Modern machinery operates under higher loads, in harsher environments, and with new surfaces which make conventional lubricants obsolete. Low melting point salts known as ionic liquids (ILs) have emerged as potentially excellent next-generation lubricants. However, poor understanding of their lubrication mechanisms restricts their use. In this thesis, nanoscale friction force microscopy reveals that IL diluted in oil lubricates conventional and light weight surfaces as effectively as the neat IL. The reduction in friction arises from a lubricating layer of ions adsorbed to the sliding surfaces. These findings pave the way for the development of IL lubricants.