July/August 2020

Right: Cars that have been idle in lockdown are likely to need some lubrication T here will be a lot of wheezing and creaking as engines splutter into life as people return to work. Lubricants always performed a vital function, but even your least mechanically sensitive customers might think about the importance of oil in the engine for a car that has stood almost idle for three months. Paul Miller, European Marketing Manager at Castrol, commented: “Castrol receives research on the aftermarket from GiPA, and its recent reports have revealed the true extent of the Coronavirus lockdown on workshops. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that many workshops in the UK have been closed or working at reduced capacity. “At the end of March, just 47% of UK workshops were open and, on average, those open were operating at 68% capacity. Six weeks later, workshops in many other European markets were all but reopened. The rates across Germany, France and Italy were 100%, 90%, and 94% respectively, but the UK was still at just 54%. “This drastic reduction in workshop activity – as well as in UK consumers receiving advice and guidance from vehicle technicians – means it’s likely that cars have operated on sub-optimal oil levels, or beyond the point when an oil service was due. In addition, multiple very short journeys – driving only for essentials – may have exacerbated engine wear and undermined efficient running. “Castrol’s most recent research into public knowledge of synthetic oil revealed that many motorists are still unsure about the benefits of using the correct oil, and what ‘the correct oil’ even means. In normal circumstances, they would be advised on maintenance schedules by their local repair garage or workshop, but since the lockdown commenced this type of contact has dropped significantly. A simple look at Google Trends data reveals that online searches for ‘car servicing’, ‘car repair’ and ‘oil change’ plummeted after lockdown began. “The consequences of cars running beyond their scheduled oil service, or with the wrong type of oil, could gradually reveal themselves as people emerge from lockdown and take longer and more frequent journeys again.” Upselling Paul added: “Workshops could recover some lost profit opportunities by upselling engine flush treatments, countering potential harm resulting from vehicles missing their scheduled services. Launched in the UK this summer, Castrol’s all-new Engine Shampoo product is a pre-oil-change treatment, which reduces harmful engine sludge by up to 85%. Sludge can clog vital oil ways, reducing the power, efficiency, and overall life of an engine. It is not removed during a standard oil change.” Specifications As engine technology evolves to meet increasing environmental and emissions demands, engine oil must adapt as well. This means new products with new formulations. One- size-fits-all oil is a thing of the past now. Several new engine oils from LIQUI MOLY now comply with the new standard, namely protection from low speed pre-ignition (LSPI). “As the new oil specification API SP is launched,” explained Oliver Kuhn, Deputy Head of LIQUI MOLY’s Oil Laboratory,” LIQUI MOLY has several suitable engine oils on offer right from the start. This new specification is particularly relevant to models made by American and Asian car manufacturers. Among other things, it aims to prevent damage to certain engines. “The risk of damage in these engines comes from LSPI, i.e. premature ignition in petrol engines at low engine speeds. Like its counterpart – engine knocking at high speeds – LSPI can result in serious engine damage. The risk of LSPI can be significantly reduced with the correct formulation of the engine oil. This was one of the reasons for developing the new API SP standard. “API SP was officially introduced in May and LIQUI MOLY started offering a range of motor oils complying with this standard from the very beginning. These include oils in the Special Tec AA series. “As the designation ‘AA’ indicates, these oils were developed specifically for models from Asia and America that often use different engine oil technology to that of European car manufacturers. But Top Tec 4200 is compliant with API SP, too. Top Tec 4200 is LIQUI MOLY’s Swiss army knife because it covers so many different 32 AFTERMARKET JULY/AUGUST 2020 OIL AND LUBES www.aftermarketonline.net EASING THE WHEELS WITHIN With cars on the move again, making sure your customers’ cars are properly lubricated will be crucial