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SOUTH AFRICA

SOUTH AFRICA

FAQ
on Lubricants

Fluid
  • What is the function of lubricants?

    Lubrication of sliding or rotating machine components reduces friction and wear. ZF transmission oils protect, preserve, and seal machine components, reduce fuel consumption and increase performance.

    Lubrication of sliding or rotating machine components reduces friction and wear. ZF transmission oils protect, preserve, and seal machine components, reduce fuel consumption and increase performance.

  • Why does ZF develop transmission oils? Why does ZF develop transmission oils? Why does ZF develop transmission oils?

    Modern vehicle and transmission generations are faced with constantly increasing requirements. In the end, the same is true for transmission oils. Also, certain oil-characteristics are now indispensable for the optimal functioning of certain transmission components ("oil as a component").

    Maximum performance and shifting comfort can only be guaranteed by an oil that has been perfectly adapted to the individual transmission.

    Modern vehicle and transmission generations are faced with constantly increasing requirements. In the end, the same is true for transmission oils. Also, certain oil-characteristics are now indispensable for the optimal functioning of certain transmission components ("oil as a component").

    Maximum performance and shifting comfort can only be guaranteed by an oil that has been perfectly adapted to the individual transmission.

  • How can I find the right transmission oil for my transmission?

    The transmission oils that are approved for ZF units are specified in the ZF Lists of Lubricants TE-ML ... which are updated every 3 months.

    The transmission oils that are approved for ZF units are specified in the ZF Lists of Lubricants TE-ML ... which are updated every 3 months.

  • How can I check whether my transmission oil is still alright?

    A simple visual inspection certainly will not do any harm. For instance, to check for water in the oil, see if the oil is cloudy or leaves a milky residue on the dipstick. However, this method cannot tell whether important additives have broken down or not. This is why, even if the oil looks perfectly alright, the specified oil change intervals must not be exceeded under any circumstances.

    A simple visual inspection certainly will not do any harm. For instance, to check for water in the oil, see if the oil is cloudy or leaves a milky residue on the dipstick. However, this method cannot tell whether important additives have broken down or not. This is why, even if the oil looks perfectly alright, the specified oil change intervals must not be exceeded under any circumstances.

  • Why is it advisable to use an oil from ZF?

    In modern transmissions, the oil is a "component" that needs to match the different transmission functions and materials as perfectly as possible. ZF transmission oils are developed especially for the individual transmissions and adapted to their specific requirements. Off-the-shelf products usually have to meet the specifications for different units and therefore have to make compromises, preventing your ZF transmission from reaching its full potential.

    In modern transmissions, the oil is a "component" that needs to match the different transmission functions and materials as perfectly as possible. ZF transmission oils are developed especially for the individual transmissions and adapted to their specific requirements. Off-the-shelf products usually have to meet the specifications for different units and therefore have to make compromises, preventing your ZF transmission from reaching its full potential.

  • Are the intervals longer for premium quality oils?

    Yes, premium quality oils needs to be changed less frequently. The mandatory oil change intervals are specified in the List of Lubricants.

    Yes, premium quality oils needs to be changed less frequently. The mandatory oil change intervals are specified in the List of Lubricants.

  • How can I tell that my transmission oil has not been changed for a long time?

    To assess the condition of an oil, it needs to be analyzed in a suitable laboratory.

    To assess the condition of an oil, it needs to be analyzed in a suitable laboratory.

  • Is it worth using a synthetic oil instead of a mineral oil?

    Synthetic transmission oils are especially recommended for applications with high thermal stress (e.g. demanding topography, sporty driving style, transmission with retarder). Thanks to their flatter viscosity-temperature curve they are also ideally suited for use in regions with a cold or hot climate. Also, the additives used are often of a better quality, which, for instance, translates into better protection of bearings and gears.

    The argument that the more frequent oil changes required with cheaper mineral oils help remove dirt from the transmission, thus increasing its service life, is only valid in exceptional cases (e.g. use in the desert). ZF transmission oils are synthetic oils, which undergo an elaborate filtration process during the factory fill. Thus, under no circumstances should ZF synthetic factory fill oils be changed prematurely.

    Oil of an inferior quality can be inadequate from the onset, leading to wear and dirt accumulation. Especially for high oil temperatures, the general advice is to use synthetic products.

    Synthetic transmission oils are especially recommended for applications with high thermal stress (e.g. demanding topography, sporty driving style, transmission with retarder). Thanks to their flatter viscosity-temperature curve they are also ideally suited for use in regions with a cold or hot climate. Also, the additives used are often of a better quality, which, for instance, translates into better protection of bearings and gears.

    The argument that the more frequent oil changes required with cheaper mineral oils help remove dirt from the transmission, thus increasing its service life, is only valid in exceptional cases (e.g. use in the desert). ZF transmission oils are synthetic oils, which undergo an elaborate filtration process during the factory fill. Thus, under no circumstances should ZF synthetic factory fill oils be changed prematurely.

    Oil of an inferior quality can be inadequate from the onset, leading to wear and dirt accumulation. Especially for high oil temperatures, the general advice is to use synthetic products.

  • Is it possible to switch from a mineral oil to a synthetic oil?

    Not every "synthetic oil" is compatible with the different materials within a transmission. That being said, switching over to an oil that is approved by ZF for the unit in question is always possible. For details, please see the ZF Lists of Lubricants.

    Residual amounts of the mineral oil can, however, affect the quality of the synthetic oil. This is why some ZF units require more frequent oil changes after the initial switching over from a mineral oil to a synthetic oil.

    Not every "synthetic oil" is compatible with the different materials within a transmission. That being said, switching over to an oil that is approved by ZF for the unit in question is always possible. For details, please see the ZF Lists of Lubricants.

