Abstract This paper discusses the preparation of borated dioctyl dithiocarbamate as an oil-soluble antiwear and extreme pressure additive for lubricants. Its tribological performance when added to liquid paraffin was evaluated on a four-ball tester and a ring-on-block machine. The relationships between its performances and the concentrations are also given, and are compared with these of zinc dialkyldithiophospate (ZDDP). The results show that the novel compound possesses an excellent load-carrying capacity and friction reduction property similar to ZDDP, and exhibits better antiwear property than ZDDP above 392 N. In addition, the novel compound has good anticorrosive property and high thermal stability. The rubbed surface was investigated using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and the antiwear mechanism was discussed.