Choosing Oils and Lubricants For Your Alfa
“Which oil should I use in my Alfa?”, is probably the most common question we’re asked. Most owners are aware that Selenia is the brand of choice in Italy but this raises a few questions when we talk about oils for use in Australia. Is Selenia the best oil for Australian conditions? Since Selenia is not readily available can we use an alternative oil?
The answer to each of these questions can be rather complicated. Alfa Men don’t use just one brand of oil for the entire range of models. We like to match oils to the engine / transmission in which they are used. We certainly preference fully synthetic oils but do offer semi synthetic dependant on the vehicle.
The key to assessing an oil’s suitability is to look carefully at the standards given by the manufacturer. For example, in Alfa manual and Selespeed transmissions, a common standard used is GL-4. This standard refers to not only the performance of the oil but it’s chemical composition and how it interacts with materials found in the Alfa Romeo transmissions. Many enthusiasts are tempted to ‘upgrade’ to a later GL-5 standard oils but this would be a mistake!
GL-5 oils indeed resist higher temperatures and pressures but they are also laden with additives and sulfur which can have a damaging effect on seals and brass synchromesh rings. The result of using GL-5 oils in a box designed for GL-4….. well protected bearings but with leaky seals and corroded synchro rings!
As this example shows, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right oils but with a little product knowledge and experience, the right oil need not be imported from Europe and need not cost an arm and a leg.