For Some, Oil Is Only Chemistry. For Liqui Moly, It Is Lifeblood

Founded in 1957, Liqui Moly began business with a patent for the production of a specialized oil additive. “The company name refers to this product,” said Peter Szarafinski, Head of International Media Relations. “LIQUI because it was a liquid additive and MOLY because of the molybdenum disulfide. Funny enough, after more than 60 years this product is still being produced in a slightly modified formulation.”

Photo of Molybdenum sulfide ground into smaller particles. Photo from CAS Database List.

The original Liqui Moly additive contained a liquified form of molybdenum sulfide, a solid lubricant. When the additive was added to motor oil, the lubricity of the oil was improved. The aviation community had already been using this technology stemming back to the First World War. Molybdenum disulfide added to aircraft engines gave pilots additional emergency running characteristics that allowed extra time to land, even if the engine’s oil supply had been damaged. That product is still being sold in the U.S. as MoS2 Anti-Friction Engine Treatment.

The Liqui Moly company is now known as a global company that specializes in oils, lubricants for various applications, and additives. Recently, Liqui Moly has found itself being pulled into the U.S. market heavily by increased consumer requests. We take a deeper look into this International lubricant company.

From Additive To Motor Oil

Once the company’s oil additive put them solidly in the world’s marketplace, Liqui Moly added to their stable of products with its brand of motor oil. Liqui Moly’s motor oil was sold with the additive MoS2 which was combined by the user when the oil was added to the vehicle. Now the company has motor oil with MoS2 already mixed and suspended in the oil. These low friction oils are one of the company’s flagship products.

Using Liqui Moly’s website to find the product you want is fairly easy. Everything is menu-driven and highlighted by easy-to-identify icons.

Szarafinski gave us a rundown of the company’s operations and how the company went from an additive manufacturer to a global motor oil supplier. “In the beginning, we focused pretty much on the niche of German imports because these cars require motor oil meeting specifications issued by the car manufacturers. These specifications are totally different from the well-known API system. Being a German company, these oil specifications are our daily business in Europe. As we gained more and more market share among the German imports in the USA, we also approached domestics and models from Asian manufacturers. For these auto manufacturers, we launched a series of motors oil developed especially for them. These are the AA oils in which the AA stands for American & Asian.”

Once you have selected a product line you are looking for, you will need to select the type of application. Ideally, this will direct you to the proper specified oil for your engine.

We chose the classic car icon because we were looking for the suggested motor oil for a first-generation Camaro.

Within seconds we got the suggested motor oil for our application. The guide gave us the type, weight, and recommended oil change interval.

Just to see if we would get something different or the same recommendation, we tried the product search for a second-generation Camaro. Much to our delight, the results were different.

The liquified molybdenum sulfide additive is not only used in motor oils, Liqui Moly has incorporated its use in gear oils, transmission oils, and differential oils as well. From the one additive that started the company, Liqui Moly has developed an entire range of products that represent over 4,000 engine and gear oils, additives and vehicle care products, workshop equipment, and service products.

“We do business in 150 countries and usually we do not sell directly but go through independent importers,” he explained. “The USA was the first country where we established a subsidiary and did the job ourselves.”

Molybdenum disulfide in its natural state. Photo from wikipedia.org.

What Is Molybdenum Sulfide?

It is natural for consumers to be skeptical when they are faced with an unfamiliar term, chemical, or process they’ve never heard of before. In the case of Molybdenum Sulfide, this is a product that is well known and scientists have a lot of information to support any claims. Marketers have a difficult time putting a spin and empirical facts and data.

Our first stop to gather facts about Liqui Moly’s low-friction additive is the Chemical Abstract Service (CAS). This group is a Division of the American Chemical Society, a highly respected source of chemical information used by government, regulatory, health, and transportation agencies. The CAS assigns a CAS number to every chemical substance described in scientific literature from 1957 through the present day. These CAS Identifier numbers are maintained in a registry which is considered an authoritative collection of disclosed chemical substance information.

Crystal structure model of the part of the crystal structure of molybdenite, MoS2. Photo from CAS Database List.

