The first type of “private individual” customer is the one that owns a motor vehicle, motorcycle or any type of machinery where lubricating engine oil is required, but chooses not to delve into the scientific art of oil testing, technology and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications as this decision is believed to be someone else’s. Mostly these customers rely or trust in a mechanic or their dealership to advise them on which product to use. These customers are mostly unaware of the complexity of the decision they are entrusting to others. Some of these customers have never thought about oil except for questioning the cost of it, on receipt of the service bill. This type of customer is the one we would really like to meet face to face, in order to share some of our knowledge with them, to assist them. These customers know very little about oil and although it is very, very important that they do know something about oil, they are unfortunately not aware of this need to do so.
However, once this customer learns a little about oil, maybe a talk they attended, they realise just how important these choices are and then everything changes because their knowledge becomes useful to them and they take an active part in the decision, on which oil should be used and usually end up educating their mechanic or dealership with their new found knowledge. These customers understand that good science can lead to a better life.
At school I remember learning about a famous writer, Dr Samuel Johnson who during the 18th Century was quoted as follows; “Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labour; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.” Many of our potential customers have this belief, but experience has taught us that there are usually only one or two small pushes needed to influence them enough to want to know more and to significantly benefit from this knowledge.
I am reminded of the following paragraph when considering the first type of customer “It is deemed by Engineering and Manufacturing Standard Authorities that the lubricant contained within an engine or machine is also a component of that machine. It therefore stands to reason that it should be correctly chosen, maintained and monitored for its condition just like the engine itself. Unfortunately the lubricant’s specification and condition is frequently ignored or overlooked until a problem arises and only then does anyone seem concerned about the maintenance of the lubricant and the critical importance of selecting the lubricant correctly”.
The second type of “private individual” customer is the type of customer who somewhere in their history has either experienced or witnessed an engine failure or is connected and has heard that engine failure can occur, specifically if the incorrect oil is used. These customers generally know a lot more about the scientific art of oil testing, technology and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications and insist on the use of the correct oil. These customers build on their oil knowledge whenever possible, because they recognise that it’s very, very important that they do so. They also benefit tremendously from this knowledge.
The third type of “private individual” customer is type who knows a lot about oil, for whatever reason. They are aware of the many benefits gained by using correctly specified oil and how this quality benefits their lives by providing both substantial savings and reliability. This type of customer will only use the best products from the best brands and really does not care what the oil costs, as long as it carries the relevant OEM approval and the supply is consistent and the oil is manufactured by a well-recognised or researchable brand.
Unfortunately, like with almost everything else in life, automotive lubricants can be quite complicated. The manufacture of engine oils and other automotive lubricating products is a highly scientific art. Technology has changed over the past 25 years. When it came to the oil industry, in the past, universality was possible between OEM’s, petrol and diesel engine, vehicle manufacturers, turbo and non turbo, cooling system antifreezes and automatic transmissions and much more. Those days are well and truly gone forever with most OEM’s specifying vastly different requirements from year to year, model to model. Even within the same manufacturer, differently specified products are listed. Not using these products can lead to an increase in fuel consumption, excessive engine wear and a reduction in engine life and most importantly, that any legal warranty and guarantee claims may be limited.
Our choices are based on the level of wisdom we have at the time we make the decision. The quality of our decisions is also directly related to how wise we are at the time we make those decisions. It would be unwise to trust a 15 year old with the acquisition of a multi-million rand business. As Charles Jones once said “We will be the same person in 5 years that we are today except for 2 things: the people we meet and the books we read”
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” ― Albert Einstein
In a world where we are required to trust others, it is always a good idea to act with due diligence, regarding matters of trust. Let’s take the company that services what is normally, after our home, the second biggest asset we own, our car or cars. Do we ever check the engine oil being used by the dealership or our mechanic is the correct oil, as specified by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) because it’s very, very important that we do so?
I have been doing talks at car clubs for 25 years now. When I am invited to talk about motor oils I am asked to prepare a 20 minute talk. I have yet to finish in under an hour, sometimes two. My talk is 20 minutes but the questions that follow continue until the club committee members stop the proceedings, not due to lack of interest, but due to the late hour. Then for another hour at least I have club members surround me asking every question they have ever wanted to know about automotive lubricants. Some club members just stand and listen, soaking up knowledge. At some clubs, I begin my talk at 8pm and finally leave at 11.30pm to go home. Usually accompanied to the parking lot, still answering questions and then having to excuse myself from club members in order to leave. When car owners learn a little about this subject they are totally fascinated. Once they realise the importance of using the correct motor oil, they become concerned about the poor quality of their choices in the past, because they do not want to repeat them. How well we make decisions, is based on how well informed we are. The more informed we are about any particular subject, the better decisions we will make regarding that subject.
Using the correct oil in your vehicle cannot be determined by using a blanket generalisation, like “use a semi-synthetic (hydro-processed oil)” or use brand A or B. This is often the case with workshops whose owners like to standardise to make their lives easier. Your vehicle must be filled with a lubricant that the OEM approves. Some oil companies market at least 20 different fully synthetic oils in their range, each with clearly defined OEM approvals and each one designed precisely to meet certain specific vehicle OEM compliance specifications. OEM specifications like Volkswagen VW 504 and 507 (for Europe and North America) Mercedes Benz MB-Approval 229.51, BMW Longlife-04, Porsche C30 (Cayenne V6 (except China) RENAULT RN0700 or Ford WSS-M2C-913D. Using the incorrectly specified oil will be to the disadvantage of the motorist.
When it comes to motor oils, nowadays, there is no engine oil in the world that meets “universal” specifications. In fact there are very little automotive products such as antifreeze/coolant, gear oils, differential oils, brake fluids and automatic transmission fluids that meet “universal” specifications. There used to be, but not anymore. Unfortunately many dealerships and even more mechanics are unaware of these changes in technology and so they carry on using the same products they always have, to the detriment of their customers. Although they exist, there are only a handful of workshops that have embraced this new technology and benefitted their customer’s immensely.
The Team at Ravenol South Africa recognises the opportunity to educate, train and assist the dealerships and mechanics of private workshops to recognize this new technology. We invite all current and future customers to feel free to engage with us on this subject and look forward to your contributions.