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Specifications for engine oils

In principle, all engine oils serve the same purpose. They lubricate the moving parts in the engine compartment, prevent wear and corrosion and ensure heat dissipation. However, each engine is composed differently and requires special oil properties to guarantee optimal lubrication. This includes, for example, special flow properties of the oil (viscosity), a certain temperature behaviour or compatibility with certain sealing materials. In this case, the additives of the oil are very important. Several institutions have issued various classifications and specifications to ensure that users retain an overview and vehicle manufacturers also have the option of approving certain oils for their engines. We have summarized the most important ones for you.

Refilling a car engine with motor oil
Every car needs the right engine oil to make the most of its performance

SAE classes

Viscosity as a measure of the internal friction of a fluid is one of the most important oil properties. It determines how thin or viscous an oil is and how it behaves depending on the ambient temperature. Therefore, the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) has published a system that defines reference temperatures, viscosity limits and class assignments for engine oils. There are monograde oils that correspond to a certain kinematic viscosity at 100 °C, such as SAE 30, which were used many years ago when oil in cars was changed in winter and summer. Many classic cars are still dependent on monograde oils. Modern passenger cars operate with multigrade oils such as SAE 5W30. Multigrade oils have good flow properties in winter and summer and can be used all year round. The number before the "W" defines the flow behaviour of oil at low temperatures. The smaller the number, the more liquid the oil remains at low temperatures. This allows the engine oil to quickly lubricate all important parts in the engine even in winter with a cold start. The number after "W" defines the kinematic viscosity of the oil at 100 °C. The higher the number, the more resistant the oil is to extreme loads.

SAE class Borderline pumping temperature in °C Kinematic viscosity in mm²/s
0W -40 3.8
5W -35 3.8
10W -30 4.1
15W -25 5.6
20W -20 5.6
25W -15 9.3
8 - 4.0 – 6.1
12 - 5.0 – 7.0
16 - 6.1 – 8.1
20 - 6.9 – 9.2
30 - 9.3 – 12.4
40 - 12.5 – 16.2
50 - 16.3 – 21.8
60 - 21.9 – 26.0
Overview of common SAE classes
Overview of common SAE classes according to defined parameters

Specifications according to ACEA

ACEA stands for Association des Constructeurs Europeens de l'Automobile (Association of European Engine Manufacturers). It draws up the specifications for engine oils based on the strictest European test procedures. The ACEA specifications thus represent the largest common denominator of the requirements of European vehicle manufacturers for engine oils. These specifications are subdivided into sequences A, B and C. Sequence E exists exclusively for trucks. They are supplemented with numbers and thus further differentiated.

  • Sequence A - describes the requirements for passenger car gasoline engines.
  • Sequence B - describes the requirements for diesel engines in passenger cars, vans and pick-up-trucks.
  • Sequence C - Vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art exhaust aftertreatment systems (such as diesel particulate filters) require special engine oils to prevent clogging of the diesel particulate filters. Depending on the permissible proportion of the ash-forming substances sulfated ash, phosphorus and sulfur, the suitable oils are divided into Low and Mid SAPS oils and classified according to the ACEA C specification.
  • Sequence E - Describes the requirements for diesel engines for trucks.

Engine oils for passenger cars are always specified as a combination of petrol and diesel engines (e.g. ACEA A3/B3). The number after the letter describes the difference in performance of the engine oils. Higher numbers also meet higher requirements. In the following table we have summarized all ACEA specifications still valid for you.

HTHS viscosity

Modern engines require oils with reduced high-temperature viscosity. This property is summarized by the term High-Temperature-High-Shear-Viscosity (HTHS). With these oils, the viscosity is reduced at high temperatures, which reduces the friction loss in the engine. The fuel is used more effectively, which means reduced fuel consumption for the same engine output. However, engine oils with reduced HTHS viscosity only work in specially designed engines. You should therefore only fill it in if your vehicle has been approved for this by the manufacturer.

