The Petroleum Quality Institute of America (PQIA) announced the findings of a national survey on automatic transmission fluid (ATF) in the US market. Key findings reveal that off-spec, potentially transmission damaging ATFs are a significant issue and product labeling is the leading reason why.
According to Thomas F. Glenn, President of PQIA, The findings of the survey are eye-opening. They reveal that the lubricant industry and consumers recognize there are significant issues around the quality and integrity of automatic transmission fluid in the US market and that action can and should be taken to address them.
Key findings from PQIAs survey brings to light that off-spec, potentially transmission damaging ATFs are a significant issue in the minds of buyers and sellers of ATF. Further, the language used on the labeling of ATFs is the leading reason why. Of particular concern are such terms used to describe ATFs as Universal, Multipurpose, and Multivehicle. Thirty-five percent of the respondents to the PQIA survey say these terms are a hindrance to the selection of ATF. At the same time, such terms as licensed for
, and approved for use in
, are considered helpful to consumer selection of ATF.
Specific to quality, respondents to the PQIA survey say the most significant issues are with unlicensed ATFs. With that, Glenn says 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.
The PQIA survey reveals there is considerable confusion among buyers and sellers of ATF about the products in the market. This is because where Dexron® III/Mercon® fluids used to be the leading types of automatic transmission fluids (ATF) in the US market, these ATFs are being replaced by a splintering 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.
What used to be a fairly simple matter of selecting the right ATF for your car has become much more complicated. For these reasons, and others identified in PQIAs survey, the industry can and should do more to protect the interests of consumers, installers, and others buying and selling automatic transmission fluid. And from what the survey reveals, a good start is in educating buyers and sellers, and addressing the labeling concerns with ATFs in the market.
The PQIAs next step is to turn the information and insights from the survey into action and it will do so by taking the lead to develop an ATF Quality Improvement Leadership Council comprising lubricant and additive manufacturers and distributors, OEMs, installers, consumers, industry associations, and the media.