This is going to be clear as “mud”. I have been a licensed automotive mechanic since 1976 and still at it and the changes to engines and motor oils is incredible. This could get very long indeed, let’s say there are 2 major standards API and ACEA, the former is the American the later is the European lubricant standards. The Europeans started to create their own standards mainly driven by their car manufacturers as they found the API standards were not to their liking.
Please take a look at them by clicking on the links down below. (Your browser will open and load the page content in a new tab. To return to this page you should close that tab).
Motor Oil Specifications
If money is no object and you want the best keeping the oil specification grade in mind by the respective manufacturers than this is the best money can buy , group 5 ester based synthetic motor oils. Not recommended for diesels with DPF filter equipped vehicles! Take a look at it at here.
I have a small car repair facility in Mississauga, Ontario where we work on 3 brands: BMW, Mercedes and Porsche cars. There is a great push for efficiency from the manufacturers side especially since they pay penalty to the EPA, so they will try any trick in the book to reduce the internal friction and the pumping losses within the ICE as much as possibly can.
We have variable oil pump on say BMW since 2006 , every part, oil notwithstanding has been crucified to the finest details, hence we have 0-20 W oil for awhile now to reduce pumping losses. There used to be an intensive push from the regulatory side (EPA) to reduce fuel consumption which Europe used to trail behind, not anymore.
Europe wanted to get more aggressive on regulating emission and fuel consumption ultimately driving forward to electrification.
Most manufacturers have their own “secret” recipe for their own proprietary motor oils which gets more and more complicated by the day.
For instance BMW has LL01 (older cars) then LL04 which is low SAPS which succeeds LL01 and were intended for diesels with DPF in mind but it is not recommended in NA for gas engines due to our Sulphur content in our gasoline per say. Then later we had an LL14+ and even later the LL17+.
Mercedes has 229.31, 229.51, 229.61, 229.71 (Diesel low SAPS) then 229.3, 229.5, 229.52, 229.6, 229.72. Does it look complicated enough?
This whole thing is in my opinion is completely out of hand and everyone will try to toot their own horn to their liking and you as the consumer it’s your responsibility to know what belongs in your lovely high tech state of the art engine.
For instance you get the oil level warning, with this little jewels and you need to top up your oil, most of them will have no dipstick to discourage you to put anything wrong in there. So good luck to you to find the appropriate lubricant at your gas station or department store lately.
Having put the wrong oil for instance 229.5 (the most common) oil into a DPF equipped diesel engine (229.51) will ruin the DPF by contaminating it with zinc which will render it defective and will void the warranty on your emission system in a hurry.
This whole silly stuff is all out on the window in my opinion in particularly in NA as people thumb their nose up on light efficient cars. Instead they want monster SUV trucks or massive pick up trucks with gigantic gas guzzling engines. There is this huge tug of war between governments, car manufacturers and the public.
The governments want electric cars, the public wants 800+ horsepower trucks, the car manufacturers are on the hook for making gas guzzlers.
We are also caught in between to provide the appropriate slur(oil) for the application, you get the picture.
My only question is: Where is the common sense in all of this may I ask?
The problem with all this high tech stuff is, the general public has no idea as we often find wrong oils and filters has been installed elsewhere, in a lot of places they are not aware of this fancy specifications.
I hope this helps. All the best, cheers.
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