PQIA received a number of calls and emails following the update it published last week on the assessment of the Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF. Understandably, due to the label on the product prominently stating “DEX/MERC,” and the Product Information sheet stating “Suitable for use in: Ford MERCON®” most of the questions were directed at asking if the Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF did in fact meet the DEXRON® III/MERCON® specification.
The answer is no, the MaxLife ATF tested does not meet the MERCON® specification. This is because the viscosity specification for MERCON® is 6.8 cSt minimum @ 100°C and the MaxLife sample tested at 6.0 cSt. To this point, Valvoline responded to PQIA with a technical explanation regarding the use of synthetic base oils in the product, its shear stability, and why the product is suitable (click here for letter) saying MaxLife ATF will provide acceptable “even superior” performance in MERCON® applications and is “suitable for use” in these applications.
PQIA understands Valvoline’s position with regards to this issue and appreciates the company reaching out to us to explain it and to assure consumers the product is perfectly acceptable in MERCON® applications. PQIA does, however, remain concerned that the practice of referring to a specification where the data is not consistent with that specification opens the door for abuse.
If it’s acceptable for a supplier to say its product is suitable for use in applications where it does not meet the specifications for that application, how can a consumer really be assured that the product will perform similar or better than the original specification?
With the propensity of products on the market, and the harsh reality that there are some suppliers that place products on the market that do not meet implied and/or even stated performance requirements, PQIA’s position is that we cannot condone the reference to a specification when the product does not adhere to all aspects of that specification.
PQIA does, however, welcome suppliers to explain why they believe their failure to strictly comply with a specification does not adversely impact performance requirements.
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