A Variety of Gear Oils
Gear oil is a motor oil made specifically for transmissions, transfer cases, and differentials in automobiles, trucks, and other machinery. It is of a higher viscosity to better protect the gears and usually is associated with a strong sulfur smell. The high viscosity ensures transfer of lubricant throughout the gear train. This is necessary since the devices needing this heavy oil do not have pumps for transferring the oil with only a portion of the lowermost gears bathed in an oil sump.
Most lubricants for manual gearboxes and differentials are hypoid gear oils. These contain extreme pressure (EP) additives and antiwear additives to cope with the sliding action of hypoid bevel gears.
Fully synthetic gear oils are also used in many vehicles, and have a greater resistance to shear breakdown than mineral oils. They can improve the shifting performance of "difficult" gearboxes, where the excessive slipperiness of some mineral oils can impede synchromesh action.