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A question of grease

Grease comes from the French word graisse meaning fat so we can guess that animal fat was used for lubrication before it was discovered that oil could be extracted from under the ground and by the application of chemistry used to make purpose designed lubricants.

Nowadays we have it easy in terms of car servicing. There’s a long service interval which your car will probably calculate for you so you won’t have to do much in the way of maintenance until you’ve done 15,000 miles/25,000 km or whatever.


It wasn’t always like this. Back in 1959 Motor magazine in the UK tested this Austin Cambridge.

Illustration for article titled A question of grease

They gave rather more technical details then than they would now and this extended to detailed servicing requirements. Every 1,000 miles the owner or the local garage had to get out the grease gun (supplied) and individually grease 17 points. You have it soft now.

The tools supplied incidentally assumed that the owner was going to do much of the maintenance personally so the tool kit consisted of:

Jack with brace

Tyre pump

Grease gun aforementioned


Plug spanner

Tyre lever

Ignition screwdriver and gauge (for adjusting CB points)

Plug and valve feeler gauges

Starting handle (yes, a flat battery wasn’t stopping you)

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