Tag Archive | "Oils"

VLS RECEIVES 50TH CASE

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VLS RECEIVES 50TH CASE


As the Verification of Lubricant Specifications receives its 50th case complaint, the Director reviews the cases it has investigated so far

VLS was formed in 2013, when the industry faced a real problem. Lubricant products were being sold by some new market entrants with claims that just did not seem to be believable. Closer inspection found that occasionally sub- standard formulations provided by newly-established companies were being passed off as the latest specifications to their customers, or even failing to perform effectively at low temperatures.

Even though the majority of lubricants were compliant with relevant market standards and manufacturer approvals, out of this concern reputable lubricant blenders and manufacturers came together to launch the Verification of Lubricant Specifications (VLS), an industry-led service that independently validates complaints regarding the technical specifications and performance claims of products.

Four years on, VLS has tackled 50 cases, receiving its 50th complaint in September this year. Looking back over the cases so far presents some interesting reading.

MISLEADING CLAIMS
The first case was received in March 2014. The complaint related to an engine oil which was making unrealistic claims that did not comply with ACEA sequences for which it was claimed to be suitable. At the time, VLS was still relatively new and people did not know what to expect. The company involved soon saw that it meant business as the case was escalated to Trading Standards and the company suspended from membership of the United Kingdom Lubricants Association (UKLA) until the matter was resolved.

Non-compliance with ACEA has accounted for the majority (60 percent) of cases. These engine oil sequences change every four years to take account of developments in emission regulations and technical developments in OEM engine design. Lubricant marketers need to manage their stockholding to ensure they are not left with old stock on the shelves when the new sequences become mandatory. VLS cases have shown that they will get reported, investigated and required to withdraw mislabelled stock if necessary.

COLD WEATHER
Around a quarter of cases have related to low temperature properties, which is a particular safety issue. In one case a lubricant was found to turn solid at temperatures of minus 40 degrees centigrade. Whilst the temperature in some parts of the country rarely stays below freezing for a sustained length of time, in Scotland, extreme temperatures are not uncommon. To be within specification, lubricants must be able to perform even in these extreme conditions to avoid damage to vehicles.

OIL TYPES
Of the cases investigated three quarters have related to passenger vehicle engine oils. This is in line with expectations, as automotive comprises a significant sector in the marketplace, as much as half of all lubricants sold. However, VLS’ remit does include everything from engine to transmission and gear oil and all have featured in cases. Seven cases of automotive gear oils with suspected low temperature properties have been investigated. Cases have also been reported in automotive transmission fluids and hydraulic fluids. VLS has even investigated agricultural tractor oil. So far only two cases have been received relating to industrial products and one in the marine sector. VLS plans to focus on raising awareness in this sector as well.

AFTERMARKET AND BEYOND

Over the course of 2017 the number of cases brought to the attention of the organisation has reduced as the initial issues of non-compliance have been tackled in the wider lubricant marketplace. There is now a greater awareness amongst marketers and blenders as to what constitutes a compliant product.

We know this because blenders report that there is a greater degree of compliance in the market place, additive companies tell us that they are engaging with companies that they have not had a relationship with previously, and European body ATIEL has also begun its own programme of policing conformity.

If you have any concerns about lubricant products then you can report them to VLS by calling 01442 875922 or emailing admin@ukla-vls.org. uk. VLS handles all cases anonymously through a clearly defined process which includes technical review by a panel of experts from across the industry and dialogue with the manufacturer and all relevant parties to work together to resolve any issues.

You can find out more about VLS by visiting their website: www.ukla-vls.org.uk or calling 01442 875922.

Posted in CAT Know-How, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer NewsComments (0)

UP-SELLING ON OILS AND LUBES

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UP-SELLING ON OILS AND LUBES


There’s a profit to be made on oils and lubes if you have the right strategy in place

comma-oil

A market trend has started to form with the introduction of very low viscosity oil grades, designed to improve fuel efficiency and oil change intervals; opening up-selling opportunities for oils providing you can find exactly the right grade.

MARKET TREND
Mike Bewsey, Comma Oils Sales & Marketing Director, says that while 5w-30 remains a popular grade; this could be subject to change. “5w-30 products remain dominant as OE spec, but the future market trend as signaled in applications for the latest fuel efficient and hybrid engines is moving towards even lower viscosity oils in the 0w-20/- 0w-30 range” he said.
Chris Wall, Marketing Manager at Total Lubricants, concurs, saying: “It’s all about optimising engine efficiency: a balance between engine performance, engine protection and even fuel saving”.

INCREASING SALES
Our oil experts suggested a couple of ideas that will sweep those products off the counter and into the customer’s hands. Bewsey advises technicians to offer top-up cartons when the vehicle is being serviced, so the motorist will have a litre of the correct grade handy for service intervals, by recommending a ‘top up’ with the correct specification. He said: “As far as engine lubes are concerned, the most straightforward and profitable method is to offer your customer the correct top-up oil for their vehicle. Sell your customer the appropriate 1 or 2 litre top up oil pack (s) at the time of the oil change service interval, and urge then to check their vehicle’s oil level regularly, whatever its recommended oil change cycle”. Steve Dunn, Sales Director of Exol Lubricants, agrees, suggesting that workshops should be stressing the importance of buying high quality oil grades to customers. After all, the last thing a technician needs is a dissatisfied motorist returning a few weeks later to find they have poured in the wrong formulation, causing damage to the engine. “Garages should ensure customers check their oil regularly and raise the awareness to some of the pitfalls of incorrect oils”, said Dunn. “By encouraging garages to promote the importance of good quality oil, motorists are more inclined to use premium products of greater quality that offer long- term benefits rather than a cheaper alternative”.

OIL SELECTION
The influx of oils and lubricants available for petrol and diesel engines can cause a cloud of confusion among technicians when distinguishing the correct specifications for the job, particularly for businesses servicing a diverse range of vehicle models. To jump over this hurdle, most suppliers have a VRM look-up system in place to help choose the correct formulation first time round. Martyn Mann, Technical Director at Millers Oils, elaborated: “Our website has a facility called Which Oil? Users can enter the vehicle’s details in to find out the correct oil and quantity for the engine in question”, Mann continued: “We also have helplines where people can speak to a member of our technical team or alternatively, e-mail their query to us”. Similarly, Chris Wall from Total Lubricants says the supplier utilises a tool called ‘LubAdvisor’, what does what it says on the tin. He explained: “This easy to use tool allows technicians to look up the specific make and model in an instant, enabling them to make the right choice with confidence every time, with the information also available through industry cataloguing systems adopted by some of the big motor factor groups”. Les Downey, Managing Director of Lucas Oil adds: “The garage only needs the VRM, a PC and access to any one of a wide range of online tools and the specification is there on the screen. Alternatively, the motor factor can provide the advice”.

DEVELOPING ADDITIVE PACKS
Developing additive packs in house is a very expensive and time-consuming business, but as the number of VM-specific oil references grows it is necessary for oil blenders to either develop their own additive packs (which then need to be approved by the VM) or buy directly from additive suppliers. One company that buys ad packs in this way is SCT, which produces and distributes the Mannol brand in the UK. Jevgenij Lyzko from the firm says: “Our factory uses Infineum as additive supplier, as we highly trust their quality and professionalism”. He notes that his firm now produces various VM-specific lubes, which are easily identifiable by the black packaging, which have seen strong sales in the UK since being introduced two years ago.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, UncategorisedComments (0)

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