ACEA sequence Area of application/requirements
A3/B3 HTHS viscosity of ≥ 3.5 mPas, less evaporation losses, high piston cleanliness and oxidation stability
A3/B4 HTHS viscosity ≥ 3.5 mPas, meets requirements for direct injection diesel engines
A5/B5 HTHS viscosity of 2.9-3.5 mPas, other standards correspond to A3/B4
C1 Low SAPS, sulfated ash content max. 0.5%, HTHS ≥ 2.9 mPas
C2 Mid SAPS, sulfated ash content max. 0.8%, HTHS ≥ 2.9 mPas
C3 Mid SAPS, sulfated ash content max. 0.8%, HTHS ≥ 3.5 mPas
C4 Low SAPS, sulfated ash content max. 0.5%, HTHS ≥ 3.5 mPas
C5 Mid SAPS, sulfated ash content max. 0.8%, HTHS ≥ 2.6 < 2.9 mPas
E4 Based on MB 228.5, long oil change intervals, suitable for EURO III engines
E6 Recommended for EGR engines and SCR NOX engines with diesel particulate filter in combination with sulphur-free fuel, sulphate ash content ≤ 1%
E7 Recommended for EGR engines and SCR NOX engines without diesel particulate filter, sulphate ash content ≤ 2%
E9 Recommended for a variety of EGR engines and SCR NOX engines with/without diesel particulate filter in combination with sulphur-free fuel, sulphate ash content ≤ 1%

Specifications according to API

API stands for American Petroleum Institute. The API classes describe the American requirements and quality criteria for engine oils. The specification for engine oils is divided into API S and API C.

The letter "S" (Service) stands for petrol engines in passenger cars. The code letter "C" (Commercial) defines requirements for diesel engines in commercial vehicles and trucks. Passenger car diesel engines are not classified via API, as these are hardly ever used in the USA. Letters S and C are continuously added with additional letters or numbers to update the standards. Currently API SN and API CK-4 are the most modern specifications. They are backwards compatible with earlier standards.

Specifications according to JASO

JASO (Japanese Automotive Standards Organization) is an organization in Japan that defines its own oil specifications. For its part, the focus is on oils for two-stroke engines as well as four-stroke petrol engines and motorcycle engines. For example, special requirements are described for motorcycle oils used in engines with integrated transmissions (oil bath clutches). There is class JASO MA for oils recommended for oil bath clutch and class JASO MB for oils not recommended for oil bath clutches.

JASO class Engine type Operating conditions
JASO MA1 4-stroke engine Suitable for oil bath couplings
JASO MA2 4-stroke engine Higher standard than MA1
JASO MB 4-stroke engine Not suitable for oil bath couplings
JASO FA 2-stroke engine Light load
JASO FB 2-stroke engine Medium load
JASO FC 2-stroke engine Medium load and low smoke
JASO FD 2-stroke engine High load and low smoke

OEM approvals

Certain automobile manufacturers issue additional requirements to the international classifications and specifications. These are named after manufacturer-specific standards (e.g. BMW Longlife-04, MB release, Porsche A40 etc.).

VW approvals Field of application
VW 501 01 Multigrade oils for petrol engines with normal replacement interval (max. 15,000 km or 1 year) with low performance, only for older models
VW 502 00 Multigrade oils for gasoline engines with normal change interval (max. 15,000 km or 1 year) and high engine performance
VW 503 00 Obsolete, replaced by VW 504 00
VW 503 01 Obsolete, replaced by VW 504 00
VW 504 00 For petrol engines with and without Longlife-Service
VW 505 00 Multigrade oils for diesel engines with and without turbocharging
VW 505 01 Multigrade oils for pump nozzle diesel engines
VW 506 00 Obsolete, replaced by VW 507 00.
VW 506 01 Obsolete, replaced by VW 507 00, but still mandatory for some older diesel engines
VW 507 00 For DPF diesel vehicles with and without Longlife Service
VW 508 00 For modern, fuel-efficient petrol engines with and without long-life service, not backward compatible with older specifications
VW 509 00 For modern, fuel-efficient diesel engines with and without long-life service, not backward compatible with older specifications

The VW standards also apply to subsidiaries such as Audi, Skoda and Seat.

Porsche approvals Field of application
A40 SAE 0W-40, SAE 5W-40 and SAE 5W-50 engine oils for all gasoline engines except gasoline Cayenne V6 and Hybrid
C30 SAE 5W-30 engine oils for all diesel engines as well as gasoline engine Cayenne V6 and Hybrid

More information about Porsche approvals is summarized here.