What the CAS registry tells us about Molybdenum Sulfide (CAS #1317-33-5) is the natural material found in igneous rocks and metallic veins. The registry also tells us such facts as appearance, density, stability, molecular weight and formula, and atomic structure. All of this is very interesting, but not really what an automotive enthusiast would be searching for. Near the bottom of the entry, we find exactly what non-scientists would be looking for: Description and uses.

The registry entry provides this description: “Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is the most famous of the single-layer transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) family. MoS2 has been used in bulk for many years as a solid lubricant, this is due to its low coefficient of friction in addition to its high chemical and thermal stability.” 

Functional Uses

In common layman’s terms, Molybdenum disulfide is often used as a component of products where low friction is desired. The automotive world has used it for years in oils and greases because these products retain their lubricity even in cases of almost complete material loss. But the rest of the manufacturing world has been using MoS2 in products to improve strength as well as reduce friction. Some of these examples include nylon (Nylatron), Teflon, and Vespel.

Many “self-lubricating” composite coatings have been developed by using molybdenum disulfide. MoS2-coatings have been developed that allow bullets easier passage through the rifle barrel causing less barrel fouling allowing the barrel to retain ballistic accuracy much longer. MoS2 is also used in ski wax to prevent static buildup in dry snow conditions. It is fair to say the molybdenum disulfide component has been used very successfully for several decades in various applications. In fact, it has been called the “King of Solid Lubrication” by many in the industry.

When it comes to Liqui Moly, the company’s goal is to be a top-shelf product only. “Our aim is that we do not want to be the cheapest but the best,” Szarafinski stated. “We are a premium brand offering premium quality.”

How Muscle Car Owner Benefit

Many car owners see lubricants as simply consumable without a base in performance. Liqui Moly presents a different case to muscle car owners. “Pouring in oil with the wrong specifications is like installing the wrong replacement part,” said Szarafinski. “The difference is you will likely notice if a part does not fit correctly when you are trying to install it. The engine, on the other hand, will swallow all kinds of fluids, be it right or wrong.” He went on to say the effects of using oil not made with the right specs would not be seen immediately, “but with some delay during which the wrong oil damages the engine by increased wear and tear or oil sludge, for instance.”

The new Cera Tec additive is shown here being added to a beaker of water. The additive is lighter than many liquids and floats to the top of the beaker. A metal spoon is inserted into the beaker as the Cera Tec additive coats the metal. Cera Tec contains ceramic particles as a solid lubricant which forms a protective layer to prevent direct metal-to-metal contact.

Szarafinski says the muscle car enthusiasts can benefit from using “Our oil guide at www.liqui-moly.com.” The guide lists oils that are suited for specific vehicles. “Just enter make, model, and engine to see the results,” he explained.

Other Friction Reducing Products

Cera Tec is another Liqui Moly product that Szarafinski says will help muscle cars. “This is the wear protection additive of choice for people wanting the best for their car.” The protection is twofold according to Szarafinski. First, it contains tiny ceramic particles as a solid lubricant which forms a protective layer and prevents direct metal-to-metal contact. In addition to this physical protection, “there is a chemical protection by friction modifiers which smoothen the microscopic scratches in the metal surfaces, thus further reducing friction,” he said.

Everything has a purpose in Liqui Moly’s packaging. The black label products are the Pro-Line and designed for the workshop. Silver label products are for regular use and preventative maintenance. Products with black caps are designed to be added to the oil. Blue caps are manufactured for addition to gas while red caps are designated for diesel. Products with white caps are designed for addition to the cooling system.

Liqui Moly is also promoting their Molygen motor oil series. According to Szarafinski, this oil “offers very special wear protection. It is easy to spot because they are not amber but green and it looks great when pouring it  in your engine.”

Most car enthusiasts already understand that reduced friction means less wear and tear resulting in increased engine life and fewer engine problems. This is also huge prevention of power loss over time with friction-reducing lubricants. To find out more about Liqui Moly or their line of products, visit them online at www.liqui-moly.com.

Article Sources

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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