Changes are coming for diesel engine oils, whether your equipment is off-road, on-road, old or new. Not sure how these changes will affect your operation? Our team of Cenex lubricants experts is preparing for the upcoming industry changes and will be ready to help you select the right oil formulation for the right engine types. 

The changes, known as Proposed Category 11 (PC-11) will take effect on December 1, 2016. Due to the greater demands placed on engine oils by recent government emissions and fuel efficiency requirements, the American Petroleum Institute (API) is setting standards for new classes of oil. PC-11 oils will provide significantly improved oxidation control, anti-foaming and shear stability protection compared to previous products for existing equipment. Plus, it’s expected that the new oil formulations will also be offered with lower viscosities for enhanced fuel economy in new engines.

Continued updates and developments from the API and the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) regarding the new oil formulations are expected prior to the December 1 deadline. Here is a quick recap of the information provided by the industry thus far. 

The API recently introduced two types of PC-11 oil:

  • CK-4 oils are expected to be backwards compatible with all ages of on- and off-road diesel engines. They will stand up to thermal breakdown better than CJ-4 oils.

  • FA-4 oils will provide improved fuel economy and protection for some newer on-road engines. API FA-4 oils are not backwards compatible, but some OEMs may allow limited backwards compatibility, so they should only be used in on-highway engines that recommend them.

What does this mean for you?

Improved oils will require paying special attention to oil selection. Newer engines may be able to use lighter oils that may not be appropriate for older engines, so watch label changes to make sure you are using the correct product. The API will likely add label designations that will help users differentiate between the new CK-4 and FA-4 oils; however, official changes have yet to be announced. 

On-road diesel trucks may expect to see up to 2 to 3 percent fuel economy improvement over the typical SAE 15W-40 oil, depending on the driving cycle. This is due to the improved engine protection that CK-4 and FA-4 oils offer. These new options should ensure drain intervals can be maintained or even increased under certain operating conditions.

CK-4 oils offer additional protection for sensitive areas of off-road diesel engines that can often see strenuous wear. In order to meet exhaust emission standards, Tier 4 Final engines must use oils that are compatible with “after treatment” equipment. In addition to providing exceptional oxidation and wear performance in Tier 4 Final engines, CK-4 oils are expected to address those concerns.

At Cenex, our retailers are gathering information about these upcoming changes and preparing to guide vehicle and equipment owners through the transition by answering questions about the right oil for each piece of equipment. Feel free to contact us for more information about the new oil formulations.

Please note: This is an industry update as of April 2016. Industry updates or modifications regarding the new diesel engine oils may be possible until changes are implemented on Dec. 1, 2016.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user.

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