The key characteristics of a lubricant

Mining Solutions - environment

Our research teams take great care to develop high-quality lubricants. They meet international standards as well as vehicle manufacturers’ even more stringent approval. 

The quality of a lubricant is defined by a number of parameters to be found on the label. These indications enable you to assess the properties and level of performance offered by the lubricant. 

These are the main items of information on the label that will help you choose the best lubricant for your needs.


Lubricants behave differently at high and low temperatures. Oil can in effect be characterized by its viscosity, flow resistance or by measuring the thickness of the oil film. Viscosity varies according to temperature in the following manner: 

The higher the temperature, the more fluid the oil and the lower its viscosity. 

This means is that if the engine is to perform at its best, the oil must be able to retain its viscosity whatever the heat conditions: it must stay fluid at cold temperatures (to allow the engine to start) and it must be viscous at hot temperatures (to stop the various moving parts coming into contact with each other).


The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) has created a classification for lubricant grades in order to characterize viscosity at high and low temperatures. 

The grades are made up of two numbers, between which is the letter W (for Winter grade).


Fuel Economy lubricants

These lubricants are based on a special formula that helps save fuel compared with conventional oils offering the same level of performance. 

This characteristic applies essentially to engine oil, but it can also relate to transmission oils for gearboxes, axles, etc. for more information:

Low SAPS lubricants

These lubricants contain low levels of sulphated ash, phosphorus and sulphur. This technology optimizes the operation of the depolluting systems fitted to the most recent engines. 


In order to guarantee high levels of technical performance, our products meet the demands of ACEA, API, JASO and ILSAC international standards as required. 

In addition to this, some vehicle manufacturers lay down approval standards aimed at optimizing the performance of their engines. These are more stringent than the international standards. Such manufacturers recommend the use of a specific oil (refer to the vehicle owner’s manual). Total can offer complete product ranges approved by the most demanding manufacturers.