When rebuilding your car’s engine, one of the most critical times for engine wear is at first startup. After an engine has been completely assembled, motor oil has not had a chance to circulate throughout the motor and coat all of the wear surfaces until after the motor has been turned. While the motor can be primed slowly by hand, but even turning a motor at low speed when the components are dry can cause unnecessary wear on the engine components.
The best solution to this problem is to apply engine assembly lube to critical wear surfaces during assembly. While there are varying opinions on where to use it, common places tend to be camshaft lobes, rod and main bearings, cam bearings, rocker arms, lifters, and other surface where metal rubs on metal. Some people will argue that a heavy motor oil can be used in place of engine assembly lube, however motor oil doesn’t tend to adhere to these critical surfaces for extended time as well as assembly lube which means using motor oil can still leave some parts susceptible to wear.
There are some other advantages to using assembly lube as well. For some of us, an engine build can be completed in a day. For others, it may take weeks or months to accumulate and assemble all of the parts due to certain rare parts being unavailable or due to the time constraints of the mechanic. One potential concern about assembling an engine over a long period of time is corrosion. Applying engine assembly lube can prevent parts from rusting as you are building up your engine. Even a little bit of surface rust on these parts an cause significant long term problems for your engine and threaten to reduce its lifespan so it’s best to prevent this from the beginning.
A final note about engine assembly lubes in general is that due to their high viscosity, if applied incorrectly they can actually work to inhibit oil flow into critical areas in much the same way that improperly used radiator stop leak can create flow issues with your cooling system. To prevent this, the best engine assembly lubes dissolve in oil such that they break down once oil starts to flow so you’ll want to make sure that you get an engine assembly lube with this property to protect your engine.
The Best Engine Assembly Lube
When it comes to choosing the best engine assembly lube, this is not a time to cheap out to try to save a couple bucks. While Lucas, Royal Purple, and Permatex make decent products, our favorite assembly lube is Redline’s Liquid Assembly Lube, which we have found to be easier to apply than your average paste or grease type lubes. While a lower viscosity compared to grease would intuitively not stick to components as well, Redline has engineered this lube to maximize film strength to maintain outstanding adhesion to all the parts you are trying to protect.
The Redline dissolves in oil and will thus not clog your filter or oil jackets once you have run your motor. Additionally, per Redline it is safe for use on a variety of parts including cams, valvetrain components, pistons and cylinder bores, bearings, etc. Furthermore, it is equally at home in your engine as it is in your transmission or differential so you can use it to rebuild multiple different drivetrain components.
To give you an idea of the caliber of Redline products, they are often used in cars that race in the highest forms of the sport: Formula 1, NASCAR, and World Rally Championship (WRC). As such, this engine assembly lube would make an ideal fit for every type of car motor ranging from a Honda Fit to a Porsche GT2.
As far as where to buy, Amazon.com typically has a free shipping deal that makes the price highly attractive. Combining that with the fact that sometimes Redline is hard to find in local auto parts stores makes Amazon the best place to start. Overall we rate the Redline Liquid Assembly Lube as the best engine assembly lube available, but feel free to take a look at other similar products by clicking here should it not quite suit you needs. Happy wrenching!