Ashland/Valvoline VIOC (Valvoline Instant Oil Change) Center sign now

Dear Consumers,

This petition has been created in effort to force Ashland/Valvoline to put their money where their proverbial mouth is.

I recently had a bad experience with one of Valvolines VIOC (Valvoline Instant Oil Change) centers. At first, I believed the incident would be resolved in a timely manner. After all, the back of my invoice had a 100\% satisfaction guarantee on it. This petition will address the guarantee, along with a few other things.

Let me go on to say this I'm not one to raise a big fuss over something unless I know for sure that I have been "wronged". With that being said, I have been "wronged" by Ashland/Valvoline and their VOIC center located at 399 RHL Boulevard Charleston, WV 25303.

Below, are a number of letters and replies that were sent to and received from Ashland/Valvoline. For those of you who do not wish to read the letters and replies in their entirety, I am providing a summary, along with the petition purpose statement, at the bottom of this petition as well.


LETTER #1 (me to Valvoline):


Jordan Atha
***** **** *******
*********, ** *****
(xxx) xxx-xxxx

To Whom It May Concern:

I took my 1998 Ford Explorer XLT 5.0 AWD to the VIOC located at 399 RHL Boulevard, Charleston, WV 25303, on Thursday, June 29th, 2006 for a full transmission flush. The first mishap occurred when the mechanic said my transmission held 8 quarts. I had previously done some research on my transmission and I knew it held 13.9 quarts. I brought this to his attention and he verified it with his book. My transmission was, in fact, listed as holding 13.9 quarts. I then requested that the replacement fluid be full synthetic or at the very least a synthetic blend. My vehicle's transmission (Ford 4R70W) is designed to run on Mercon V only. I was told by the mechanic that Valvoline Max Life Mercon V would be used in my transmission. I nodded in approval. When I arrived home, I decided to research the Valvoline Max Life Mercon V so I would be more familiar with the benefits of this particular product. After searching the Valvoline website, I realized that there is no such thing as "Max Life" Mercon V. The only Mercon V ATF offered by Valvoline is a non-Max Life variety and it comes in a blue bottle. The fluid that was used in my vehicle was in the red Max Life bottle. I didn't pay enough attention to detail and actually read the bottle, but due to the fact that the Valvoline Mercon V comes in a blue bottle and the fluid that was used in my transmission was in a red bottle, this leads me to believe that this particular shop used the Max Life DexronIII/Mercon ATF in my transmission. The Max Life DexronIII/Mercon ATF has not been approved by Ford for use in a Mercon V application. I live approximately 45-50 miles from the VIOC I dealt with today. By the time I got home, the location was closed, so I haven't had any contact with them at this point. I will attempt calling them tomorrow to see if this situation can be remedied. This has really been a burden to me. My family and I have used Valvoline products for a long time, but this single incident has caused me to become more than a little concerned. I usually do all the maintenance on my vehicles, but due to the nature of the transmission flush, I had no other alternative than to take it to a service center with a flush machine. This was my first time using the VIOC... I'm sad to say that it will likely be my last unless this issue is corrected. Please contact me with information that will help correct this incident. If Valvoline is as reputable as I hope they are, I believe this incident will be resolved in a timely and professional manner. Thank you.


Jordan ****


ASHLAND VALVOLINE REPLY #1 (Valvoline to me):



Thank you for contacting Valvoline. Maxlife fluid is 100\% compatible with
Mercon V. Here is a letter from our technical director that supports this


Technical Director, Valvoline Brand

February 14, 2006

To Whom It May Concern:

Valvoline has received several inquiries regarding the topic of MaxLife ATF and its use in various vehicles beyond those requiring DEXRON-III or MERCON approved products. In response to these questions, Valvoline has issued the following statements: Valvoline supports the use of MaxLife ATF in a broad range of transmissions beyond those requiring DEXRON III and MERCON fluids including those in most North American and Asian manufactured vehicles and those applications listed below:

Allison C-4 Allison TranSynd (TES-295) Audi G-052-025-A2 BMW LT71141 or LA2634 fluids Ford MERCON V GM 9986195 GM DEXRON II Honda/Acura ATF-Z1 (except in CVTs) Hyundai JWS 3309 KIA SP-II and SP-III Fluids MAN 339 Type F MB Sheet 236.x Mitsubishi Diamond SP-II or SP-III Nissan Matic-D, Matic-J, and Matic-K Toyota / Lexus Type T, T-III or T-IV Voith H55.6335.33 (G607) Voith H55.6336.33 (G1363) Volvo 1161521 and 1161540 VW TL52162 ZF TE-ML-14B, 16L and 17C

