Workshops in the Klang Valley are selling fake engine oil (aka minyak “piau”), whereby used oil is recycled and repackaged as new ones from well-known brands. According to a report by Harian Metro, these “lubricants” are sold by syndicates at nearly half the price of those from genuine sources.

These syndicates operate by purchasing oil drums used by workshops to dispose of used engine oil, which are reportedly priced between RM40 and RM80 each. The dark-coloured engine oil is then extracted and filtered several times until it appears lighter in colour as though unused. In some cases, vegetable oil is blended in to make it look more “authentic.”

The “clean” oil is then repackaged under the guise of famous brands before being sold to customers for cheap. Most customers are unaware or ignorant of what they are purchasing given the ludicrously low prices offered.

The report also adds that most workshops are aware that they are selling fake engine oil, but turn a blind eye in the interest of profit, often times not informing their customers. The scandal involving the sale of recycled engine oil only came to light when three workshops in Kuala Lumpur were raided by the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) after several months of surveillance and complaints from oil companies.

During the raid, KPDNKK officers confiscated 517 four-litre bottles of engine oil marketed using famous brands. Aside from engine oil, 34 bottles of imitation transmission fluid and 22 bottles of brake fluid were also taken. The value of the confiscated items was around RM41,430.

“Acting on the complaint, KPDNKK Kuala Lumpur set up three teams to conduct inspections at three premises located at Taman Segar, Taman Daya and Taman Melati with representatives from the oil companies in the country,” said deputy chief enforcement officer Mohd Shahran Mohd Arshad.

Investigations revealed workshop owners obtained the engine oil from a supplier knowing full well that it was fake, but continued to sell it anyway. Mohd Arshad added that under Section 8(2) of the Trade Descriptions Act 2011, a company can be fined up to RM15,000 for each item seized, while an individual is fined up to RM10,000, also for each item seized, along with the possibility of imprisonment.

Suffice to say, you should always ensure only proper, genuine lubricants are used in your vehicle. Therefore, it is advisable to send your vehicle to official service centres or at the very least, reputable independent workshops.

You should also be suspicious if a workshop is selling engine oil at heavily discounted prices, because “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” A good way to source for lubricants is from petrol stations or authorised retailers, where you’ll also be able to get a good idea of how much they cost.

Using fake lubricants can result in severe engine damage and many other unwanted scenarios, as they are incapable of meeting the requirements set by carmakers. So, please take heed and be aware what you’re putting into your vehicle.