VLS Gets Action on Non-compliant Gear Oils


VLS Gets Action on Non-compliant Gear Oils
© noomcpk

United Kingdom-based Verification of Lubricant Specifications announced the resolution of three cases in which it identified gear oils that failed to meet low-temperature performance standards – two of which resulted in marketers quarantining non-compliant products.

All three cases stemmed from a complainant raising a case with VLS, in line with its case handing process. Once the case has been accepted by VLS, only then does VLS independently procure and test it as necessary, depending on the type of complaint. In these cases the organization was testing the ability of gear oils to maintain fluidity at low temperatures, as defined by the SAE J306 gear oil specification and measured by ASTM D2983, Standard Test Method for Low-temperature Viscosity of Lubricants by Brookfield Viscometer.

One case involved a complaint about a 75W-90 synthetic gear oil marketed by Westway Lubricants, which had claimed compliance with the Mercedes-Benz specification MB 235.8, which includes the low-temperature performance properties of the SAE specification.

The organization said it independently procured a sample of the synthetic gear oil in the U.K. and tested it for low temperature properties against the ASTM low temperature viscosity test. The test results demonstrated that the product did not comply with the SAE 75W requirements detailed in the SAE gear oil standard, VLS noted, as it turned solid before reaching -40 degrees C.

“In response to the investigation, Westway Lubricants quarantined all stock and arranged an uplift of products from the warehouse with the supplier,” VLS said in a press release. The company also changed supplier and removed reference to the Mercedes-Benz specification from the product label, VLS noted.

A second case involved a complaint about Fanfaro 75W-90 Max 6 GL-5 gear oil – a synthetic gear oil billed as suitable for use in all types of manual transmissions, passenger cars, heavy duty highway and offroad vehicles – and its compliance with low-temperature requirements in the SAE gear oil specification.

After independently procuring a sample of the gear oil within the U.K., VLS said it also tested it for low-temperature properties against the ASTM standard test method. The test results indicated it did not meet the SAE 75W specification as defined in the SAE gear oil specification, when measured using the ASTM test method.

“Fanfaro immediately quarantined the product and arranged for the disposal of all stock in their warehouse,” VLS said. “They contacted their supplier, which arranged a re-blend of the product and has committed to sending VLS the new batch test result as soon as it has been received.”

The third case involved a complaint about Granville 75W-90 fully synthetic manual transmission fluid over its compliance with the SAE gear oil specification. VLS’s tests of an independently procured product sample in the U.K. indicated the product was not compliant due to excessive viscosity at -40 C, which meant it did not meet the requirements of an SAE 75W grade as defined in the SAE standard.

“In response to the investigation, Granville advised VLS that it has changed its supplier since the product was blended in 2020 and filled in 2021,” VLS said. “They have also changed their filling procedures and moved to automated blending, which they believe has solved the issue, which they believe was due to batch contamination, as the batch VLS tested was blended and filled before automated blending was introduced.” Granville also checked all batches subsequently manufactured and stated that they are all complaint, according to their testing, VLS stated. “Products that do not comply with specifications regarding low temperature properties may not provide adequate circulation,” VLS Chairman Mike Bewsey said in a press release. “This can lead to accelerated wear when equipment is started from cold and will not support fuel efficiency expectations. We thank the companies involved in these investigations for uplifting and disposing of affected products to protect end users and communicating their process changes to ensure future products are compliant.”