Valvoline has conducted in-house testing to support MaxLife ATF performance in these transmissions. However, it is important to note that these vehicle manufacturers have neither evaluated nor approved MaxLife ATF. Valvoline stands behind all of its products, including MaxLife ATF. Use of MaxLife ATF in transmissions where recommended by Valvoline WILL NOT void the vehicles warranty. In the unlikely event that you or your customer experiences any transmission damage while using MaxLifeATF, please contact Valvoline at 1-800-Team-VAL for assistance. While MaxLife ATF is designed to meet the special needs of higher mileage transmissions, new transmission scan also benefit from its enhanced oxidation protection, shear stability, seal compatibility, and anti-shudder protection and many consumers have chosen to take advantage of this level of performance. MaxLife ATF is recommended for the new 5 and 6 speed transmissions, except the Ford 5R110 and Ford6RXX (MERCON SP), the Toyota/Lexus 6-speed (Toyota WS), and the Mercedes Benz W7A700 (7G-Tronic) which all require a low viscosity ATF fluid. Valvoline does not recommend MaxLife ATF for use in continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) or in automatic transmissions where Ford Type F fluids are recommended.


Thom Smith
Technical Director, Valvoline Brand
Valvoline, a division of Ashland Inc.


Let me point out something in that letter:

"Valvoline has conducted in-house testing to support MaxLife ATF performance in these transmissions. However, it is important to note that these vehicle manufacturers have neither evaluated nor approved MaxLife ATF." ~Thomas R. Smith

REPLY LETTER (me to Valvoline):

I am now aware that Valvoline does in fact support the usage of Max Life DexronIII/Mercon in my Mercon V application, however Ford still does not approve the usage. The letter from your technical director, Thomas R. Smith, even says that the auto manufacturers listed in his letter have not approved the fluid. I come to you in a calm manner. I only ask that this situation be corrected. I specifically asked the mechanic for a full synthetic or a synthetic blend at the least. I was informed that ALL transmission fluids are full synthetic and that there is no such thing as a synthetic blend. However, this is not the case. I was under the impression that I was receiving a full synthetic Mercon V transmission fluid because this is what the mechanic told me I was receiving. I come home to find out that Ford has neither evaluated, nor approved this Max Life DexronIII/Mercon for usage in their transmissions and on top of that, it isn't the full synthetic I was told I was getting.

I am impressed with the fact that Valvoline emailed me with a personal reply so quickly and I will likely continue to use Valvoline products in the future due to the professionalism I have received from the corporate end of the Valvoline Brand. However, at this time, I would like to request a refund on the transmission service I had performed at the VIOC location in Charleston, WV. I would prefer to take my vehicle to another location of my choice for this particular service. As stated above, I am aware that Valvoline backs the Max Life DexronIII/Mercon for usage in my Mercon V application, but I am very meticulous with my vehicles. I prefer to stay as close to the manufacturer's recommendations as possible. Thank you.


At this point, I had contacted Ashland/Valvoline by phone and was told to use the original invoice and submit a request for service/refund using the 100\% satisfaction guarantee. Here is the letter I sent them... along with the original invoice. (I scanned a backup copy)


Dear VIOC Customer Service Department,

I recently had a poor experience with one of your VIOC locations on June 29th, 2006. This particular VIOC is located at 399 RHL Boulevard Charleston, WV 25303.
The first incident occurred when the mechanic suggested that my transmission only held 8 quarts. I insisted that in order to perform a full flush, my transmission would have to be filled with 13.9 quarts. He verified this with his book. I was, in fact, correct. All appeared to be fine after this, until I arrived home. When I arrived home that evening, I decided to research the transmission fluid that was supposedly used. My findings have been an eye opener. I specifically requested a full synthetic Mercon V ATF. I stated that if a full synthetic Mercon V fluid was not on hand, a synthetic blend would suffice. I was told by the mechanic that all transmission fluid is full synthetic and there is no such thing as a synthetic blend. He then stated that he would be using a full synthetic Valvoline Max Life Mercon V ATF in my Ford Explorer (Ford 4R70W transmission). I nodded in approval. As stated above, I decided to research the product when I arrived home that evening to educate myself on the benefits of using this product. I was in disbelief when I realized that there is no such thing as a full synthetic Valvoline Max Life Mercon V. I was in further shock when I realized the only Valvoline Mercon V available comes in a blue bottle and the fluid that was put in my transmission was in a red bottle. This leads me to believe they used the Max Life DexronIII/Mercon in my transmission. Not only is it the incorrect fluid, but it is also not a full synthetic. I have since emailed Valvolines customer service department. They sent me a letter written by Technical Director Thomas R. Smith. The letter says that Valvoline backs the usage of this fluid in my transmission, but Ford has neither evaluated nor approved it. Im very meticulous with my vehicles and I prefer to stay as close to the manufacturers recommendations as possible. I paid $95.39 for a service that was not performed like I was told it was going to be. With that being said, I am not 100\% satisfied with the service or product used and I would like to request a full refund. I am not interested in having this location perform this service again. I feel the mechanics knowledge of the products is not up to my standards. I choose to have this service performed at another location of my choice. I am, however extremely impressed with Valvolines customer service beyond this location. Everyone I have spoken to has been extremely professional and helpful. My family and I are lifelong Valvoline users. My confidence was shaken in the Valvoline name when the above issues arose. Valvoline has since restored my faith in their name by being extremely courteous and willing to help. Thank you.



