Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Transmission Oils - Types and Their Uses

By Ian MacOlive

If you look at all the various vehicles out there or even simple machines, they usually have automatic or manual gear boxes. These are used to transmit power that is generated by the engine. In order for a gearbox to run properly then gearbox oil needs to be used. This lubricates the gears so they stay cool and continue to transmit power without any issues.

Take SUVs for example; these 4-wheel drive options need a little help to negotiate those rough and steep terrains. This is done with a transfer case, which in turn needs transmission oil so the vehicle runs smoothly. Automatic transmission vehicles use ATF (automatic transmission fluid), and manual transmissions use gear oil for the gearboxes.

It's important to understand that newer vehicles that have automatics will contain more gears, so the need for transmission oil to handle frequent changes is crucial to the longevity of the part. The best oils contain a specific formula of chemical detergents, anti-foaming additives, rust preventatives, dispersants, as well as possessing both anti-wear and anti-oxidation properties. Automatic transmission fluid is matched to specific criteria, but you will find this in the manual of the vehicle. You can even find some manufacturers who mention preferred oil brands, which are usually the best ones for their transmissions.

If you're dealing with manual transmissions you have to use certain gear oils. Using the wrong one can result in harder shifting and more grinding to the gears. The end result is an expensive fix you can get rid of for a very long time. Companies take manual gear boxes and give them an oil bath, while leaving the lower portion of the gears in a pool of oil. When the gears rotate they bring the gear oil up, and to the other teeth. It's a great way to spread everything evenly.

In simple gearboxes API GL 1 usually specifies gear oil for light use, but GL 2 and GL 3 will usually specify it for more moderate use. However, it's the GL4 that used in most light, medium, and heavy vehicles. This is very true if you're over in Europe. Now the GL5 and the GL6 are setup for those "extreme" conditions. These oils happen to have various levels of anti-scuffing agents for a heavier workload. If you're not sure what to choose we recommend looking at the vehicle's owner manual. Even though you can choose your own options as well, make sure you stick with the oil change when the manual says to do so.

It's also possible that some synthetic transmission oils are required if you need to improve performance levels. The difference between these and others is that they offer better lubrication abilities, as opposed to mineral oils. Now, they will cost more than your regular transmission oil, but its well worth it. You can do your own research on this, but the biggest oil available that is approved by several manufacturers is Shell.

Just about everyone has heard of them before, so it's helpful to know their oil selection is for both manual and automatic transmissions. It can work for a variety of parts like; axles, transfer boxes, power steering units, as well as other components under Spirax and Donax. When it's time to figure out what transmission oil to use it can find the exact specifications. This also works for gear oil, and thanks to big name promotions you will find that General Motors approves Donax TX oil. Their version is the GM Dexron III.

Ensuring the transfer of power is crucial to a strong running automobile or piece of machinery. So finding the ideal transmission oil or gear oil should be a priority. When you can use these oils with longer draining times they will be beneficial to all areas; including harsh conditions. The end result is safer drivers and operators when handling a vehicle or any type of equipment.

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