Mercedes Benz approvals Field of application
MB 226.5 M 281, M 200.71 Citanium
MB 226.51 Diesel engines with particulate filter: OM 607 (passenger cars), 622 (Citan and Vito), 626
MB 228.3 Diesel engines without particulate filter: OM 640, 642, 646, 651
MB 228.5 Diesel engines without particulate filter: OM 640, 642, 646, 651
MB 228.51 Diesel engines without particulate filter: OM 640, 642, 646, 651

Diesel engines with particulate filter: OM 629, 640, 646, 651, 654, 660

MB 229.3 Petrol engines: M 122, 272, 273, 113, 132, 266, 270, 271, 274 (except 213053), 276, 278, 281, 200.71 Citanium

Diesel engines without particulate filter: OM 640, 642, 646, 651

MB 229.31 Petrol engines: M 132, 266, 271

Diesel engines without particulate filter: OM 640, 642, 646, 651

Diesel engines with particulate filter: OM 607 passenger cars, 626, 629, 640, 646, 654, 660

MB 229.5 Petrol engines: M 122, 132, 266, 272, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274 (except: 213053, 213153), 276, 278, 281, 200.71 Citanium

Diesel engines without particulate filter: OM 640, 642, 646, 651

MB 229.51 Petrol engines: M 132, 256, 264, 266, 270, 271, 274 (except: 213053)

Diesel engines without particulate filter: OM 640, 642, 646, 651

Diesel engines with particulate filter: OM 607 passenger cars, 626, 629, 640, 646, 651, 654, 660

MB 229.52 Petrol engines: M 176 in BR 222 and BR 217, 132, 256, 264, 266, 270, 271, 274 (except: 213053)

Diesel engines without particulate filter: OM 607 passenger cars, 629, 640, 646, 651, 654, 656, 660

MB 229.6 Gasoline engines: M 270, 274 (except: 213053, 213153), 276, 278
MB 229.61 Petrol engines: M 176 in BR 222 and BR 217, 256, 264

Diesel engines with particulate filter: OM 654, 656

MB 229.71 Petrol engines: M 256, 264

Diesel engines with particulate filter: OM 654

You will find all Mercedes approvals here. The correct approvals for the subsidiary Smart are listed here.

BMW approvals Field of application
BMW Longlife-01 Engine oils for selected gasoline and diesel engines (excluding DPF) from 2001 onwards
BMW Longlife-01 FE Engine oils for selected gasoline engines
BMW Longlife-04 Engine oils for selected engines with particulate filter and Euro 4 emission standard
BMW Longlife-12 FE Engine oils for selected gasoline engines from MY 2002 onwards and selected diesel engines from MY 2014 onwards
BMW Longlife-14 FE Engine oils for selected gasoline engines
BMW SAE 10W-60 Engine oils for selected gasoline engines of M-vehicles

You will learn more about BMW specifications here.

Ford approvals Field of application
WSS-M2C 913-D Otto and diesel engines except KA TDCi before 2009, Galaxy 1.9 TDi and 2.5 Duratec-ST/RS, backward compatible with M2C 913-A, -B and -C
WSS-M2C 917-A Petrol and diesel engines KA 2009 and Galaxy 1.9 TDI, meets requirements for ACEA A3/B4/C3
WSS-M2C 925-B Low-viscosity engine oil for selected gasoline engines, complies with ACEA A5/B5
WSS-M2C 934-B Diesel engines with DPF, complies with ACEA C1
WSS-M2C 937-A 2,5 Duratec-ST/RS engine, especially for Ford Focus
WSS-M2C 948-B Low-viscosity engine oil for selected gasoline engines
WSS-M2C 950-A Diesel engines of Mondeo and Focus models from MY 10/2014 up

See all Ford approvals for ADDINOL products here.

Opel approvals (GM) Field of application
GM-LL-A-025 Petrol engines until MY '11 with long change intervals, HTHS ≥ 2.9 mPas
GM-LL-B-025 Diesel engines since MY '02 with long change intervals, HTHS ≥ 3.5 mPas, also suitable for petrol and diesel engines before MY '02
dexos 2 Gasoline and diesel engines with new exhaust aftertreatment systems such as DPF from MY '10 with long change intervals, HTHS ≥ 3.5 mPas, also suitable for some gasoline and diesel engines before MY '10 (dexos 1)
dexos 1 Gen2 Special gasoline engines like 1.0L (LE1), 1.4L (LUJ), 1.4L (LE2), 1.5L (LFV) and 2.0L (LTG)

All approved engine oils from ADDINOL for Opel are summarized here.

