It is generally acknowledged that any lubrication built into a wire rope, while it is being fabricated, will not last for the life of the elevator rope. Therefore the rope must be re-lubricated periodically.
Proper lubrication prolongs rope life by reducing the abrasive action of wire against wire, and strand against strand, as the rope bends over sheaves and drums. It will also retard core deterioration, which in turn will eliminate excessive distortion of the rope, and also it will retard corrosion of the wires in the rope.
The frequency of lubrication will depend upon the amount of lubricant retained by the rope, the amount of use of the elevators, the factor of safety of the wire ropes, the temperature of the hoist-way in which they are used, and other factors. As a practical guide to the need for lubrication, a finger wiped in a sheave groove should show a faint smudge and have a slightly oily "feel". If this test leaves the finger dry and clean, lubrication is necessary.
Since improper lubricants may seriously reduce the available traction, with traction elevators the lubricants and the amounts used should be limited to those supplied or approved by established elevator wire rope manufacturers.