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New Technologies Prompt New Industry Standards

NEW TECHNOLOGIES PROMPT NEW INDUSTRY STANDARDS

ILSAC GF-6 and API SP specifications. AMSOIL was already ahead of the game.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are under pressure to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. As a result, most new engines today use some combination of turbochargers, direct-fuel injection and variable valve timing to deliver better fuel economy and increase horsepower.

The trend of lighter engine oils to achieve these goals continues with 0W-16 viscosities emerging in the market and 0W-12 and 0W-8 expected to follow. The industry has responded to these ultra-light viscosities with two new oil specifications: ILSAC GF-6 and API SP.

We Were Are Already There

Our claims about using advanced technology aren’t just talk, and this specification update proves it. AMSOIL synthetic motor oils already meet or exceed the new industry standards and require no change in formulation. This is not the first time we’ve been in this position. While the competition works on making major formulation adjustments, we just have to update our labels. The new specifications are not allowed to be displayed on labels until May 1, 2020. Expect to see updated AMSOIL labels then.

The Big Split

The International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) recently set a new precedent in the passenger-car motor oil market (PCMO) by splitting its specification into two parts:

GF-6A – backward compatible, provides protection for a variety of older and newer engines

GF-6B – not backward compatible, for use in select new vehicles

Both versions focus on wear protection, prevention of lowspeed pre-ignition (LSPI) and improved engine cleanliness. However, GF-6B features a more stringent fuel economy test. Engine oils can easily be identified as ILSAC GF-6A or 6B by the API emblem on the front label of the packaging. A shield will represent the GF-6B specification, while the traditional starburst will indicate a GF-6A product. Both ILSAC specifications meet the industry-standard API SP specification which is most commonly found in owners’ manuals.

To learn more, visit amsoil.com/lspi.

ILSAC GF-6, API SP & dexos: Making Sense of New Oil Specs.

ILSAC GF-6, API SP & dexos: New Oil Specifications

As engine-operating conditions grow more severe, so do the demands placed on your motor oil. Hence the need for updated oil specifications, like ILSAC GF-6, API SP and GM dexos1 Gen 2.

New engine hardware such as turbochargers, direct injection and variable valve timing (VVT) place increased stress on your engine oil. This, in turn, has led to the introduction of more strict more oil specifications.

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • How strict fuel-economy standards increase engine stress
  • What is LSPI (low-speed pre-ignition)?
  • How motor oil helps prevent LSPI
  • ILSAC GF-6, API SP and GM dexos
  • Do AMSOIL synthetic motor oils meet GM dexos, ILSAC GF-6 and API SP specs?

 

Improved fuel economy

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards require a fleet-wide average of about 40 mpg by 2026 in the United States.

To meet these requirements the automotive industry has focused on smaller, more fuel-efficient engines. In fact, most new vehicles now feature gasoline direct-injection (GDI), a turbocharger or both (T-GDI).

Severe operating conditions

Smaller, more-efficient engines that make the power and torque of higher-displacement engines undergo more severe operating conditions that can lead to…

  • Severe engine knock, also called low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI)
  • Increased engine temperatures
  • Compromised fuel injectors
  • Increased wear and deposits if the oil isn’t up to snuff

The biggest motor-oil-related challenge on the horizon is LSPI, which can destroy pistons and connecting rods.

LSPI can cause cracked pistons and rods

LSPI is the spontaneous ignition of the fuel/air mixture before spark-triggered ignition.

It is another version of pre-ignition. Pre-ignition (engine knock) has been around since the beginning of internal combustion engines.

LSPI, however, occurs under low-speed, high-torque conditions, such as taking off from a stoplight in T-GDI engines.

This scenario can create conditions where the fuel/air ignites too early in the combustion cycle, throwing off the engine’s timing.

The expanding combustion charge collides with the piston as it’s moving up the cylinder, potentially destroying the pistons or connecting rods.

Oil can help prevent LSPI

Experts suggest the cause is due in part to oil/fuel droplets or deposits in the cylinder igniting randomly. The droplets and deposits contain enough heat to ignite the air/fuel mixture before spark-triggered ignition.

Oil formulation can play a role in reducing LSPI.

Certain motor oil ingredients can promote LSPI, while others can help reduce it. It’s tempting to think, “Well, dump a bunch of ingredients into your formulations that help reduce LSPI.” But some ingredients that help reduce LSPI have been limited over the years in motor oil formulations for other reasons.

