Once in an auto specialty store, an inexperienced shopper can be confused by the complicated letter and number symbols on motor oil cans. How to choose the right product and read the “message” code of lubricant manufacturers? We share key information.
Mineral water, semi-synthetics, synthetics
Let’s start with the basic division of motor oils into mineral, semi-synthetic and synthetic.
The lubricant of the first group is obtained by direct distillation of the oil and is marked accordingly with the word Mineral on the bottle.
Semi-synthetic fat, in turn, is labeled with the words Semi-Synthetic. As the name reflects, we are talking about a mixture of mineral and synthetic lubricants with a higher proportion of mineral base (around 80%). Finally, synthetics are denoted by the words Synthetic or Fully Synthetic. It is based on a lubricant synthesized not directly from petroleum, but from its more complex derivatives. This is the best lubricant product, and also the most expensive, capable of preserving its properties for a long time in extreme conditions.
Classification according to international standards
SAE mark. This abbreviation refers to the American Association of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and characterizes the viscosity of the oil. For example, in a 10W-40 combination, the first digit characterizes the minimum indicator at which the lubricity of parts will be guaranteed, and the second digit characterizes the viscosity of the oil that is already in a warm engine.
To understand at what minimum temperature lubricity will be provided, it is necessary to subtract the first digit in the designation from the number 35 (the so-called “rule of 35”). It turns out that, for example, 5W40 oil will provide lubricity at a temperature of -30. Subtract 5 from the second digit of the combination and get the viscosity parameter at high temperature. For example, the same 5W40 oil will be suitable for use at temperatures up to +35 degrees C.
The field of oils, in turn, is classified according to API (American Petroleum Institute). The first component of the two-letter combination is C or S (denoting gasoline or diesel engines, respectively). If the oil is designated API SJ / CF, then it is suitable for gasoline and diesel engines of this category. The second part of the combination (for example, in the SN designation) is the Latin letters, presented in alphabetical order, from least to best. For example, if the manufacturer recommends filling with an SN class lubricant, then we are talking about oil for gasoline engines that cannot be filled with grease with SA, SJ, SM or SL approvals.
The ACEA marking is a classification adopted in 1995 by the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA). The latest edition of this classification provides for the division of oils into 3 categories and 12 classes:
A/B – gasoline and diesel engines of passenger cars, vans, minibuses (A1/B1-12, A3/B3-12, A3/B4-12, A5/B5-12); C – gasoline and diesel engines with exhaust gas catalyst (C1-12, C2-12, C3-12, C4-12 and E – heavy-duty diesel engines (E4-12, E6-12, E7-12, E9-12).
There is also a classification of motor oils according to ILSAC (a joint system of the Japanese association JAMA and the American AAMA). To date, 5 ILSAC categories have been officially standardized: GF-1, GF-2, GF-3, GF-4, GF-5, which correspond to the API classes. Its distinguishing feature is that all the oils here are energy efficient and suitable for all types of weather. Such lubricants are recommended primarily for Japanese and American cars. The latest GF-5 standard (introduced in 2010) offers increased protection against high temperature deposits on pistons and turbochargers, increased sludge control, improved fuel economy, compatibility with systems running on fuels containing ethanol up to E85.
As for the oils of domestic manufacturers, they are classified according to GOST and are divided into classes and groups of viscosity depending on the performance properties.
The standard marking for motor lubricants includes the letter M (motor), a number or fraction indicating the viscosity class or classes, one or two of the first six letters of the alphabet indicating the scope of this oil (A – for motors without engine ; B – for low-power engines; C – for medium-power engines; D – for high-power engines: D – for high-power diesel engines; E – for low-speed diesel engines with lubricant lubrication system) . Then you can follow an index indicating the type of engine: 1 – gasoline, 2 – diesel. If it is absent, it means that the oil is universal.
We also note that several leading automakers have developed and implemented their own approvals, in addition to the existing ones. They are used by companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Ford, GM, Renault, Fiat, Porsche and others. For example, MB 228.1 oil is designed for Mercedes-Benz trucks with diesel engines, Ford WSS-M2C 913 C oil is for all Ford models, and Peugeot PSA B71 2290 grease is for PSA company diesel engines equipped with a particulate filter.
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