ILMA: 2 of 19 Oils Flunk


ILMA has completed the first round of testing of its members passenger car motor oils, and found that two of 19 random samples failed to meet performance claims. The associations Ethics Committee is investigating the cases.

James A. Taglia, president of NL Grease and chairman of the ILMA task force that developed the product testing program, reported to the members at the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association Management Forum near Albuquerque, N.M., on April 12. ILMA does not want to tell anyone what kind of products to market, Taglia said. Just dont say its something its not.

Under ILMAs ethics initiative, the Alexandria, Va.-based trade association has established a third-party collection and testing system, modeled after the American Petroleum Institutes Aftermarket Audit Program. The program is now being applied to members passenger car motor oils, and will soon be expanded to tractor hydraulic fluids and unlicensed automatic transmission fluids.

ILMAs third-party testing company collected motor oil samples in seven states, manufactured by 19 member companies, and sent the results to ILMAs outside consultant, who compared the results to profiles developed in consultation with the additives industry, and to Institute of Materials profiles. Seventeen of the samples were quarts and two were bulk. None was API-licensed.

Seventeen were deemed to meet performance claims, and two failed, Taglia reported. We were only making sure the oil was accurately labeled.

The results have been referred to ILMAs Ethics Committee, chaired by Ron Powell of Moroil Technologies. ILMAs goal is not public hangings, said Taglia. We want these two companies to decide to do things in a different fashion in the future.

In addition to the two cases identified by ILMAs first round of testing, one member has filed a complaint [with the Ethics Committee] against another member, using the third-party ILMA system, Taglia noted. The ILMA program is a tool for members, who can use the third-party testing system to have oils in their own markets tested, at the ILMA cost.

Is two out of 19 bad? asked Taglia. Maybe not. For physical property issues, API has said that 8 percent to 11 percent of the samples they collect dont meet the data on file, historically.

For the next round of motor oil testing, the collection area will be expanded geographically, and the random selection will include a longer list of members brands. In addition, we need to do a better job with bulk sampling, said Taglia. Its an area where people can go to the dark side. You need chain of custody, and oil has to be collected before it enters the tank. ILMA is working closely with API and with the quick lube industry to develop better methods for collecting bulk samples. Quick lubes should be retaining samples from the truck so they can test, Taglia noted, but even some of the largest quick lube chains are not testing products.

Taglia reported that the new program to test performance claims of ILMA members tractor hydraulic fluids is moving fast. The product profiles are complete and the first round of sample collection is scheduled to begin in June. In addition, a task force within the association is collecting data now to develop a program to sample and test unlicensed automatic transmission fluids. ILMA has invited transmission builders and rebuilders to participate. ATF sampling is likely to begin in 2009, to confirm that members products in fact meet the older specs, such as Dexron III and Mercon, claimed on their labels.

ILMA recently surveyed its members, and 85 percent said the Code of Ethics will have a positive impact on the future, Taglia said. That to me is a good thing.

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