|Performance Additives - Automotive Lubricants|
|Performance Additives - Automotive Lubricants|
Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System (EOLCS)
API's Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System (EOLCS) is a voluntary licensing and certification program that authorizes engine oil marketers who meet specified requirements to use the API Engine Oil Quality Marks—the API Service Symbol "Donut" and Certification Mark "Starburst".
This program is a cooperative effort between the oil industry and vehicle and engine manufacturers Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler; the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association; and the Engine Manufacturers Association.
Performance requirements, test methods, and limits are cooperatively established by vehicle and engine manufacturers, technical societies like the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and industry associations like the American Chemistry Council and API.
Oils meeting these requirements are recommended by vehicle manufacturers.
THE API SERVICE SYMBOL
The API Service Symbol "Donut" is divided into three parts:
The top of the Donut shows the oil's performance level for gasoline and/or diesel engines.
The letter "S" followed by another letter (e.g. SN or the latest, SP) refers to oil suitable for gasoline engines.
The letter "C" followed by another letter (e.g. CK-4) refers to oil suitable for diesel engines.
These letters officially stands for "Service" and "Commercial."
API has also announced the newest API FA-4 category for certain SAE xx-30 oils which is designed to protect the next generation of diesel engines.
The current API performance categories that can appear in the top part of the Donut are listed in the API Motor Oil Guide or you can refer to our API Classifications page.
The center of the Donut shows the oil's SAE viscosity grade.
Viscosity is a measure of an oil's flow characteristics, or thickness, at certain temperatures.
The low-temperature viscosity (the first number, 5W in a 5W-30 oil) indicates how quickly an engine will crank in winter and how well the oil will flow to lubricate critical engine parts at low temperatures. The lower the number, the more easily the engine will start in cold weather.
The high-temperature viscosity (the second number, 30 in a 5W-30 oil) provides thickness, or body, for good lubrication at operating temperatures.
Multigrade oils (for example, SAE 5W-30) provides good flow capability for cold weather but still retains thickness for high-temperature lubrication.
Monograde or single grade oils (a single number in the center of the donut, e.g. 50) are recommended for use under a much narrower set of temperature conditions than multigrade oils.
Operators should refer to their owner's manuals to select the proper viscosity oil for the ambient temperature and operating conditions at which the equipment will be used.
The bottom of the donut tells whether the oil has "Resource Conserving" properties when compared with a reference oil in an engine test or if an oil meets CI-4 Plus or SN Plus requirements.
Oils labeled as "Resource Conserving (RC)" (besides fuel saving properties as required by the former "Energy Conserving" supplemental category) requires further properties like:
Widespread use of engine oils with this designation should result in an overall enhanced engine protection in the vehicle fleet as a whole.
General Technical Properties
1 Lubricating Oil
Acidity and Alkalinity (Total Acid Number and Total Base Number)
Emulsification and Demulsification
Extreme Pressure Loading Properties (EP)
Grease is a semi-solid formed by the dispersion of a thickening agent in a liquid lubricants (base oil). Other ingredients imparting special properties may be included. Greases have advantage over oil in some applications because greases stay at the point of lubrication and will hardly be squeezed out. Sometimes, greases can also be used to seal up machine parts to prevent the entry of moisture and dust.
Base oil viscosity, hydrocarbon type, and volatility can influence the structure stability, lubricating quality, low and high temperature performance, and cost of grease. The thickener is the principal factor controlling water resistance, high temperature qualities, resistance to breakdown through continued use, and ability to stay in place. To a large extend, grease cost is determined by the type of thickener and other additives.
Thickener can be divided into several categories; soap-type, inorganic type and synthetic organic type.
The important characteristics of grease are as follows: -
Extreme Pressure Capability (EP)
API Engine Service Classifications
The American Petroleum Institute (API) engine oil classification system is a method of classifying engine oils according to their performance characteristics, and relating this to their intended type of service. It is an “open-ended” system which allows for the addition of new designations with little change to existing ones.
As of May 2020, the latest API designations are:
Information in tables below only shows API statuses which are currently licensable.
For obsolete grades, please refer to API's website.
ILSAC "GF" Standard
Introduced in May 2020, designed to provide protection against low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI), timing chain wear protection, improved high temperature deposit protection for pistons and turbochargers, more stringent sludge and varnish control, improved fuel economy, enhanced emission control system protection and protection of engines operating on ethanol-containing fuels up to E85.
Applies only to oils having an SAE viscosity grade of 0W-16.
Introduced in May 2020, designed to provide protection against low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI), timing chain wear protection, high temperature deposit protection for pistons and turbochargers, stringent sludge and varnish control, improved fuel economy, emission control system protection and protection of engines operating on ethanol-containing fuels up to E85.
API "S" - Spark-Ignition / Service Category
|API SP||Introduced in May 2020, designed to provide protection against low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI), timing chain wear protection, improved high temperature deposit protection for pistons and turbochargers, and more stringent sludge and varnish control.
API SP with Resource Conserving matches ILSAC GF-6A by combining API SP performance with improved fuel economy, emission control system protection and protection of engines operating on ethanol-containing fuels up to E85.
|API SN||For 2020 and older automotive engines|
|API SM||For 2010 and older automotive engines.|
|API SL||For 2004 and older automotive engines.|
|API SJ||For 2001 and older automotive engines.|
API "C" - Compression-ignition / Commercial Category
Oils for use in high-speed four-stroke cycle diesel engines designed to meet 2017 model year on-highway and Tier 4 non-road exhaust emission standards as well as for previous model year diesel engines.
