PQIA releases national survey results on Automatic Transmission Fluid

The Petroleum Quality Institute of America (PQIA), based Metuchen, N.J., U.S.A., announced the results of a national survey focused on the quality and integrity of automatic transmission fluids (ATFs) in the U.S. market.

“The findings of the survey are eye-opening. They reveal that the lubricant industry and consumers recognise there are significant issues around the quality and integrity of automatic transmission fluid in the U.S. market and that action can and should be taken to address them,” says Thomas F. Glenn, president of PQIA.

Key findings from the survey which covered 218 respondents bring to light that off-spec, potentially transmission damaging ATFs are a significant issue in the minds of buyers and sellers of ATF, according to PQIA.

The language used on the labeling of ATFs is the leading reason why, it added. Of particular concern are terminologies used to describe ATFs such as “universal,” “multipurpose,” and “multivehicle.” Thirty-five percent of the survey respondents indicated that these terms are a hindrance in selecting ATFs. At the same time, terminologies, such as “licensed for…,” and “approved for use in…,” are considered helpful in consumer selection.

Respondents say the most significant issues are with unlicensed ATFs. “The survey reveals an interesting dichotomy between the high levels of concern around labeling but a comparatively low level of concern about actual quality. This suggests that if the lubricants industry can get labeling in order, there may not necessarily be significant issues with the quality of ATF in the market,” says Glenn.

The PQIA survey also reveals considerable confusion among buyers and sellers of ATF about the products in the market. What used to be a fairly simple matter of selecting the right ATF for your car has become much more complicated. Dexron® III/Mercon® fluids used to be the leading types of ATFs in the U.S. But these ATFs are being replaced by a number of newer OEM specific ATF requirements, including ATF+4, Mercon V, Mercon LV, Dexron VI, ATF DW-1, ATF T-IV, SP-IV, Matic S and Matic D and K, Toyota ATF-WS, Honda DW (ZF), Diamond SP-IV, and others.

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