Are you sure about the quality of the engine oil you buy?

Are you sure about the quality of the engine oil you buy?

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing an engine oil, such as API service categories and viscosity, because you want the lubricant to prolong your engine’s lifespan.

However, there are other factors to consider beyond the oil’s grading, such as base oils and additives, which can make or break a quality engine oil, says Petrocam Lubricants chief financial officer Ridwan Gany. Petrocam Lubricants is a subsidiary of the pan-African oil company Petrocam Trading.

“Think of an athlete,” says Gany. “He could eat his required kilojoules in any form as long as the intake ticks the boxes of protein, carbohydrate and fats, but he’d unlikely perform at his best. Or the athlete’s coach could ensure that he gets his kilojoules from the highest-quality ingredients, ensuring that his body operates at peak performance. In high-stakes professional sport, coaches take no chances, and it should be the same with choosing an engine oil.”

This, says Gany, is why businesses need to look beyond the grading on a bottle and start questioning the ingredients of the oil. “The oil’s grading is the starting point. Once you are satisfied with that, you need to understand that the base oil in mineral and semi-synthetic blends makes a significant difference to the oil’s performance, as do the additives in something like a fully synthetic oil.

“Don’t be scared to ask the manufacturer if they are using virgin base oils or blends, or whether they are adding recycled or inferior additives into the lubricants. Some businesses depend almost entirely on the smooth operation of their fleets, so this is a prudent business question.”

Dr Abdullah Awad, MD of MKA Trucking (an African cross-border trucking business based in Johannesburg), says there is no substitute for quality. “We run trucks throughout Africa. This means that as a business we rely on the effective functioning and reliability of large diesel engines. Downtime means the business is interrupted and we can’t service our customers. Similarly, the cost of maintenance is equally important to keep margins favourable.”

Awad, whose fleet has been using Petrocam Lubricants in its cross-border fleet, says price is equally important. “Keeping the costs down while being able to ensure quality is non-negotiable in a business like ours.”

He agrees with Gany that choosing an engine lubricant is a business decision as much as a decision to protect the moving parts of his most valuable assets – the diesel engines that power his fleet.

“The grade of a lubricant is very important and one should always use the correct grade to ensure longevity of an engine. However, in addition to the actual stipulated grade, when we buy a lubricant, we need to have faith that the base oil and additives are of superior quality, because we cannot take chances with our vehicles all over the continent.”

Gany says that Petrocam has made it a business priority to ensure all ingredients that make up the final product are of the highest quality. “We are in a fortunate position in that we control every element of our supply chain, from refinery to the product you see on the shelves,” he concludes.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publication in southern Africa.
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