determine what’s best for you and your business and can arrange ‘check in calls’ for top ups depending on your usage.

Can I save money by buying a mineral grade, low-quality lubricant?

While the low cost of a lubricant may seem initially attractive, higher cost lubricants are better-quality products and will lead to long-term savings by reducing downtime and preventable maintenance costs.

What are the benefits of using quality synthetic oil?

  • A good quality oil provides several benefits, such as:
  • Better low- and high-temperature viscosity performance
  • Better viscosity index (VI)
  • Better chemical and shear stability
  • Decreased evaporative loss
  • Resistance to oxidation, thermal breakdown and oil sludge problems
  • Possibility to extended drain intervals, with the environmental benefit of less used oil waste generated
  • Improved fuel economy in certain engine configurations
  • Better lubrication during extreme cold weather starts
  • Possibly a longer engine life

What is the viscosity of a lubricant?

The viscosity of a lubricating oil describes how easily it pours at a specific temperature. Thin oils have a lower viscosity and therefore pour more easily at low temperatures.

Thicker oils have a higher viscosity and are better at retaining film strength and oil pressure at high temperatures and loads.

A lubricant’s viscosity and its capability to create physical and chemical films are key attributes that control the efficiency of mechanical systems.

Is thicker oil better?

Thicker oil can provide a better lubricant film between moving parts and seals key components of your engine more effectively. But in reality, thicker oil is not always better for your machine/engine. The oil must be able to coat surfaces, but also flow into all the tight spaces. Therefore, the best grade of oil for your engine is that recommended by the manufacturer.

What is the difference between conventional and synthetic oil?

Synthetic oil is made in the lab, whereas conventional oil is extracted from the ground and is refined from crude oil.

Why use synthetic oil?

Synthetic and semi-synthetic oils are made from non-conventional bases using sophisticated chemical processes to provide special properties. They are refined, distilled, purified and broken down into the basic modules and then reconstructed and improved with additives. This allows them to provide added protection against wear and tear and sludge build-up, helping to prevent harmful deposits forming in your engine.

This synthetic process eradicates impurities from the crude oil and allows certain molecules to be customised to the requirements of modern engines. This provides extra protection and improved performance, keeping your engines running for longer.

Does engine oil expire?

Engine oil has an expiry date and its properties are best if used within two years; after this period its performance levels can no longer be guaranteed, therefore it’s important to get it changed regularly to ensure it performs at its best.

How to dispose of oil

Many oil users aren’t aware that used motor oil can be recycled. To ensure it can be reused, it must be kept in a clean, leakproof container such as a plastic jug or bottle. The cap must be tightly sealed and it must be stored in a cool, dry place away from heat and direct sunlight.

Please note, used oil cannot be recycled if it’s mixed with other liquid fuels such as antifreeze or brake fluid.

We collect used oil, so simply give us a call on 0330 123 5665 and we can arrange collection. You must never put oil in the bin as it can contaminate the environment and result in fines or penalties.

How often should I change engine oil?

When a lubricant degrades, it forms reaction products that become insoluble and corrosive. This causes the original lubricity properties to become impaired as the product ages.

To avoid this happening, oil should be changed at least once a year. However, the time interval between oil changes may be modified depending on the quality of the lubricant, the engine characteristics and the vehicle use conditions. The vehicle or equipment manufacturer will determine the frequency, and this information can usually be found in the documentation supplied with your vehicle or machinery.

Where can I purchase lubricants?

With national coverage, we supply a vast range of lubricants to all corners of the UK in a wide range of quantities. Simply call 0330 123 5665 and speak to an account manager who can advise you on the best product for your specific needs.

How do I store lubricants?

All lubricants should be stored in a cool, dry place away from any sources of heat or ignition. We have a wide range of secure storage solutions that are available nationwide to keep your lubricants safe from impact, theft and contamination.

What types of packaging do you offer?

All our lubricants are available in IBCs, 205-litre barrels, 25-litre tubs or smaller quantities to suit your requirements. We can also supply all our lubricants in bulk, allowing you to see bigger savings in the long-run.

I’m using a competitor’s lubricant, do you offer a similar product?

Yes, we will likely have a similar lubricant and in many instances, a superior product may be available. We also custom blend oils to suit your exact requirements depending on the required quantity, allowing us to provide a product that best serves your needs.