Castrol: Drivers Delay Maintenance

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More than half of United Kingdom drivers responding to a recent survey said they have delayed vehicle maintenance such as engine oil changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Castrol said in a recent post on its website.

The lubricant marketer said that more than a third of respondents reported being concerned that the delays have compromised the reliability of their vehicles.

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The company, a unit of London-based energy giant BP, said it has introduced a cleaning product designed to help flush sludge that could form as a result of delayed oil changes.

Castrol’s post did not provide details about the survey, such as the methods by which it was conducted, the number of people participating or when it was conducted. It said that 55% of respondents indicated they have delayed scheduled maintenance work during the coronavirus crisis but included no information about the length of delays.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents expressed concern that their vehicles have become less reliable due to missing scheduled maintenance work because of the pandemic or to driving less. The survey asked respondents to indicate reasons for delaying maintenance. The most-cited reasons were concern about catching COVID-19 at the workshop, chosen by 15% of respondents, and difficulty scheduling an appointment, cited by 14%.

Younger respondents were more likely than those in upper middle age. Thirty-one percent of individuals between the ages of 25 and 34 said they delayed maintenance because of worry about catching the virus at a workshop, compared to just 9% of those aged 55-64.

“The findings highlight the need for workshops to provide reassurance about sanitisation measures to consumers returning to workshops and the benefits of a regular maintenance schedule,” the company said. “Delaying regular servicing can increase the likelihood of sludge accumulating in the engine, which can clog vital oil passageways, reducing the power, efficiency, and overall engine life.”

Castrol’s new cleaning product is Engine Shampoo. It provides 300 milliliters of fluid designed to be added to a warmed engine before an oil change. Castrol prescribes then idling engines for 10 minutes, saying the fluid will loosen or dissolve sludge that is then flushed when the oil is drained.