When using CK-4 oil with higher than 15 ppm sulfur fuel, consult the engine manufacturer for service interval recommendations.
For high-speed four-stroke cycle diesel engines designed to meet 2010 model year on-highway and Tier 4 non-road exhaust emission standards as well as for previous model year diesel engines.
When using CJ-4 oil with higher than 15 ppm sulfur fuel, consult the engine manufacturer for service interval.
|For high-speed, four-stroke engines designed to meet 2004 exhaust emission standards implemented in 2002. CI-4 oils are formulated to sustain engine durability where exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is used and are intended for use with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 0.5% weight.
Can be used in place of CD, CE, CF-4, CG-4, and CH-4 oils. Some CI-4 oils may also qualify for the CI-4 PLUS designation.
|For high-speed, four-stroke engines designed to meet 1998 exhaust emission standards. CH-4 oils are specifically compounded for use with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 0.5% weight.
Can be used in place of CD, CE, CF-4, and CG-4 oils.
API "F" - Diesel F Category
|Describes certain XW-30 oils specifically formulated for use in select high-speed four-stroke cycle diesel engines designed to meet 2017 model year on-highway greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards.
Formulated for use in on-highway applications with diesel fuel sulfur content up to 15 ppm (0.0015% by weight). Refer to individual engine manufacturer recommendations regarding compatibility with API FA-4 oils.
These oils are blended to a high temperature high shear (HTHS) viscosity range of 2.9cP–3.2cP to assist in reducing GHG emissions. These oils are especially effective at sustaining emission control system durability where particulate filters and other advanced aftertreatment systems are used.
API FA-4 oils are designed to provide enhanced protection against oil oxidation, viscosity loss due to shear, and oil aeration as well as protection against catalyst poisoning, particulate filter blocking, engine wear, piston deposits, degradation of low- and high-temperature properties, and soot-related viscosity increase.
API FA-4 oils are not interchangeable or backward compatible with API CK-4, CJ-4, CI-4 with CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, and CH-4 oils. API FA-4 oils are not recommended for use with fuels having greater than 15 ppm sulfur. Refer to engine manufacturer recommendations to determine if API FA-4 oils are suitable for use. For fuels with sulfur content greater than 15 ppm, refer to engine manufacturer recommendations.
For more information refer to API's website.
1 SAE J300 Viscosity Grades
|SAE J300 Viscosity Grades for Engine Oils - 2015|
|Low Temperature °C
Cranking Viscosity(1), Max (CCS)
|Low Temperature °C
Pumping Viscosity(2), cP Max. with No Yield Stress
Kinematic Viscosity (3)(cSt) at 100°C Min
|Kinematic Viscosity (3)(cSt) at 100°C Max||
|0W||6200 @ -35||60000 @ -40||3.8||-||-|
|5W||6600 @ -30||60000 @ -35||3.8||-||-|
|10W||7000 @ -25||60000 @ -30||4.1||-||-|
|15W||7000 @ -20||60000 @ -25||5.6||-||-|
|20W||9500 @ -15||60000 @ -20||5.6||-||-|
|25W||13000 @ -10||60000 @ -15||9.3||-||-|
|40||-||-||12.5||<16.3||2.9 (0W - 10W)|
|40||-||-||12.5||<16.3||3.7 (15W - 25W)|
All values are critical specifications as defined by ASTM D 3244.
cP=1 mPa.s 1 cSt=1 mm2s-1
(1) ASTM D 5293.
(2) ASTM D 4684. Note that the presence of any yield stress detectable by this method constitutes a failure regardless of viscosity.
(3) ASTM D 445.
(4) ASTM D 4683, CEC L-36-A-90 (ASTM D 4741), or ASTM D 5481.
2 SAE J306 Automotive Gear Viscosity Classification
|SAE J306 Automotive Gear Viscosity Classification||Axle and Manual Transmission Lubricant Viscosity Classification|
|Viscosity at 100°||
|Viscosity of 150,000 mPa.s,
max temp °C
|20 hr. KRL Shear (CRC L 45-T-93), KV100 after Shear, mm2/s||4.1||4.1||7.0||11.0||7.0||11.0||13.5||24.0||41.0|
|Viscosity at 100°||
|Viscosity of 150,000 mPa.s, max temp °C||-40.0||-26.0||-12.0|
|Channel Point, min, °C||-45.0||-35.0||-20.0|
|Flash Point, min, °C||150||165||180|
3 ISO Viscosity Grade Conversions
|ISO Viscosity Grade Conversions|
|Kinematic Viscosity Limits cSt at 40°
Saybolt Viscosity SUS
4 Viscosity Ranges for AGMS Lubricant Numbers
|Viscosity Ranges for AGMS Lubricant Numbers|
Rust and Oxidation
|Viscosity Range||Equivalent ISO Gradex||Extreme Pressure
Inhibited Gear Oils ISO Grade Gear Lubricants
|AGMA Lubricant No.||cSt (mm2/s) at 40°C||AGMA Lubricant No|
|1||41.4 to 50.6||46|
|2||61.2 to 74.8||68||2 EP|
|3||90 to 110||100||3 EP|
|4||135 to 165||150||4 EP|
|5||198 to 242||220||5 EP|
|6||288 to 352||320||6 EP|
|7||414 to 506||460||7 EP|
|8||612 to 748||680||8 EP|
|8A||900 to 1100||1000||8A EP|
Viscosity ranges for AGMA Lubricant Numbers will henceforth be identical with those of the ASTM system. Oils compounded with 3% to 10% fatty or synthetic fatty oils.
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