Mercedes Benz Amends Oil Change Advisory


Mercedes Benz Amends Oil Change Advisory
Closeup of an engine oil cap on the crankcase of a Mercedes-Benz car. © Pradeep Thomas Thundiyil

The Union of the European Lubricants Industry announced this month that it helped resolve a complaint about Mercedes Benz saying that customers were required to use its genuine engine oil to service one of its car models.

The Brussels-based association said it contacted the German luxury automaker after a member raised the issue, pointing to a Mercedes Benz communication that owners of Sprinter 907 cars with rear-wheel drive and Sprinter 910s with front-wheel drive were mandated to use MB 228.51 LT oil when servicing the vehicles in order for vehicle warranties to remain effective.

Mercedes Benz writes its own engine oil specifications, including MB 228.51, which it recommends for a number of models, including Sprinters. MB 228.51, however, is not a specification but a brand of oil sold by the automaker. LT stands for low-temperature.

In a bulletin posted on its website this month, UEIL said it advised Mercedes Benz representatives that European Union law prohibits automakers from conditioning warranties on the use of specific brands of engine oils or other replacement parts, requiring instead that they recommend the use of products meeting a specification that they make available.

The bulletin said that after several communications, Mercedes Benz’s United Kingdom subsidiary acknowledged that it had been improper to say customers were mandated to use MB 228.51 LT and that the use of that word did not communicate the message intended for customers. The car company advised that it had therefore removed references to “mandatory” from the document in question.

Bringing such complaints to original equipment manufacturers is one of the benefits UEIL provides to its members.