Most vehicles owners in Ghana are caught up between mislabeled or misbranded or obsolete oil lubricants, which has been a major cause of damages to modern engines.
The Ghanaian market is currently saturated with sub-standard oil lubricants, due to the lack of specific regulation for the sector resulting in several lawsuits, according to industry experts.
Largely, this comes down to awareness by consumers to avoid putting an incorrect lubricant in their vehicles. By 2022, the total lubricants market in West Africa is expected to grow to 805,300 metric tonnes per annum (MTPA). Currently, the market is highly competitive and is being fueled by increasing investments in car manufacturing and industrialization.
Research has found that if the selected lubricant has a viscosity that is too low, a smaller lubricating film will result, which can lead to considerable internal engine wear being produced. If the lubricant has too high of a viscosity, it can cause starvation of the oil flow and increased drag, which results in a loss of efficiency.
Both of these situations will have adverse effects on the machine in the near and long term.
Most type of cars on the Ghanaian roads are advancing every year and API-CD and API-SG standards have already been overtaken by time and technology.
The industry faces challenges in regulations which creates a room for substandard lubes to flow into the country. The minimum allowed API grade is API CD and API SG for diesel and petrol lubricants, respectively. The standards are stipulated by GSA.
Despite the existence of such guidelines, lower quality lubricants still find their way into the market mainly from the Middle East as well as local sources.
The key targets for these substandard lubricants are informal garages and workshops. It is this sector that handles most of the maintenance requirements of Ghana’s PV and passenger cars. The owners of such vehicles are mostly ignorant about lubricant quality and they rely heavily on the informal garage mechanics (so called fitter) to select the oil to use. Unfortunately, not all fitters are honest and what they chose is the product that guarantees them higher profits.
Such a product will typically be a cheap substandard or counterfeit lubricant for which they will charge the customer the price of a premium grade lubricant, thus ripping them off.
The responsibility to increase and enforce the standards falls squarely on the shoulders of Ghana Standards Authority (GSA). This organization can for instance come up with a mechanism of verifying API claims made by different lubricant dealers.
Without having such a verification mechanism, unscrupulous trades will pass off low quality lubes as high-quality products by falsifying the API grade. The government should also tighten the licensing of both the companies allowed to trade in lubricants as well as the brands they can produce or import into the country.
Finally, continuous oil quality awareness creation for the end users by the main oil marketers and the government will go a long way in stemming the usage of low-quality oils.
How to identify fake engine oil
It is possible to determine the quality of oil at home only with a high degree of probability, but not with a 100% guarantee. Only specialists can give a 100% guarantee of the quality of oil, and then not without the help of special devices. According to CRFS an expert in automotive products here is how to spot fake engine oil:
Inspection of the canister
If you plan to buy oils in a canister, then you need to inspect the container itself and the label attached to it. First of all, everything must be neat, the seams of the canister’s adhesions are even, etc.
In addition, you need to pay attention to the marking, which is applied to both the label and the canister. It indicates the date and time of production, as well as the batch number. If the data indicated on the canister and the label differ, then it is almost guaranteed that you are facing a fake.
Important! If these data are not indicated on the label or canister, then perhaps this is provided by the manufacturer himself. In this case, it is advisable to see the availability of this information on canisters of the same oil in other stores…. Quite often, you can find advice that you need to check the oiliness of the liquid, just dripping a little on your fingers. However, it’s worth noting that this advice is only suitable if:
Price and place of purchase also play an important role.
By purchasing motor oil at average prices in centers with a good reputation and brand accreditation, you significantly reduce the likelihood of buying a fake product.
Determination of oil quality after purchase
After the oil has been purchased, it is possible to conduct experiments that will reveal a better-quality counterfeit. To do this, you will need some of the available devices:
- A4 sheet of white paper;
- Small transparent container.
- Consistency and color
To check the color and consistency, you will need to pour the oil into a small transparent glass. After that, the liquid must be placed in a dark place for 10-15 minutes. After the lapse of time, there should not be any sediment, separation into layers and other structural disturbances. The oil should be homogeneous, and its color should be light, amber (not orange or even more dark brown).
As a rule, the consistency of fake engine oil is practically the same as that of a branded one. In this regard, the consistency can be checked only for winter oil if this experiment is carried out in winter or there is access to a freezer with a maintained temperature of about -15 degrees Celsius.
It is enough to put the container with the liquid outside the window or in the freezer for several hours. If after that the consistency has remained practically unchanged, then with a high degree of probability you have high-quality oil.
Another experiment that can be carried out at home will determine the quality of the additives used in the oil.
Important! Any oil must contain additives that provide technical fluid certain properties. In many ways, the quality of additives determines the quality of engine oil.
To do this, just hold a sheet of plain white paper at an angle and pour oil on it. After the oil escapes, there should not be any dark spots left, which, with a certain probability, will indicate the use of high-quality additives by the manufacturer.