Following pressure from US and Japanese car manufacturers to revise the SN engine oil classification, the American Petroleum Institute (API) agreed to an additional SN Plus spec at the end of 2017. A letter was sent to oil producers by API's Kevin Ferrick in mid-February outlining marketing regulations, with the regulator now announcing that spec licencing will go live from 1st May 2018.
The SN Plus 'donut' Image: API
SN Plus was added to the original classification following OEM concerns regarding oil-derived, low-speed engine pre-ignition (LSPI) and the Plus category is also set to protect turbo direct-injection engines from the same problem. The new spec can be applied to both standard SN and Resource Conserving SN engine oils.
The API has said it will process applications from lubes manufacturers on a first-come-first-served basis using the organisation's online application system. Once approved, lubes marketers can add the SN Plus status to the lower half of the API 'Donut' labelling.
Meanwhile, ILSAC's GF-6 spec faces another delay as the Sequence IVB test was knocked-back by API experts. According to Lubes'n'Greases, the Test as it currently stands caused a number of concerns amongst API's oil panel, with the majority either voting against approving the test or abstaining. Representatives from the automakers voted unanimously in favour of the test, perhaps unsurprisingly as the GF-6 spec is already some four years behind schedule.
Concerns about the IVB test - which is designed to measure valve train wear - included issues relating to consistency of measurement; a lack of descrimination between reference oils and its inability to measure wear in the same way as its predecessor IVA test.
In Europe, regulatory body ACEA has begun working on its latest revisions of the European Engine Oil Sequences. The specs cover three engine classes (gasoline and light duty diesel; gasoline and light duty diesel with after-treatment devices; and heavy-duty diesel.)
The new revisions are set to be released in 2018, although it is suggested that this timing may be tight to achieve, and will replace the specs published in December 2016. ACEA is under a degree of pressure to complete the revisions by the end of the year as engine oils with ACEA 2012 classification can only be marketed until 1 December 2018.
Published 18th April, 2018
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