SUV Multi Lube Mysteries
by Pat Goss
We’re seeing an absolute explosion in popularity of four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive systems. They’re available these days on sedans, on station wagons, on sport- utilities, you name it…it’s probably available with all-wheel or four-wheel drive.
But, that leads to its own set of problems. Once you have a vehicle with these systems on them, what do you look for? Well, you have to look out for more preventive maintenance, and that can get to be complicated.
In the past, all a repair shop had to have was one of these containers of a universal gear lubricant to change the lubrication in the differentials and the transfer case and so on. Well, that is long gone. We don’t have any universal lubricant anymore, and that means that you need to open your owner’s manual, and very carefully read what products need to be used in your vehicle, and when they need to be used.
In other words, in some vehicles, you may find that these services have to be performed as frequently as every 15,000 miles, depending on how you’re using the vehicle. Now it goes beyond that; you see there are different types of lubricants for the different vehicles, and it still gets more complicated, because on some of them the lubrication that goes into the front differential, well, it’ll be different than the lubrication that goes into the rear differential. And those will be different than the lubricant that goes into the transfer case. Oh my…very complicated, but it’s all in the owner’s manual.
Now, the thing you have to make sure as you read that owner’s manual, and whoever is going to do the service for you, they must use the proper product for the location on your vehicle, and for the type of service.
Also, sit down when you get the price, because some of these specialty lubricants can be very expensive. Now, if you fail to follow the directions, you can wind up buying a new differential or a new transfer case, and believe me, that can be outlandishly expensive…often in the thousands of dollars.
So, follow the directions, use the proper lubricant, and avoid the hassle. And, if you have a question or a comment, write to me. If I use your letter, I’ll send you a MotorWeek T-shirt. The address is: MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.