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October 4, 2017

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Dexos1 Gen 2 Taking Off

On Sept. 1, all licenses for General Motors’ first-generation Dexos1 passenger car engine oils expired – those products may no longer be manufactured. Only new generation products can be made now, and inventories of the obsolete products will soon be depleted.

Licensing and approval of Dexos1-Gen 2 lubricants commenced at the end of 2015, allowing marketers to deploy them over the past two years, although expectations were that many would make the formal transition to the new specification in the second and third quarters of 2017. After several delays concerning the date for mandatory production of the new formulations, GM says it now has ample lubricants in place to meet the needs of its latest engines.

At this writing, 39 marketers/licensees hold Gen 2 approvals, and field 465 licensed products including re-brands (which number around 140). These are labeled with a trademarked logo showing “dexos1 Approved-Gen 2.” At the end of its life cycle, the original version had 100 licensees and 850 approved products in the market – not all of which remained active before GM obsoleted generation 1 approvals – which suggests that Gen 2 is off to a good start. It took much longer for generation 1 to gain traction after its introduction in late 2010 and early 2011.

Gen 2 is the culmination of efforts by General Motors, additive companies and marketers to complete the new specification, which was released in 2015. The products have to address needs such as protection against low speed pre-ignition, LSPI, which is especially critical for GM’s small-displacement turbocharged engines. In addition to a proprietary LSPI test, the stricter specification includes a new test to protect turbochargers from deposits as well as a new oil aeration test. All these tests work in combination with a slate of existing or replacement tests, including GM’s new Oxidation and Deposit Control (GMOD) test.

The vast majority of the automaker’s newest engines utilize SAE 0W-20 viscosity oils, although most of the GM fleet in operation still favors SAE 5W-30, so it is clear that dealers and other oil change service providers will need to inventory at least these two viscosity grades. Some engines did require SAE 5W-20 when they were launched, but GM allows and recommends that those vehicles, too, adopt SAE 0W-20 to maximize its contribution to fuel economy improvement. A total of 186 SAE 0W-20 engine oils are now licensed worldwide, compared to 254 products meeting SAE 5W-30.

Although most Dexos1-Gen 2 engine oil sold is SAE 5W-30 grade, SAE 0W-20 applications and use are growing rapidly. By contrast, only 25 SAE 5W-20 oils have been approved to date. This limited number can be attributed to several factors, including the extra cost to approve and license a product which so far has very limited application compared to the appetite of the overall GM car parc.

It is expected that the total number of SAE 5W-20 and other approved products will continue to grow as marketers adapt to the new quality level. Eric Johnson, industry liaison for GM’s fuels and lubricant group, said, “GM is pleased with the enthusiasm and the speed at which oil marketers and additive companies have embraced Dexos1 Gen2. GM recognizes that this was not an insignificant change in chemistry to meet the new specification and is appreciative of the cooperation that it has received from the oil and additive industry.”

“As the percentage of turbocharged engines in the marketplace continues to increase at a dramatic rate, GM is proud to have an oil specification that meets their unique needs,” he told Lube Report, adding, “The Gen 2 rollout has outpaced the rollout of Dexos1 Gen 1.”

Notably, besides providing the latest lubricants for GM vehicles, it’s anticipated that the new-generation products will meet the new supplemental API SN-Plus engine oil category requested by the wider auto manufacturing community. Therefore, the oils likely will find wider use by other OEMs to help protect their engines which are susceptible to the LSPI phenomena.

GM’s Dexos licensing program is administered by the Center for Quality Assurance. For details about the licensing procedures and a complete list of the approved products, see www.gmdexos.com.