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Are gear oils thicker than engine oils?

EST 2009

Are gear oils thicker than engine oils?

Sometimes. But not as you might think. The weight listed on the label of any oil i.e. SAE 50 or 20W-50 describes the oil’s thickness. And looking at it, gear oil labels do have thicker weights than engine oils. However, it is important to remember that the scale that describes your engine oil as a 50 weight, for example, is not the same continuous scale that describes your gearbox oil as a 90 weight. Instead, there are two separate scales, one for the engine, and one for the gear box. There isn’t a straight-forward conversion, but 90 on the gearbox scale is roughly equivalent to 50 on the engine scale; and 80W is roughly equivalent to 20W. The top end of the gear box scale is off the end of the engine scale – in other words there is no substitute for a 250 weight gear oil

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