July/August 2021

M ore than a year of lockdowns sporadic use is likely to mean that many vehicles are creaking due to missed servicing. Garages will be busy through the summer sorting out a host of internal engine problems. The right lubricants are crucial here. Meanwhile, the growing prevalence of EVs and hybrids means a whole new group of lubricants to understand. According to Andrew Goddard, Chairman of independent industry trade body the Verification of Lubricant Specifications (VLS), the lubricants industry has never faced so many challenges. “The lubricants industry has played in huge part is supporting government policy over the past few decades. Working closely with OEMs, thinner synthetic lubricants have been developed to cater to the strive for reduced emissions, demand for greater performance and better fuel economy. Independent reports have highlighted the significant contribution already made by engine lubricants to improving fuel economy and lowering CO2 emissions. Lubricants have also evolved to cope with smaller and more high-powered engines, increased bio- content in fuels with the introduction of E5 and the E10, hybrid vehicle technology, challenges like start-stop functionality and overcoming problems arising from low speed pre-ignition (LSPI). “But all of this innovation isn’t enough. With the government introducing a ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles from 2030, lubricants must evolve again. Electric vehicles use a far higher electric current than conventional internal combustion engines and this creates a lot of heat. The lubricant must help to dissipate heat around the engine and keep it operating at optimum temperature. Lubricants for electric vehicles also need improved corrosion protection. This is because electric vehicles use a lot more copper than conventional vehicles. This copper is susceptible to corrosion if it comes into contact with acidic elements, so the lubricating fluid needs to protect against this. “Adapting to electric vehicles isn’t the only challenge. If hydrogen fuel cell vehicles become a viable option to meet emissions targets, another type of lubricant will be required. These lubricants will need to keep pistons and other moving parts functioning properly, but also cater for the oil dilution created by the combustion process. Lubricants must be compatible with increased water concentration in the crankcase, so that they can withstand increased moisture levels and still keep the engine fully lubricated.” Andrew added: “Against the backdrop of all this forward- thinking innovation, the reality for many workshops will be motorists holding onto their cars for longer contributing to an ageing car parc. The challenge for mechanics will be dealing with a mix of electric, hybrid and combustion engine vehicles, all with different fluid requirements. Education is vital to support technicians as these new 42 AFTERMARKET JULY/AUGUST 2021 OIL AND LUBRICANTS www.aftermarketonline.net With cars on the move again, making sure your customers’ cars are properly lubricated will be crucial GREASE THE WHEELS products become part of their everyday working life.” Formulations Electrification is clearly having a big impact on lubricants then. Andy Wait, UK Business Development Manager PCMO at Motul also commented: “Motul is embracing the moves in the market towards vehicle electrification. In line with Motul’s long-held strategy, not only of developing general lubricant formulations but also of developing specialist product to meet specific applications, the company has already brought a range of lubricants to market specifically aimed at hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) fitted with recent petrol engines. “Motul’s Hybrid 0W 100% synthetic engine lubricant range is the result of Motul innovation in developing new advanced lubricants and is specially formulated to meet the specific needs of hybrid electric vehicles, such as HEV, PHEV and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with Range Extender, where lots of engine Stop/Start are involved during the different operating phases of the hybrid vehicle. This particular mode of operation of the internal combustion engine on a hybrid vehicle generates very specific constraints for the lubricant, and Motul’s Hybrid 0W range fully meets all these requirements. On hybrid vehicles applications, the lubricant’s fuel economy boosting properties are paramount, but the volatility of the lubricant – and therefore its ability to control the oil consumption in an internal combustion engine – is also very important when using such low viscosity oil.” Andy added: “Motul Hybrid 0W formulations make them particularly resistant to high temperatures for improved control of the oil consumption. They are also formulated to improve oil flow at start-up, deliver faster oil pressure build up, faster rev-rise and a more rapid move to operating temperature.”