Lubricants Frequently Asked Questions
Read our FAQ for information about commercial lubricants
With 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 blender, we’ve put together some of the common questions we’re asked here at Beesley Fuels.
Table of Contents:
Q: What is a lubricating oil?
Lubricating oil, also known as a lubricant or lube, is used to reduce the friction, heat and wear between mechanical components that are in contact with each other.
It refers to an extensive range of products that are characterised by a large number of base chemicals and additives. They can be either synthetic or mineral-based. Mineral oils are refined from naturally occurring crude oil, whereas synthetic oils are manufactured.
Q: What is the use of lubricants?
- Reduce friction between two metal surfaces
- Protect mechanical components from wear and corrosion
- Clean and cool engines
- Act as a sealant between the segments/pistons and jackets to prevent gas leaks from inside the combustion chamber
Q: How does a lubricant work?
Lubricants cushion and smooth the bumps between two surfaces as they glide past each other. When two solids rub together without a lubricant, they make noise, lose energy to friction and eventually wear out.
Lubricants can easily change shape and flow, ideally in perfect layers, known as laminar flow. The layer of lubricant near the top surface moves towards the left while the bottom layer moves towards the right. The layers then slide freely past each other, helping to reduce friction.
Q: How do lubricants reduce friction?
Lubricants reduce the heat generated between two surfaces when in motion. It smooths the process by forming a film that reduces friction and therefore improved performance and efficiency.
Q: When should I use oil or grease?
While grease and oil are similar and can be interchangeable, they have their own specific uses and, in some instances, one is more suitable than the other.
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 require grease.
Lubricating oilsTo transfer heat from the lubricant to outside of the systemTo generate a central oil supply that can lubricate multiple parts of the machine at onceFor machinery that needs constant lubricationFor machinery/components that move at high speedFor machine parts that are easily accessible
To protect worn components and prolong the lifespan of parts previously lubricated by oilFor machinery/components that are not in use but when neededFor machine parts that operate in extreme conditions e.g. high temperature, pressure and load For machinery/components that move at low speedFor inaccessible parts and those that are sealed for life e.g. gearboxes
Lubricating oils usesCarsFactory machineryHydraulicsMoving mechanical parts
Lubricating grease usesBearingsGearsHeavy-duty machinery
Knowing which oil is right for your business can be tricky. Using the wrong blend can damage machinery and potentially void warranties. Our technicians remove the burden of finding the right product, allowing you to protect your investment and focus on other areas of your business.
Q: How do I store lubricants?
The correct handling and storing of lubricants is critical to product functionality and staff safety. Generally, lubricants must be stored:In a cool, dry placeAway from any sources of heat or ignitionAway from the elements
At Beesley Fuels, we supply a wide range of storage barrels, tanks and ancillary products to aid the safe storage and handling of lubricants, oils and greases.
Q: Can I mix two lubricants together in one engine?
Lubricants are always optimised to meet the requirements of classifications. However, there are many ways to formulate a specific type of lubricant. You can mix two products that have the same properties; however, end performance cannot be guaranteed, and the quality of the blend may be reduced.
Mixing lubricants with different viscosity levels is not advised, and you should only do so if necessary, such as refilling when oil levels are low.
Only mix lubricants following advice from a specialist and ensure you use the same quality oils from the same manufacturer.
Q: What are the benefits of using quality oil?
A good quality oil provides several benefits, such as:Improved cold start performanceReduced wearLonger engine lifeFuel cost savings Reduced friction of moving partsBetter engine performance
Q: Why use synthetic oil?
Synthetic and semi-synthetic oils are made from non-conventional bases using sophisticated chemical processes to provide special properties.
There are many benefits of using synthetic oils over regular oil, including:Better low and high temperature viscosity performance at service temperature extremesBetter viscosity index (VI)Better chemical and shear stabilityReduced evaporative lossResistant to oxidation, thermal breakdown and sludge build-upImproved fuel economy in some engine configurationsImproved lubrication during cold temperaturesLonger engine lifeIncreased horsepower due to less initial drag on engineLess frequent oil changes than regular oil
Q: How do I dispose of oil?
