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12/6/2015

APIEngineOilClassification

SomeEngineOilsCurrentlyontheShelvesCanHarmYourEngineReadtheLables!

PQIA'sMISSION

PQIAsmissionistoservethe
consumeroflubricantsby
testingandreportingonthe
qualityandintegrityof
lubricantsinthemarketplace.
Itisexpectedthatthis
improvedvisibilityofquality
willleadtowiderconformance
bylubricantmanufacturersto
specificationandperformance
claims.

Thereareengineoilscurrentlyontheshelvesatautopartsstores,gasstationconveniencestores,foodstores,andotherretailoutlets
thatcancauseharmtoyourcarsengine.Yes,youheardcorrectlyCauseharmtoyourcarsengine.Theseareobsoleteengineoils
formulatedforuseincarsbuiltpriortothe1930s!Knowhowtoreadthelabelsonthefrontandbackofthebottlesofoilyoubuyoryou
maybeusingproductthatcancauseunsatisfactoryperformanceorharmtoyourengine.
TheserviceratingofpassengercarandcommercialautomotivemotoroilsisclassifiedbytheAmericanPetroleumInstitute(API).The
programcertifiesthatengineoilmeetscertainOriginalEquipmentManufacturer(OEM)qualityandperformancestandards.Theservice
ratingisshownintheAPI"ServiceSymbolDonut"ontheproductlabel.Asshownintheillustrationbelow,engineoilswithanAPISA
ServiceClassificationwereformulatedforuseincarsbuiltpriorto1930,andarenowobsolete.Yet,therearestillnothardtofindin

retailoutlets.Readonaboutwhatyouneedtoreadonthelabels.

ThecurrentAPIServiceClassificationisSN
Thelabelsincludetwoimportantpiecesofinformationtodetermineifanengineoilisappropriateforuseinyourvehicle.Thefirstpieceof
informationspeakstoviscositygrade.TheSocietyofAutomotiveEngineers(SAE)definesanumericalsystemforgradingmotoroilsaccording
toviscosity.Thesuffixes(0,5,10,15and25)followedbytheletterWdesignatetheengineoil's"winter"grade.
Looktoyourowner'smanual.Itspecifiestheviscositygraderequiredforyourcar'sengine.Today,themostcommongradesare5W30.
Watchforthe"W"
Whereasthelabelingonthebottleofengineoilmaysuggesttheproductisa5W30,note,ifthereisno"W"betweenthe5andthe30itmay
notbea5W30.Asanexample,aSAE530isnotthesameasanSAE5W30.
Thenext'code"tolookforistheAPIServiceClassification.Althoughitmightappearcomplicatedtounderstandatthestart,itisreallyasimple
systemtogetyourarmsaround.Thinkofitthisway,whencarswerefirstbuilt,theoiltheyrequiredneededanAPISAServiceClassification.
Fromthere,itmovedtoSB,SC,SD,andsoon(skippingonlySIandSK).ThecurrentAPIServiceClassificationisSN.
SoifyoubuyanengineoilmeetingonlyAPISA,it'sanengineoilformulatedforuseinvehiclesbuiltinthe1920s.AndSAisnothardtofind
mixedinwithSMontheshelvesatcstoresandothers.Furthermore,it'salsonothardtofindSF,SJandotherAPIServiceCategoriesonthe
shelves.Also,don'tletpriceguideyou.EngineoilswithaServiceClassificationpriortoSN(includingSA)areoftenpricedclosetothatofAPI
SN.
TheserviceratingofpassengercarandcommercialautomotivemotoroilsisclassifiedbytheAmericanPetroleumInstitute(API).Theprogram
certifiesthatanoilmeetscertainOriginalEquipmentManufacturer(OEM)qualityandperformancestandards.Theserviceratingisshownin
theAPI"ServiceSymbolDonut"ontheproductlabel.

designatetheengineoil's"winter"grade.