It truly is a scientific balancing act confronting oil formulators. It’s no easy task to formulate motor oils that deliver excellent wear protection, resist the increased heat of turbocharged engines, prevent deposits, act as a hydraulic fluid and, now, combat LSPI.

The performance of the entire formulation – not just one or two ingredients – is what counts.

ILSAC GF-6, API SP and GM dexos

Next-generation motor oils need to pass an LSPI test to meet these new demands.

General Motors was first out of the gate and required oils to pass its own LSPI test. Its GM dexos1 Gen 2 specification took effect Aug. 31, 2017.

The latest American Petroleum Institute (API) specification, API SP, took effect in May 2020. As did ILSAC GF-6, the latest spec from the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee. For the most part, it mirrors API specifications.

ILSAC has set a new precedent in the passenger-car motor oil market by splitting its specification into two parts. One of the main differences between the two specifications is compatibility.

See the chart below. Both versions focus on wear protection, prevention of LSPI and improved engine cleanliness. However, GF-6B features a more stringent fuel economy test.

Engine oils can easily be identified as ILSAC GF-6A or 6B by the API emblem on the front label of the packaging. A shield represents the GF-6B specification, while the traditional starburst indicates a GF-6A product.

Both ILSAC specifications meet the industry-standard API SP specification which is most commonly found in owners’ manuals.

Relax…for now

For now, you don’t have to worry too much about LSPI.

Your vehicle’s computer is programmed to avoid operating conditions that lead to LSPI. But, operating your engine under those conditions does promise fuel economy gains.

AMSOIL meets the latest specs

AMSOIL synthetic motor oils meet or exceed the latest industry standards, including ILSAC GF-6, API SP and GM dexos1 Gen 2.

You can safely use our synthetic motor oils in engines that call for those specifications.

In fact, AMSOIL achieved 100 percent protection against LSPI in the engine test required by GM’s dexos1 Gen 2 specification.*

*Based on independent testing of Signature Series 5W-30, XL 5W-30 and OE 5W-30 in the LSPI engine test as required for the GM dexos1® Gen 2 specification.

Do Coolant Additives Work?

Do Coolant Additives Work?

Store shelves contain several coolant additives that promise to reduce engine heat, control overheating and fight corrosion.

Do coolant additives work? And, if so, are they necessary?

It’s tough to top good ‘ol H2O

First of all, why use coolant additives in the first place?

Straight water is the best coolant one could use. It absorbs and transfers heat better than any other liquid. So, why not just pour purified water into your coolant system and call it done? 

The answer is obvious for those of us who drive in snow six months a year and those of you who face triple-digit temperatures all summer.

Water freezes at 32°F (0°C) and boils at 212°F (100°C).

Clearly, coolant formulators must add something to antifreeze & coolant to expand its application to areas where the weather isn’t perfect 365 days per year. Otherwise your engine would freeze in winter and your cooling system would overheat in summer.

Corrosion control

Not only that, but water corrodes metal.

Running straight water in your vehicle’s cooling system would eventually lead to scale buildup that would plug the heater core and ruin the system.  

It can also hasten corrosion in aluminum components, like radiators and cylinder heads, at an alarming rate. Corrosion can eat through an aluminum radiator until coolant leaks on the ground.

At the very least, drivers in the perfect climate still need to add corrosion inhibitors to straight water to properly cool an engine.

In fact, many racers do this with good results; racetracks typically don’t allow antifreeze & coolant since leaks are difficult to clean up and make the track slippery.

A good antifreeze & coolant hits the mark

A high-quality antifreeze & coolant contains the chemistry needed to deliver protection against freezing, boil-over and corrosion.

A word of caution, however: Avoid the conventional “green” coolants readily found at parts stores and other retailers. 

They contain inorganic salts (phosphate, nitrate, nitrite, silicate, borate, amine), which are responsible for almost all cooling-system scaling problems.

Plus, they deplete quickly, often in two years or less, and can lead to sludge or slime in your radiator, which clog passages and create all sorts of problems.

AMSOIL antifreeze/coolants, on the other hand, deliver durable, long-lasting cooling-system protection.

So, why use coolant additives?

If a good antifreeze & coolant works so well, why bother with coolant additives that promise reduced engine temperatures and added corrosion resistance?

Because racers, competitors and enthusiasts want every advantage they can get to enhance engine performance. And a good coolant additive can provide that edge. 

Reduced engine temperatures

An engine has a temperature “sweet spot” in which it produces maximum power and efficiency. Excessive heat reduces efficiency. It can cause metal parts to expand too much and contact each other, causing wear.

Competitors have a big incentive to tame extreme engine temperatures to protect their expensive engines and maximize their chances to win.

