Exol investigates – do we need an oil education revolution?

Such is the reliance on technical support to assist workshops with using the correct engine oil, it is important to ask whether we as an industry are putting a sticking plaster over an ever-increasing wound or whether resources would be better spent on investing in long term expertise and knowledge. 

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s important to see where this increasing reliance on technical support comes from. Put simply, the fear of using the incorrect product is the highest it’s ever been.

Taking an automotive workshop as an example, a garage will fit hundreds of different types of products to a vehicle. Some of these product groups demand more technical expertise than others, such is their evolution. Engine management and dual mass flywheels are just two product groups that dominate the technical forums online.

For an automotive garage, the consequences of using incorrect parts – and fluid – can be catastrophic. As many businesses in this sector are SME’s, the repercussions can be felt far and wide.

Technology – such as VRM look-up_– has never been better and this significantly improves a customer’s ability to order the correct grades of oil. The problem or confusion often stems from the mis-information in the market, with incorrect claims on packaging being the biggest contributor.

The complexities of the engine oil sector should, in theory, make it difficult for new entrants to gain any kind of foothold in the market. But we constantly find workshops have barrels of oil which do not cover the OE specifications they require, the most frequent being an ACEA C3 5W-30. The ACEA C3 specification is the common basis for many different OE specifications, but does not itself guarantee OE performance.

Many workshops are unaware that there are a multitude of different C3 5W-30 products being promoted to aftermarket workshops, each one offering a different suite of OE specification coverage, and with some listing none.

Education, Education, Education

We highlight the different oils in our extensive product range and the benefits of each grade, providing useful information to enable workshops to determine the most suitable oil for a customer’s needs.As an industry, we should empower garages to encourage customers to check their oil regularly. By doing so, this will raise awareness to some of the pitfalls of incorrect oils.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.

High quality lubricants, such as fuel-efficient options, bring about savings of their own. Since the incremental cost of introducing a fuel-efficient lubricant is low in comparison to the potential fuel savings, this results in significant economic benefits.

It’s important to be in complete control of the production process and there is a real requirement for suppliers, especially in the automotive industry, to demonstrate their quality. This provides the lubricants industry with an opportunity to educate the market for the long term, thereby securing its prosperous future.