Many oil users are not 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 1144 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.
Q: Does engine oil expire?
Engine oil’s properties are best if used within two years. Any longer, it’s recommended to replace the oil.
Engine oil has an expiry date; 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.
High heat and stress can eventually oxidise the oil, thickening it and losing its ability to move around the engine. In addition, the contaminant-bearing element of the oil will become less effective as it picks up engine debris.
Q: Why is the choice of engine oil so important?
Oil is the essence of your vehicle. If you use the wrong product, it puts your engine at risk from increased wear and tear, corrosion and blockages that can cause engines to break.
Using lubricants from Beesley Fuels ensures that you can carry on running your vehicle with complete peace of mind.
Q: Can a lubricant reduce fuel consumption?
Increasing the time between oil changes will cause it to degrade faster, causing a loss in cleanliness and reducing the protection of engines. As the engine ages faster, it starts to consume more fuel, therefore changing the oil when recommended will reduce fuel consumption.
Quality lubricants can lead to significantly reduced every savings and an improved bottom line. Modern blends extend drain levels and reduce the cost and risk of premature lubricant failure. Using a long-life lubricant can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 50%.
Finding a lubricant partner that can help develop a comprehensive lubrication reliability programme including lubricant selection, protection and maintenance can create considerable savings.
Q: How does engine oil work?
Engine oil is found in an internal combustion engine. It helps key components move and protects them from corrosion, keeps them cool when in use.
It’s made up of two components – additives and base stock.
The additives control the consistency of the liquid and protect the engine from wear.
The base stock usually consists of around 95% of the solution from petroleum, synthetic chemicals, or a combination of the two. The base stock is responsible for lubricating the engine’s moving parts and removing excessive heat.
Engines contain many moving parts which have the potential to rub against each other creating friction. When the engine oil is put into an engine, it travels around certain parts that require frequent lubrication, such as the engine oil pump, oil filter, pickup tube and pressure relief valve.
As well as keeping engine parts moving, the oil also coats moving parts within the engine so that when they come into contact with other parts, they glide rather than cause excessive friction.
It also cleans any dust and debris build-up in working parts.
Q: How often should I change oil?
Oil should be changed at least once a year. However, the time interval between oil 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.
Q: What is the viscosity of a lubricant?
Viscosity is the most important physical property of a lubricant as it’s the measure of the internal friction of a fluid. It can vary with temperature, pressure and in some instances, with the rate at which it’s sheared. A lubricant’s viscosity is associated with its ability to reduce friction in a solid body contact.
Q: Is thicker oil better?
Thin oils have a lower viscosity and pour more easily at low temperatures than thicker oils.
Thin oils reduce friction in engines and improve start performance in cold weather.
Thick oils are better at maintaining film strength and oil pressure at high loads and temperatures.
During the cold weather, your engine will benefit from using oil with low winter viscosity. During the warm months, your engine will benefit more from oil with higher viscosity at 100oC.
Q: Where can I purchase lubricants?
With national coverage, we supply lubricants to all corners of the UK in a wide range of quantities, including metalworking oils, hydraulic oils, greases, compressor oils and industrial gear oils.Speciality custom blendsOff-the-shelf lubricants from a leading manufacturer24/7 support and adviceNationwide deliveryNext day and same day deliveriesDedicated account management
Q: What types of packaging do you offer?
We offer a wide range of standard packaging options, including oil containers and easy to handle packaging to ensure safe handling and storage.
Whether you need an IBC, 205-litre barrel, 25-litre tub or a smaller quantity, we can deliver whatever lubricant you need in whatever quantity.
Q: I’m using a competitor’s lubricant; do you offer a similar product?
Yes, we will likely have a functional similar lubricant and in many instances, a superior lubricant may be available. We also custom blend oils to suit your exact requirements, allowing us to create a product that best serves your needs.
To learn more about our wide range of lubricants and oils or to request a quote, call us today on 0330 123 1144.