A good coolant additive can help by reducing the surface tension of water and allowing it to more efficiently absorb and transfer heat from the engine.

What are surfactants?

Coolant additives use chemicals called surfactants.

When water is agitated or heated, surface tension holds bubbles together before they burst. Since bubbles are filled with air, they reduce the water’s heat-transfer ability.

Imagine thousands of bubbles in the coolant passages of your engine as it runs. Eliminating these bubbles will allow the water to more closely contact metal, increasing its ability to absorb heat, thereby reducing operating temperatures and increasing efficiency.

Surfactants reduce the water and antifreeze’s surface tension so it can more effectively absorb and transfer heat from the engine.  

Many leading coolant additives, however, contain only one surfactant, limiting their temperature ranges and effectiveness.

AMSOIL DOMINATOR Coolant Boost uses three surfactants, each designed to operate in a different temperature range to increase liquid-to-metal contact from the time the vehicle starts to the time it reaches operating temperature.

As a result, it reduces engine temperatures up to 25°F (14ºC) in straight-water applications.

This helps racers and competitors achieve maximum efficiency and horsepower.

Faster engine warm up

More efficiently transferring engine heat also helps DOMINATOR Coolant Boost warm the engine up to 54% faster.

Racers appreciate this since they waste less fuel warming their engines.

Motorists in cold climates like it because it boosts driver comfort on cold mornings.

Improved corrosion resistance

DOMINATOR Coolant Boost also delivers outstanding corrosion protection. In industry standard testing, it limited corrosion to the six metals most commonly found in cooling systems (copper, solder, brass, steel, cast iron and cast aluminum), easily passing both tests.

Check out the full results here.

Dominator Coolant Boost

Should I be Alerted If My Oil Looks Dirty?

What Your Motor Oil Color Means

Color in general shouldn’t indicate any immediate action without an oil analysis test to validate anything out of the ordinary. No, you should not be alerted if your oil looks dirty. Is that dirt? While color could indicate an issue, keep in mind oil that appears ‘bad’ has often been tested as still within it’s usefulness.  Let’s go over the considerations which need to be known.

An object’s color can reveal a lot about its condition. A brown apple? Probably not great to eat. A slice of green bread? Same. What about motor oil color? Can your eyes provide insight into your oil’s suitability to protect your engine?

Does motor oil that’s turned black require changing?

Not necessarily. In this case, the oil’s color is a sign it’s doing its job.

Oil naturally darkens during use for a couple reasons, including heat cycles. During your drive to work, your engine reaches normal operating temperature (typically 195ºF–220ºF [90ºC–104ºC]), heating the motor oil.

Then the oil cools while your car sits in the parking lot. The process repeats as you run errands over lunch and when you return home.

This continual daily exposure to increased heat naturally darkens the oil.

In addition, normal oxidation can darken oil.

Oxidation occurs when oxygen molecules interact with oil molecules and cause chemical breakdown, just like how oxygen causes a cut apple to brown or iron to rust.

Similar is when you sit in one chair all the time and eventually your ass makes it’s own shape in the chair. The chair may be slightly worn but still holds its function.

Soot also causes oil to turn black.

While we associate soot with diesels, today’s direct-injected gasoline engines can produce more soot than older diesels without exhaust-treatment devices. While individual soot particles are too small to cause engine wear, particles can agglomerate into larger wear-causing contaminants that can lead to wear before they lodge in the oil filter.

Just because the oil has darkened doesn’t necessarily mean it’s reached the end of its service life.

Motor oil contains detergent and dispersant additives designed to clean contaminants like soot and prevent them from depositing onto metal surfaces.

Oil that has turned black is an indication the additives are doing their job. You can read more about that here.

What about motor oil that looks like chocolate milk? – Now that bad!!

In this case, motor oil color does reflect performance…and oil that looks like chocolate milk is bad. Very bad.

Water or engine coolant have contaminated the oil, typically due to a head gasket leak.

We all know that water and oil don’t mix. When they combine in your engine, water droplets suspend in the oil and alter its appearance until it looks frothy or like chocolate milk.

The presence of water leads to foam bubbles, which rupture when pulled between engine parts during operation, leaving metal components unprotected against wear.

It also forms sludge, which can clog oil passages and ruin the engine. In this case, see a mechanic as soon as possible.

What if my oil looks or feels thin?

While not related to motor oil color, this is another frequent question we field from motorists.

Don’t take this the wrong way, but in this case go out to the garage and smell your dipstick.

