18 Apr 2024

Counterfeit lubricant wave warning

A increase in the availability of counterfeit vehicle lubricants is being predicted, as criminals look to exploit the cost of living crisis, garages are being warned.

Industry trade bodythe Verification of Lubricant Specifications (VLS) is urging garages to be on the look-out for fake concoctions. VLS Chairman Mike Bewsey observed: “Counterfeiting affects many vehicle parts and accessories, and lubricants are no exception,” “Modern vehicle engines are highly complex. They require sophisticated lubricants using advanced chemistry, backed by the investment of millions of pounds, dollars or euros by major additive companies. These additive companies use extensive bench, laboratory or real-life engine testing to guarantee performance standards and safety.”

According to the organisation counterfeit oils can contain virgin base oil with a sub-standard additive pack or lower spec base oil being used, or no additive pack at all. It can even be repackaged used oil, or a re-refined product or lesser spec oil.

Mike continued: “Compared to standard formulations, counterfeit products might have fewer or even no additives at all. This can significantly affect the lubricant, resulting in poor or possibly even dangerous performance compared to genuine products. Just like using the wrong oil, using counterfeit oil could lead to accelerated wear in gears and bearings, the formation of lacquers on surfaces such as pistons and the development of sludge that could restrict oil flow. All of which could lead to increased maintenance costs and, if left unchecked, eventual engine failure. Cash-strapped motorists may also try to buy oil themselves to save money. With limited knowledge in such a technical area, they risk buying counterfeit oil online or from other unscrupulous sources, which isn’t what it purports to be.”

To avoid counterfeit products, garages are being reminded to buy from reputable sources such as official distributors or motor factors, and be wary of heavily discounted or end-of-line promotions.

They should also check product labels, and for authentic marks on packaging, such as batch codes, and if a lubricant manufacturer is claiming ACEA specifications, check they are a signatory to the European Engine Lubricants Quality Management System Letter of conformance for lubricant manufacturers.

Garages can also ask for Technical and Safety Data Sheets. Suppliers trying to pass off counterfeit lubricants may be evasive about providing this important information.

For more information, visit: www.ukla-vls.org.uk