    Residual amounts of the mineral oil can, however, affect the quality of the synthetic oil. This is why some ZF units require more frequent oil changes after the initial switching over from a mineral oil to a synthetic oil.

  • Why are synthetic oils more expensive than mineral oils?

    Mineral oils are refined crude oils that still contain several undesired components. Synthetic oils are either completely synthesized from gaseous components (PAO, GTL) or they are based on mineral oil that is subject to a complex chemical aftertreatment. Both methods are, of course, considerably more expensive than simple refining.

    Mineral oils are refined crude oils that still contain several undesired components. Synthetic oils are either completely synthesized from gaseous components (PAO, GTL) or they are based on mineral oil that is subject to a complex chemical aftertreatment. Both methods are, of course, considerably more expensive than simple refining.

  • Can I mix mineral oil and synthetic oil?

    It is no problem to mix poly-alpha-olefin-based synthetic oils with mineral oils. However, this affects quality, meaning that shorter oil change intervals are required.

    It is no problem to mix poly-alpha-olefin-based synthetic oils with mineral oils. However, this affects quality, meaning that shorter oil change intervals are required.

  • What should I consider when purchasing a transmission oil?

    The oil must be approved by the manufacturer. Normally, the relevant recommendations are contained in the operating instructions for the vehicle. Every 3 months, ZF publishes its latest Lists of Lubricants on the internet. You can access them at www.zf.com/lubricants The product descriptions given by the lubricant manufacturer should clearly state that the product is approved for your transmission. Statements like "suitable for", "meets the requirements" do not constitute an approval.

    The oil must be approved by the manufacturer. Normally, the relevant recommendations are contained in the operating instructions for the vehicle. Every 3 months, ZF publishes its latest Lists of Lubricants on the internet. You can access them at www.zf.com/lubricants The product descriptions given by the lubricant manufacturer should clearly state that the product is approved for your transmission. Statements like "suitable for", "meets the requirements" do not constitute an approval.

  • How can I recognize an original oil?

    Look out for the original packaging and the exact specifications. If in doubt, contact ZF Services South Africa.

    Look out for the original packaging and the exact specifications. If in doubt, contact ZF Services South Africa.

  • Is it possible to switch over to a mineral oil if the transmission has been operated with synthetic oil for a long time time?

    Yes. However, you cannot necessarily assume the oil to perform equally well - nor the additive package, which is normally more powerful for synthetic oils. Consulting the ZF Lists of Lubricants is essential.

    Yes. However, you cannot necessarily assume the oil to perform equally well - nor the additive package, which is normally more powerful for synthetic oils. Consulting the ZF Lists of Lubricants is essential.

  • What does the term 'synthetic oil' mean?

    The term 'synthetic oil' is mostly used for marketing purposes and the definition varies from one country to another. The API classification by the American Petroleum Institute is more reliable. API Group 1 covers mineral oils. API Groups 2 and 3 cover hydrogenated mineral oils, which are sometimes already referred to as 'semi-synthetic'. Synthetic oils that fall into API Group 4 are poly-alpha-olefins, which are artificially constructed from other compounds.

    The term 'synthetic oil' is mostly used for marketing purposes and the definition varies from one country to another. The API classification by the American Petroleum Institute is more reliable. API Group 1 covers mineral oils. API Groups 2 and 3 cover hydrogenated mineral oils, which are sometimes already referred to as 'semi-synthetic'. Synthetic oils that fall into API Group 4 are poly-alpha-olefins, which are artificially constructed from other compounds.

  • What are the characteristics of synthetic oils?

    Their main advantage is their high thermal stability, which allows for long oil change intervals even with higher oil temperatures. They also have a flat, shear-stable viscosity-temperature curve, making them ideally suited for use in regions with a cold or hot climate.

    Their main advantage is their high thermal stability, which allows for long oil change intervals even with higher oil temperatures. They also have a flat, shear-stable viscosity-temperature curve, making them ideally suited for use in regions with a cold or hot climate.

  • What does viscosity mean?

    Viscosity is the measurement of an oil's resistance to flow. High viscosities form thick lubricant layers that protect gears and bearings from wear. Lower viscosities usually equal fewer churning losses, i.e. better efficiency and lower fuel consumption. With manual transmissions, higher viscosities lead to higher shifting forces and therefore less shifting comfort.

    Viscosity is the measurement of an oil's resistance to flow. High viscosities form thick lubricant layers that protect gears and bearings from wear. Lower viscosities usually equal fewer churning losses, i.e. better efficiency and lower fuel consumption. With manual transmissions, higher viscosities lead to higher shifting forces and therefore less shifting comfort.

  • Can I use oils with a different viscosity?

    The viscosity classes suitable for the respective unit are indicated in the ZF Lists of Lubricants Other viscosity classes must not be used.

    The viscosity classes suitable for the respective unit are indicated in the ZF Lists of Lubricants Other viscosity classes must not be used.

  • What are the factors that can cause an oil's viscosity to change?

    Changes in temperature (warm = low viscosity / cold = high viscosity), but also shear stress (decreasing viscosity over time of use) or aging (increasing viscosity). Within the engine, contamination with fuel and soot can also have an influence.

    Changes in temperature (warm = low viscosity / cold = high viscosity), but also shear stress (decreasing viscosity over time of use) or aging (increasing viscosity). Within the engine, contamination with fuel and soot can also have an influence.

  • What does "SAE" stand for in the classification of viscosity groups (e.g. SAE 15W-40)?

    SAE is short for the American "Society of Automotive Engineers".

    SAE is short for the American "Society of Automotive Engineers".

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