Oil that has lost viscosity is often due to fuel dilution. You can usually smell gasoline or diesel fuel on the dipstick in such cases.

Fuel dilution occurs when gas or diesel wash past the piston rings and contaminate the oil in the sump. It reduces oil viscosity, which reduces the oil’s ability to prevent wear. It also leads to formation of harmful varnish and sludge.

Fuel dilution can occur if you idle your engine excessively or due to a mechanical defect. It’s also common in some modern direct-injected engines.

It’s important to note that no one can precisely measure an oil’s viscosity simply by looking at it or rubbing a little between their fingers.

As Oil ANALYZERS INC. manager Allen Bender likes to ask, “When’s the last time you had your eyes calibrated?”

Oil analysis in the only definitive way to determine the oil’s viscosity and whether it’s lost viscosity due to fuel dilution.

My oil feels gritty? Should I change it?

When checking oil level, some motorists like to rub oil between their fingers to check for particles.

Grit or other contaminants can mean the oil has chemically broken down, but this is unlikely, especially with a top-shelf synthetic oil.

More likely, the oil filter has filled with contaminants and unfiltered oil is bypassing the filter and circulating through the engine.

The filter is designed with a bypass valve to ensure the engine receives oil even if the filter is full.

While dirty oil is preferable to no oil, it’s not a long-term plan for success. In this case, change the oil and filter.

Trust oil analysis, not your eyes

While it’s possible to get a rough idea what’s going on inside your engine due to oil color, appearance or scent, you need to perform oil analysis to find out what’s really going on.

By chemically analyzing a used-oil sample, a qualified lab can tell you if the oil contains excessive wear particles, water contamination, fuel dilution and more. Ultimately, the report will tell you if the oil is suitable for continued use or not.

It’s a cost-effective way to get the most out of your oil change…and your engine. Check out this post to see how to perform oil analysis.

Why Buy Signature Series? Nothing Comes Close

Why Buy Signature Series?

There are many big names out there. A lot of new start-ups claiming to be the Holy Grail in engine oil. But in short, AMSOIL remains on top for one reason – the founder AJ Amatuzio wanted to provide a product where the customer can be certain he (or she) is getting what is expected.  Nothing is scaled down to improve profit margins. (There are no share holders) Simply the best and that process involves earning the highest respect from suppliers for the privilege of developing the finest finished lubricants.

Setting Standards For You to Measure From

Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil is not only the best oil we have ever made, it’s better than any competitive oil we have tested. Advanced engine technology and the normal demands of everyday life generate extreme conditions that can challenge motor oil and engine life. Signature Series delivers the ultimate protection against everyday extremes like towing and extended idling. Don’t just take our word for it; read on for proof.

Do you drive in hot temperatures?

In testing, kept pistons clean and held oil thickening to only 6 percent, a minimal amount compared to the proposed specification limit of 150 percent4. 50 percent more detergents5 to help keep oil passages clean and promote oil circulation. Provides 90 percent better protection against sludge6.

Do you have long commutes?

30 percent more acid-neutralizing power8 than Mobil 1*, and 36 percent more than Royal Purple*, helping engines stay cleaner, longer. Reserve protection, so you can go up to 25,000 miles, 700 hours of operation or one year between oil changes, whichever comes first.

Does your vehicle have a turbocharger?

72 percent better turbocharger protection than required2 by the GM dexos1® Gen 2 specification. Achieved 100 percent protection against low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI)3.

Do you tow or haul?

75 percent more engine protection against horsepower loss and wear7.

Do you drive in cold temperatures?

66 percent better cold-temperature performance for easier starting, better fuel economy, improved oil flow and reduced wear.

Do you want extra engine protection?

Far superior wear protection compared to the competition – kept bearings looking like new after 100,000-mile test1.


1Testing conducted in an independent lab using AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil and a leading synthetic-blend 5W-30 motor oil in Ford F-150 trucks with 3.5L twin-turbo engines. 2Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in the GM turbo coking test. 3Based on zero LSPI events in five consecutive tests of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 Motor Oil in the LSPI engine test required by the GM dexos1 Gen 2 specification.  4Based on the ILSAC GF-5 PLUS specification. 5vs. AMSOIL OE Motor Oil 6Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in the ASTM D6593 engine test for oil screen plugging as required by the API SN specification. 7Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-20, in ASTM D6891 as required by the API SN specification. 8Based upon independent testing of Mobil 1 Annual Protection Full Synthetic 5W-30, Royal Purple High Performance 5W-30 and AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in ASTM D2896. Oils purchased 05/03/18. *All trademarked names are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use.