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November 30, 2016

Volume 17 Issue 52

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API CK-4, FA-4 Diesel Engine Oils Available Dec. 1

Diesel engine oils meeting the American Petroleum Institute’s new standards, API CK-4 and FA-4, will begin appearing in the marketplace tomorrow, bearing the organization’s trademarks for those categories on containers and marketing materials.

Earlier this year, API’s Lubricants Group approved the new API CK-4 and FA-4 specifications to address the varying needs of engine technologies – including aging, new and in use, both on-and off-highway – and to help diesel engine manufacturers meet more stringent emissions requirements.

“December 1 is an industry milestone as it marks the first day new API CK-4 and FA-4 engine oils can be marketed and sold on retail shelves or in bulk,” said Kevin Ferrick, senior manager of API’s Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System, in an API news release. “The time between approval of the categories last winter and the first licensing on December 1 gave large, medium and small oil marketers the ability to test their new formulations and ready them for market. This signals the culmination of almost nine years of cross-industry collaboration in the development of the new standards.”

API CK-4 oils will replace current API CJ-4 engine oils and will be backward compatible in most applications where engine manufacturers currently recommend CJ-4. The new CK-4 oils will provide a number of improvements over CJ-4, including gains in shear stability, oxidation resistance and aeration control.

API FA-4 oils will provide similar improvements over CJ-4 oils, but the institute said it is important to note that FA-4 oils are only intended for use in newer on-highway diesel engines. Due to their unique viscometrics, FA-4 oils will have limited or no backward compatibility with on- and off-highway diesel engines where engine manufacturers recommended CJ-4. While not specifically backward compatible, API said that FA-4 oils are expected to play an important role in some current and new diesel engines by protecting those engines and at the same time helping them meet more stringent emissions requirements.

API noted that CK-4 and FA-4 oils are designed for different applications. This means technicians and consumers will need to check their owner’s manuals or with engine manufacturers to determine which oil is right for their vehicle. API developed two visually different API Service Symbol Donuts so that consumers can easily distinguish between the two categories. The new API FA-4 Donut features a shaded section to differentiate them from CK-4 oils. The API CK-4 Donut will look the same as the current CJ-4 Donut.

Both new categories also were included in the Nov. 22 revision of SAE J183, the “Engine Oil Performance and Engine Service Classification Standard.” Many purchasing guidelines for federal, military, state and municipal fleets, as well as commercial buyers, reference the list of active categories in J183.

For more information on the new service categories and their use in diesel vehicles and equipment, visit the Diesel Oil Matters web site.

Image: American Petroleum Institute

For CK-4 (left), API retained the same “donut” trademark used with CJ-4 and earlier specifications. The symbol for FA-4 is based on the same design but divides the top half of the concentric circles into quarters, one of which is colored or shaded.