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Use cheap oil at your peril, garages told

Extended service intervals on modern diesels could leave workshops liable for engine damage over the long term if they fail to use appropriate lubricants during servicing.

Bryn Fennell, marketing services manager for ExxonMobil Lubricants and Specialties Europe, is warning of the danger of independent garages using low quality oil as a cost-cutting measure.

“The problem is the temptation for service centres under pressure from cut-price competition to use a cheaper, poor quality oil. Over the long term they will be putting the customer’s engine at risk,” maintains Fennell.

Exxon Mobil has developed a new ESP (Emission System Protection) variant of its Mobil1 synthetic oil designed specifically to protect the latest diesel-powered vehicles fitted with particulate filters.

Mobil1 ESP is a ‘low ash’ oil, especially formulated to cope with high temperature running and high mileage oil changes without producing carbonisation, which can block diesel particulate filters, leading to their premature replacement. ExxonMobil claims it is also suitable for petrol engines and will protect catalysts in a similar manner.

Volkswagen has already signed a deal to use it as factory fill in turbodiesels across its group, and Mercedes-Benz and BMW have approved it to their service fill specifications. Nevertheless, the oil manufacturer is now planning a marketing drive in the UK’s aftermarket sector, to begin by the second quarter.

“We will see diesel penetration of the UK car market increase further, as the cars are now not much more expensive and the product ranges are so strong. It will be a great opportunity for the retailer, but the risk of this increase is that oil becomes a commodity. We all have to get the message across to the consumer that this is a product which will benefit them,” says Fennell.

“The UK is predominately a ‘do-it-for me’ market – the majority of people have their car serviced for them and leave the choice of oil up to the service workshop. Our priority is to get workshops on board with Mobil1 ESP.”

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