The Verification of Lubricant Specifications (VLS) was set up in 2013 to help maintain standards in the lubricants industry. At the time, there were concerns about products being sold on the market making claims that sounded too good to be true. As a result, the industry came together to form VLS, an independent trade body to investigate lubricant specifications and uphold industry standards.

Since then, VLS has investigated 65 cases of complaints regarding lubricants, working with manufacturers and distributors to ensure products can deliver what they claim and are fit for purpose. The programme has made significant strides to remove poor quality or inaccurately labelled products from sale and improve standards. Lubricants producers now know that products can and will be investigated, including escalation to Trading Standards if required.

In a new step, VLS recently approached the Institute of Materials (IOM) to procure samples of UK 5w30 automotive engine oils for proactive testing. The IOM procure and test oil samples every year as part of European trade body ATIEL’s lubricants compliance survey. 5w30 viscosity automotive engine oils were chosen as this is the most competitive segment of the market and the subject of the largest number of cases recently reported to VLS. The samples, including independent manufacturers as well as majors, had all been tested against common industry standards to ensure they were compliant with their own stated specifications.

Andrew Goddard, Chairman of VLS said: “Whilst VLS has done a great job of reacting to cases that have been reported, the Board were keen to take the next step in proactively testing market samples. Overall, the products tested were broadly in compliance and therefore no further action is required at this time, which is positive news for the industry. We will continue to monitor samples in this way in the future and work with ATIEL on any issues relating to UK lubricants.”

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