Approval In Engine Oil

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All engine oil has only one role and that is to lubricate the moving parts in the engine compartment, prevent wear and corrosion and ensure heat disperse accordingly. However, the automobile industry is inventing and building engines to cater to each region or requirements, therefore needing particular oil properties that are able to guarantee optimal lubrication and performance. 

Which included the special flow properties of the oil (Viscosity), temperature behaviour or even the compatibility of the sealing materials. Due to this, several institutions have created various classifications and specifications to provide users an overview and car manufacturers to have the option of approving certain oils for their car engines. 

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)

An important role for SAE is the measurement of flow of properties in liquid form which is known as “Oil Viscosity”. It is to determine how thin or viscous an oil is and how it behaves depending on the ambient temperature. Therefore SAE has established and maintained reference temperatures, viscosity limits and class assignments for the respective product. The product mentioned will have to go through a series of programs of testing that will assure the product will have the same attributes. 

Modern passenger cars operate with multigrade engine oil such as SAW 5W30. Multigrade oil has good flow properties in winter and summer and can be used all year round. The number before the "W" defines the flow behaviour of oil at low temperatures. The smaller the number, the more liquid the oil remains at low temperatures. This allows the engine oil to quickly lubricate all important parts in the engine even in winter with a cold start. The number after "W" defines the kinematic viscosity of the oil at 100 °C. The higher the number, the more resistant the oil is to extreme loads.

Association des Constructeurs Europeens de l'Automobile 

Association of European Engine Manufacturers (ACEA)

To get ACEA approval, the engine oil will be based on the strictest European test procedures. Therefore the approval specifications will represent the industry as a whole due to the requirements of European car manufacturers for engine oils. 

The specifications are divided into sequences A, B and C. While sequence E exists for trucks only. It is supplemented with numbers and thus further differentiated.

  • A - requirements for passenger car gasoline engines.

  • B - requirements for diesel engines in passenger cars, vans and pickup trucks.

  • C - Vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art exhaust after treatment systems (such as diesel particulate filters) are required for special engine oils to prevent clogging of the diesel particulate filters. However, it depends on the permissible proportion of the ash-forming substances, sulfated ash, phosphorus and sulfur, the suitable oils are divided into Low and Mid SAPS oils and classified according to the ACEA C specification.

  • E - Describes the requirements for diesel engines for trucks.

Engine oils for passenger cars are specified as a combination of petrol and diesel engines (e.g. ACEA A3/B3). The number after the letter describes the difference in performance of the engine oils. Higher numbers also meet higher requirements. 

American Petroleum Institute (API)

API is for the American requirements and quality criteria for engine oils. The specification for engine oils is divided into API S and API C.

The letter "S" (Service) stands for petrol engines in passenger cars. The code letter "C" (Commercial) is the requirements for diesel engines in commercial vehicles and trucks. Passenger car diesel engines are not classified via API, as these are hardly ever used in the USA. Letters S and C are continuously added with additional letters or numbers to update the standards. Currently API SN and API CK-4 are the most modern specifications. They are backwards compatible with earlier standards.

Japanese Automotive Standards Organization (JASO)

An organization in Japan that defines its own oil specifications. For its part, the focus is on oils for two- stroke engines and four-stroke petrol engines and motorcycle engines. Special requirements are needed for motorcycle oils used in the engines with integrated transmissions (oil bath clutches). There is class JASO MA for oils recommended for oil bath clutch and class JASO MB for oils not recommended for oil bath clutches.

OEM approvals

Certain automobile manufacturers issue additional requirements to the international classifications and specifications. These are named after manufacturer-specific standards (e.g. BMW Longlife-04, MB release, Porsche A40 etc.). Click here, where we talk more about OEM approvals!

Last note, 

Liqui Moly puts in top priority on getting these approvals to maintain and provide the best engine oil to the market so that all vehicle owner is able to have excellent performance, engine cleanliness and safety. 

Aren't sure what motor oil is suitable for your vehicle? 

Click Here to head over to our Oil Guide , where it can summaries what product is suitable for you! 

Head to our official store at to see the wide range of Liqui Moly Product that is available or simply just drop us a message and our team can assist you accordingly. 

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