Guide to ZF transmission oils

Oil lubricants are used in ZF transmissions to reduce friction and wear on machine components which slide or rotate. ZF certified oils will protect, preserve and seal these components meaning reduced fuel consumption and increased performance for your transmission.

oiled machine components

The technical specifications of commercial vehicles have increased markedly over the last few decades. And more elaborate machine components requires more elaborate lubricants to keep them running smoothly. We, along with the engineers at ZF, think that oil should be considered a component in its own right.

For this reason, ZF chose to develop their own range of transmission oils each with a set of defining specifications making them ideally suited to their jobs.

Find the right transmission oil for your commercial vehicle

The vast majority of commercial vehicles (including most trucks, buses and light commercial vehicles) will fall into one of two categories, TE-ML 01 or TE-ML 02.

TE-ML 01 vehicles are strictly manual transmissions while TE-ML 02 can be either manual or automatic. If you are unsure which category your transmission falls into then you should check the transmission for a small metal oil type plate.

For a full list of ZF lubricants and the appropriate oil to match your application, click here.

Checking your oil

Without visiting a ZF service laboratory the options for checking an oils condition are limited. However, there a quick visual check can give you some relevant information. If your oil is cloudy or leaves a milky residue on the dipstick then it is a good indicator that water has mixed with the oil.

Checks like this though are limited in what they can tell you. Importantly you will not be able to tell whether crucial additives have broken down or not.

The best practice for monitoring the quality of your oil is to pay attention to the oil change intervals and try not to exceed them.

How often does my ZF transmission oil need to be changed?

The ‘lifespan’ of oil varies significantly according to a wide variety of factors. Importantly, premium quality oil has a longer lifespan than some of the cheaper alternatives (like non-approved lubricants).  Approved ZF oils can be identified by their original packaging and corresponding list of specifications.

Other factors which can affect the transmission oil change interval

  • Average speed of the vehicle
  • Extreme outside temperatures
  • Whether a vehicle is used primarily for long distance or short distance travel
  • Other tough operating conditions

Read the full oil specifications for TE-ML 01 transmissions here and the full specifications for TE-ML 02 transmissions here.

If you have any further questions about oils as they apply to your specific vehicle then call a member of our technical team on 01204 701 812.

Ecodrive stock a large range of ZF approved quality lubricants. Ask a member of the team about our special offers on 01204 701 812.