July/August 2018

O ils and lubricants perform a number of vital functions, but as engines develop and new technology comes in, the market is becoming more complex. Andrew Goddard, Chairman of the Verification of Lubricant Specifications (VLS) comments: “The lubricants industry is facing conflicting challenges. On the one hand, we have seen many OEMs require their own engine oil formulations that use ACEA as a baseline - ACEA C3 GM for Vauxhall or General Motors vehicles, ACEA C3 for VW vehicles or Ford and so on. As OEM technology has become more advanced so too has the need to deliver ever more exact lubricant formulations that take account of specific engine requirements that vary between manufacturer. ACEA appears to have moved from being the benchmark for quality to become today what could be a minimum entry point.” Challenges “However, faced with limited workshop or service space we know that the aftermarket is looking for simpler solutions. The pressure on workshops to rationalise stockholding is always high. Wouldn’t it be easier if one product fits all? “The fewer brands that can cater for multiple OEM requirements must have an advantage in the marketplace versus the need to stock multiple variants of products for every single OEM. Therefore, for some lubricant marketers, expanding the number of OEM applications that a product might be suitable for use provides the answer. Whilst this might be music to the ears of the aftermarket, these claims must be supported by the appropriate technical evidence or it won’t be welcome news for vehicles.“ As the range of oils in the marketplace proliferates, so does the chance for problems. Andrew observes: “This year VLS has received a growing number of complaints made particularly against 5w30 automotive engine oils and the claims they make. Although marketing claims for non- approved products are accepted by both industry and end user alike, they must be supported by relevant technical 44 AFTERMARKET JULY/AUGUST 2018 OIL AND LUBRICANTS www.aftermarketonline.net OIL CHANGE – LUBRICANT EVOLUTION Find out how keeping up with the latest developments in oils and lubricants can help you