http://www.pqiamerica.com/apiserviceclass.htm

Thelabelsincludetwoimportantpiecesofinformationtodetermineifan
engineoilisappropriateforuseinyourvehicle.Thefirstpieceof
informationspeakstoviscositygrade.TheSocietyofAutomotiveEngineers
(SAE)definesanumericalsystemforgradingmotoroilsaccordingto
viscosity.Thesuffixes(0,5,10,15and25)followedbytheletterW

Looktoyourowner'smanual.Itspecifiestheviscositygraderequiredfor

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12/6/2015

APIEngineOilClassification
Looktoyourowner'smanual.Itspecifiestheviscositygraderequiredfor
yourcar'sengine.Today,themostcommongradesare5W30and10W30.

Watchforthe"W"
Whereasthelabelingonthebottleofengineoilmaysuggesttheproductis
a10W30,note,ifthereisno"W"betweenthe10andthe30itmaynotbe
a10W30.Asanexample,aSAE1030isnotthesameasanSAE10W30.
Thenext'code"tolookforistheAPIServiceClassification.Althoughitmight
appearcomplicatedtounderstandatthestart,itisreallyasimplesystemto
getyourarmsaround.Thinkofitthisway,whencarswerefirstbuilt,theoil
theyrequiredneededanAPISAServiceClassification.Fromthere,itmoved
toSB,SC,SD,andsoon(skippingonlySI).ThecurrentAPIService
ClassificationisSM.
SoifyouarebuyinganSAoil,it'sanengineoilformulatedforuseinvehiclesbuiltinthe1920s.AndSAisnothardtofindmixedinwithSMon
theshelvesatcstoresandothers.Furthermore,it'salsonothardtofindSF,SJandotherAPIServiceCategoriesontheshelves.Also,don'tlet
priceguideyou.EngineoilswithaServiceClassificationpriortoSM(includingSA)areoftenpricedclosetothatofSM.

Alwaysconsultyourvehicleowner'smanualtodeterminewhatmotoroilyoushoulduse,andREADTHELABELS
ONTHEOILYOUBUY.

AmericanPetroleumInstitute
GasolineEngineOilServiceClassifications

Category

Status

Service

SN

Current

IntroducedinOctober2010for2011andoldervehicles,designedtoprovideimprovedhigh
temperaturedepositprotectionforpistons,morestringentsludgecontrol,andsealcompatibility.
APISNwithResource
ConservingmatchesILSACGF5bycombiningAPISNperformancewithimprovedfueleconomy,
turbochargerprotection,emissioncontrolsystemcompatibility,andprotectionofenginesoperating
onethanolcontaining
fuelsuptoE85.

SM

Current

For2010andolderautomotiveengines.

SL

Current

For2004andolderautomotiveengines.

SJ

Current

For2001andolderautomotiveengines.

SH

Obsolete

SG

Obsolete

SF

Obsolete

SE

Obsolete

CAUTIONNotsuitableforuseingasolinepoweredautomobileenginesbuiltafter1979.

SD

Obsolete

CAUTIONNotsuitableforuseingasolinepoweredautomobileenginesbuiltafter1971.Usein
moremodernenginesmaycauseunsatisfactoryperformanceorequipmentharm.

SC

Obsolete

CAUTIONNotsuitableforuseingasolinepoweredautomobileenginesbuiltafter1967.Usein
moremodernenginesmaycauseunsatisfactoryperformanceorequipmentharm.

SB

Obsolete

CAUTIONNotsuitableforuseingasolinepoweredautomobileenginesbuiltafter1951.Usein
moremodernenginesmaycauseunsatisfactoryperformanceorequipmentharm.

SA

Obsolete

CAUTIONNotsuitableforuseingasolinepoweredautomobileenginesbuiltafter1930.Usein
moremodernenginesmaycauseunsatisfactoryperformanceorequipmentharm.

Copyright2012PetroleumQuality
InstituteofAmerica,LLC.Allrights
reserved

http://www.pqiamerica.com/apiserviceclass.htm

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