Independent trade body, the Verification of Lubricant Specifications (VLS), has introduced stiffer new rules for assessing marketing claims on lubricants packaging, in response to several recent cases involving misleading or incorrect claims.
VLS was formed in 2013 and since then, its Technical Review Panel has investigated over 60 complaints involving commercial and passenger vehicle oils, automotive gear oils and transmission and hydraulic fluids. The vast majority relate to marketing claims including non-compliance with ACEA specifications and other industry standards, and conflicting or unevidenced OEM approvals.
Where marketing claims are being queried, the manufacturers or marketers must now submit the Candidate Data Package to demonstrate performance of the formulation being used. Although this does not specifically address the issue of OEM approvals, as very few oils are marketed without ACEA (or API) claims, requesting this document is considered to be the best way of assessing the performance of the product.
Andrew Goddard, Chairman of VLS said: “At VLS our mission is to protect and educate end users and to support fair and open competition in the lubricants market. As space in motor factors and workshops comes under pressure, there is a temptation for lubricants marketers to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach, making multiple claims on individual lubricants products. But today’s sophisticated engines require a very specific balance of chemistry to keep them working at their best. Workshops and mechanics must be able to rely on Technical Data Sheets to confirm that a product has been fully tested and really can deliver what it claims.”