Oil Classifications Diesel and Gasoline Engines

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Oil Classifications Diesel and Gasoline Engines

Oils are generally classified as refined and synthetic. Paraffinic and naphthenic oils are refined from crude oil while synthetic oils are manufactured. Literature on lubrication frequently makes references to long chain molecules and ring structures in connection with paraffinic and naphthenic oils, respectively. These terms refer to the arrangement of hydrogen and carbon atoms that make up the molecular structure of the oils. Discussion of the chemical structure of oils is beyond the scope of this webpage.

The current and previous API Service Categories are listed below. Vehicle owners should refer to their owner’s manuals before consulting these charts. Oils may have more than one performance level.

For automotive gasoline engines, the latest engine oil service category includes the performance properties of each earlier category. If an automotive owner’s manual calls for an API SJ or SL oil, an API SM oil will provide full protection. For diesel engines, the latest category usually – but not always – includes the performance properties of an earlier category.

GASOLINE ENGINES
Category
Status
Service
SM
Current
For all automotive engines currently in use. Introduced in 2004, SM oils are designed to provide improved oxidation resistance, improved deposit protection, better wear protection, and better low temperature performance over the life of the oil. Some SM oils may also meet the latest ILSAC specification and/or qualify as Energy Conserving.
SL
Current
For 2004 and older automotive engines.
SJ
Current
For 2001 and older automotive engines.
SH
Obsolete
For 1996 and older engines.
SG
Obsolete
For 1993 and older engines.
SF
Obsolete
For 1988 and older engines.
SE
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1979.
SD
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1971. Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.
SC
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1967. Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.
SB
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1951. Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.
SA
Obsolete
CAUTION: Contains no additives. Not suitable for use in gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1930. Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.
DIESEL ENGINES
Category
Status
Service
CJ4
Current
Introduced in 2006. For high speed, fourstroke engines designed to meet 2007 model year on highway exhaust emission standards. CJ4 oils are compounded for use in all applications with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 500 ppm (0.05% by weight). However, use of these oils with greater than 15 ppm (0.0015% by weight) sulfur fuel may impact exhaust after treatment system durability and/or oil drain interval. CJ4 oils are effective at sustaining emission control system durability where particulate filters and other advanced after treatment systems are used. Optimum protection is provided for control of catalyst poisoning, particulate filter blocking, engine wear, piston deposits, low and high temperature stability, soot handling properties, oxidative thickening, foaming, and viscosity loss due to shear. API CJ4 oils exceed the performance criteria of API CI4 with CI4 PLUS, CI4, CH4, CG4 and CF4 and can effectively lubricate engines calling for those API Service Categories. When using CJ4 oil with higher than 15 ppm sulfur fuel, consult the engine manufacturer for service interval.
CI4
Current
Introduced in 2002. For high speed, four stroke engines designed to meet 2004 exhaust emission standards implemented in 2002. CI4 oils are formulated to sustain engine durability where exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is used and are intended for use with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 0.5% weight. Can be used in place of CD, CE, CF4, CG4, and CH4 oils. Some CI4 oils may also qualify for the CI4 PLUS designation.
CH4
Current
Introduced in 1998. For high speed, four stroke engines designed to meet 1998 exhaust emission standards. CH4 oils are specifically compounded for use with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 0.5% weight. Can be used in place of CD, CE, CF4, and CG4 oils.
CG4
Obsolete
Introduced in 1995. For severe duty, high speed, four stroke engines using fuel with less than 0.5% weight sulfur. CG4 oils are required for engines meeting 1994 emission standards. Can be used in place of CD, CE, and CF4 oils.
CF4
Obsolete
Introduced in 1990. For high speed, four stroke, naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines. Can be used in place of CD and CE oils.
CF2
Current
Introduced in 1994. For severe duty, two stroke cycle engines. Can be used in place of CDII oils.
CF
Current
Introduced in 1994. For offroad, indirect injected and other diesel engines including those using fuel with over 0.5% weight sulfur. Can be used in place of CD oils.
CE
Obsolete
Introduced in 1985. For high speed, four stroke, naturally aspirated and turbo charged engines. Can be used in place of CC and CD oils.
CDII
Obsolete
Introduced in 1985. For two stroke cycle engines.
CD
Obsolete
Introduced in 1955. For certain naturally aspirated and turbo charged engines.
CC
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in diesel powered engines built after 1990.
CB
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in diesel powered engines built after 1961.
CA
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in diesel powered engines built after 1959.

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