Choose Your Lube
by Pat Goss
There must be a thousand different types of lubricants that can be used around an automobile. Believe it or not, the majority of them do not come out of a grease gun. One of the things that we find people doing all the time is they go under the car to lubricate the chassis. That is if your car still has grease fittings in the chassis. And they get near the brake calipers and see this thing. It looks like a grease fitting. It isn’t. It’s a bleeder valve. Don’t lubricate it.
All right, now what actually is a grease? Well, a grease is nothing more than a vehicle to hold oil. And it releases that oil based on temperature or pressure, and there are low pressure greases and low temperature greases and high pressure and high temperature and so on, and they’re not interchangeable. If you use a high pressure grease in a low pressure application, you’re going to have problems, and the reverse is true as well. So always use the grease or lubricant that the manufacturer calls for.
Another place to get in trouble, right here. Belt dressing. Now, you never use belt dressing on one of these flat, serpentine belts because you will be hating life. It will make it noisy and you’ll have all kinds of problems. V-belts, probably okay. Serpentine belts, no way.
Here’s something else where a lot of people make mistakes. These are rust penetrants. Yes, they are mild lubricants, but you certainly wouldn’t want to lubricate something that required some serious duty lubricant with one of these because the part would wear out.
Oh, and one thing that everybody seems to forget, right here. The latches or the locks on the car inside, outside, all of them. They need to be lubricated and they require a special lubricant. It’s made of graphite. So make sure you lubricate the locks using the proper product.
Something else that most people, well, they just completely ignore, the rubber weather stripping around the doors and the hatch and so on. They have to all be lubricated using silicone spray. Now the neatest way to do this is just simply to spray it on to a rag and then wipe the weather stripping with the rag. That keeps it neat and doesn’t get it all over the paint and everything.
All right, finally, down here. The latch. Now as this car goes down the road, the body flexes, and a lot of that flexing happens right here at this latch assembly and on the hinges. The latch needs to be lubricated, and the lubricant for that is white lithium grease. And along with that, the hinges, they need to be lubricated as well. Same product, the white lithium grease. Do it about three to four times a year, and all of these parts on the car will be trouble free for the life of the car.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.