New Engine Lubes Coming

March 24, 2016

The American Petroleum Institute (API) recently announced it has approved two new diesel engine oil standards, API Service Categories CK-4 and FA-4, known during development as PC-11a/b.

These new oil blend standards are a result of a collaboration between API, the Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA), the Diesel Engine Oil Advisory Panel (DEOAP) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC), who were asked by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop next-generation engine-lubricant standards. The target goals for the PC-11 lubricant blends were:

  • Meet EPA/NHTSA fuel efficiency and green house gas emissions regulations
  • Provide better bio-diesel fuel compatibility/protection
  • Address engine oil foaming concerns
  • Improve protection from higher engine operating temperatures
  • Improve protection from engine-oil shear down
  • Increase piston/liner (adhesive) wear protection

To meet those goals, both CK-4 and FA-4 upgraded oil blends use anti-oxidants, anti-wear, anti-foam, detergents and dispersant additives to protect diesel engines. But the similarity stops there.

Here's what you need to know:

CK-4 is for current on-road and off-road vehicles, as well as vehicles from previous model years. CK-4 lubricants are especially effective at sustaining emission control system durability where particulate filters and other advanced aftertreatment systems are used.

  • CK-4 oils are compatible with all trucks and off-road vehicles that currently use CJ-4 oils.
  • CK-4 is compatible with 15W-40 viscosity specifications
  • CK-4 has a minimum high temperature/high shear (HTHS) viscosity range of 3.5 Cp
  • CK-4 is fully compatible with SAE 5W-30, SAE 10W-30, SAE 5W-40, SAE 10W-40, and SAE 15W-40
  • Designed to meet 2017 model year on-road vehicles requirements
  • Meets Tier 4 off-road emission standards for current and previous model year diesel engines
  • Are for use with diesel fuel with less than 500 ppm sulfur content.
  • Provide enhanced protection against oil oxidation
  • Protects against viscosity loss due to shear
  • Helps prevent particulate filter blockage
  • Designed to withstand low and high temperature environments
  • Will exceed the performance criteria of API CJ-4, CI-4, and CH-4 service categories
  • Are not specifically designed to increase fuel efficiency

FA-4 oils are specifically formulated for use in select high-speed four-stroke-cycle diesel engines designed to meet 2017 model year on-road greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards.

  • FA-4 oils do not or have limited backward compatibility with engines older than 2016-2017 year models
  • FA-4 is a thinner XW30 blend and is NOT interchangeable with or backwards compatible with CK-4, CJ-4, CI-4 with CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, and CH-4 oils in most instances
  • FA-4 is for use with fuel with a sulfur content up to 15 ppm.
  • FA-4 has a lower high temperature/high shear (HTHS) viscosity range of 2.9cP-3.2 cP Cp to assist in reducing GHG emissions.
  • Protect against catalyst poisoning
  • Protect against particulate filter blockages
  • Lessen piston deposits

Experts suggest that fleet managers talk with their equipment dealers and lubricant suppliers about how the new blends apply to their equipment and applications. It is also a wise idea to use fluid analysis monitor the equipment's performance. CK-4 and FA-4 are expected to be available in December.