Peugeot approvals Field of application
B71 2290 5W-30 synthetic environmentally friendly, models from Euro 5 (from ORGA/DAM 11788: see tyre pressure sticker)
B71 2295 15W-40 mineral, models from Euro 5 (from OGA/DAM 11788: see tyre pressure sticker)
B71 2296 5W-40 and 0W-30 synthetic, models from Euro 5 (from OGA/DAM 11788: see tyre pressure sticker)
B71 2300 High SAPS, based on ACEA A3/B4, PSA Level 2
B71 2312 Low SAPS, based on ACEA C1/C2

You will learn more about the Peugeot approvals here.

Renault approvals Field of application
RN0700 Production date after 08.10.2007: petrol naturally aspirated engine, E85 with naturally aspirated engine, engine K9K without DPF with maintenance interval 20,000 km/1 year, production date 01.01.2001 to 08.10.2007: Laguna III K4M, Laguna III M4R
RN0710 Production date after 08.10.2007: Renault Sport petrol, petrol engine with turbocharger, diesel without DPF, engine G9T with DPF, Clio III K4M with more than 88 kW, production date 01.01.2001 to 08.10.2007: Laguna III M9R without DPF, Laguna III F4R with turbocharger Dacia Logan, Sandero, Duster: diesel engine without DPF produced from 12.01.2009
RN0720 Production date after 08.10.2007: Diesel with DPF, production date after 08.10.2007 and before 28.05.2008: Laguna III K9K, production date after 08.10.2007 and before 08.09.2008: Kangoo II K9K without DPF and more than 73 kW, production date 01.01.2001 to 08.10.2007: Laguna III M9R with DPF Dacia Logan, Sandero, Duster: Diesel engine with DPF

The Renault standards also apply to subsidiaries such as Nissan and Dacia.

Fiat approvals Field of application
9.55535 D2 Standard engine oil for diesel engines, Euro 5 engines, 10W-40 or 15W40, HTHS > 3.5 mPas, change interval 20,000 km/1 year
9.55535 G1 Low-viscosity engine oil for gasoline engines, Euro 5 engines, 0W-30 or 5W-30, HTHS > 2.9 mPas, change interval 30,000 km/2 years
9.55535 G2 Standard engine oil for gasoline engines, Euro 5 engines, 10W-40 or 15W-40, HTHS > 3.5 mPas, change interval 20,000 km/1 year
9.55535 H2 High-performance engine oil for gasoline engines with large change interval, Euro 5 engines, 5W40, HTHS > 3.5 mPas, change interval 30,000 km/2 years
9.55535 H3 High-performance engine oil for gasoline engines, especially for Abarth models, 10W-60, HTHS > 3.5 mPas, change interval 20,000 km/1 years
9.55535 M2 Engine oil for petrol and diesel engines with large change interval, Euro 4 engines, 0W40 or 5W40, HTHS > 3.5 mPas, change interval 30,000 km/2 years
9.55535 N2 Engine oil for turbocharged petrol and diesel engines with large change interval, Euro 4 engines, 5W40, HTHS > 3.5 mPas, change interval 30,000 km/2 years
9.55535 S1 Engine oil for turbocharged petrol and diesel engines with large change interval, Euro 5 engines, 5W30, HTHS 2.9-3.5 mPas, Mid-SAPS oil, change interval 30,000 km/2 years
9.55535 S2 Engine oil for gasoline engines with large change interval, Euro 5 engines, 5W-40, HTHS > 3.5 mPas, Mid-SAPS oil, change interval 30,000 km/2 years
9.55535 Z2 High-performance engine oil for turbocharged petrol and diesel engines with large change interval, Euro 5 engines, 0W40 or 5W40, HTHS > 3.5 mPas, change interval 30,000 km/2 years

Learn more about Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia approvals here.

What you need to keep in mind:

Depending on the design, an engine has different demands on an engine oil. The oil quality and necessary replacement intervals are determined by the vehicle manufacturers in test procedures taking into account the oil filter system, metallurgy and the design of the engine components. Therefore, always follow the manufacturer's approvals and recommendations to avoid damage and to maintain warranty claims. The approvals can be found in the operating manual of your motor vehicle. An authorised workshop can also advise you in the case of uncertainty.

Contact

Sven Köhler

Product Manager Automotives / Gas Engine Oils