I took my vehicle to a VIOC (Valvoline Instant Oil Change) to get the transmission flushed. I requested that a full synthetic, or at the very least a synthetic blend, Mercon V fluid be used. My Ford transmission(4R70W) requires Mercon V. I was told by the manager that ALL ATF (automatic transmission fluid) was full synthetic. With that being said, he stated that he would be using Valvoline's full synthetic MaxLife Mercon V. I was pleased to hear this... so I thought. The first clue that this location didn't know what it was doing was when the manager said my transmission only held 8 quarts. Due to a little research I had done beforehand, I was able to point him in the right direction... my transmission holds 13.9 quarts. Had I allowed him to perform the flush with only 8 quarts, I would have still have a large portion of old, dirty transmission fluid, in my transmission. Now here comes the good(bad) part. We all know that Valvoline's MaxLife products come in a copperish RED bottle. While they were performing the flush, that is what I saw... a copperish RED bottle. All was fine, until I stopped in Wal-Mart on the way home. My girlfriend was with me and while she was looking at the "girly" stuff, I made my way to the automotive section, as usual. I decided to see how much this Valvoline full synthetic MaxLife Mercon V stuff was. Hmm... Wal-Mart didn't seem to have any... not even a place on the shelf for it. When I arrived home, I decided to research the product on Valvoline's site. To my horror, I realized that Valvoline has never produced such a product. In fact, the ONLY fluid they make in the Mercon V variety is a non-MaxLife fluid and on top of that, it is non-synthetic... oh yeah, did I mention that it comes in a BLUE bottle?

Now I don't know about you guys/gals, but I think this situation should be fixed. And it should totally be pinned on Ashland/Valvoline to do so. The back of the invoice I received from the VIOC had a 100\% Satisfaction Guarantee on it. That guarantee states the following:


If for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with our service and/or products, VIOC will repeat the service at no charge or refund your money from your last visit. Repeat or refund request must be within 3,000 miles or 3 months of the last service.


This guarantee isn't worth the paper on which it is wrote.

I made several phone calls and emails to Ashland/Valvoline. Each time I called, I was promptly given someone else I needed to contact. Each email left me hopeful, but didn't really say anything I didn't already know. (Your request was sent to "insert name here" for review... your request is being reviewed... your request is blah blah blah)

My request was to have Valvoline reflush my transmission with a full synthetic fluid at a location of my choice or give me a full refund, so I could apply the money toward another flush. My request was ultimately denied. Valvoline representative, Bill Lacy, informed me that I needed to go purchase a fluid that I am satisfied with and that they will flush it at one of their locations. Yeah right, they're not competent enough to get the job right the first time; you think I'm going to trust them with my vehicle again? Not a chance. Besides, most garages will perform the transmission flush for next to nothing if you buy the fluid at their location. I would be spending more money by buying the fluid somewhere else and having them flush it based on the fact that my vehicle runs on gas, not air.



Something has to be done about these empty promises (guarantees) made by Ashland/Valvoline. By signing this petition you are agreeing that Ashland/Valvoline has been unethical, unprofessional, and knowingly misleading to their consumers. I, for one, have vowed to never again use Valvoline products. I might never see my $95.39 again, but I surely hope Valvoline realizes that it would have been easier to refund my money and send me on my way, rather than ignore their guarantee. I have great hope that this petition, along with some Internet threads, will cause Valvoline to lose business due to their negligence toward their customers. Ultimately, this petition will be sent to Valvoline, along with the links to the above-mentioned threads. I appreciate your support.

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