Bob Is The Oil Guy Q&A: GF-6 and Low Viscosity Engine Oil
• Richard Dixon, Pennzoil Technology Manager
• Eric Kalberer, Shell Global Product Application Specialist
• Sean Nguyen, Pennzoil Scientist and Technology Specialist
a. From GF-5 to GF-6, there are no regulatory change requirements in additive composition. For example: the required minimum level of Phosphorus remains the same at 0.06 % mass with a maximum of 0.08% mass. However, with the introduction of Low Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI) protection in the new GF-6 category, analysis will likely show some elemental differences, reflecting the fact that GF-6 products must provide LSPI protection. Decreasing levels of Calcium detergent and increasing levels of Magnesium detergent are likely to be observed.
a. GF-6 will introduce 7 new engine tests and 1 modified test to measure fuel economy and ensure lubrication and protection of modern engines. The tests cover the areas of oxidation, deposit resistance, wear protection, sludge and varnish protection, fuel economy, corrosion protection, LSPI and chain wear protection. The additional modified test was designed to measure fuel economy benefits for motor oils with SAE 0W-16 or lower in viscosity; called the Sequence VIF. The performance requirements for the motor oil have increased, almost completely across the board.
b. As for equivalent to ACEA, there are some similarities and some differences in their “High SAPS” (ACEA A5/B5) and “Low SAPS” (ACEA C5) categories to the GF-6 specification. There is also a planned introduction of the new category ACEA A6/B6 and C6 in 2020. These new categories will include similar LSPI, chain wear, turbocharger deposit protection tests and other tests specific to European standards. The Low SAPS product will limit the amount of Sulfated Ash & Phosphorus in the formula.
a. Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI) is an abnormal combustion phenomenon observed at low engine speeds in which the fuel/air mixture in the combustion chambers ignites before spark timing. LSPI can cause engine knock, broken spark plugs and cracked pistons, and in severe cases, catastrophic engine failure. The industry accepted test is known as the Sequence IX and should have an ASTM test designation number by the end of 2019. It utilizes a 2012 Ford 4 cylinder, 2.0L TGDI engine that includes pressure sensors in the cylinders and a crank-angle encoder to characterize combustion cycles. The test has been designed to evaluate a lubricant’s ability to protect against the LSPI phenomenon.
a. The new GF-6 category is a replacement for GF-5 which will become obsolete. You should care because the category has been split into two pieces: GF-6A and GF-6B. GF-6A is backwards compatible and is a direct replacement for the existing GF-5 category. GF-6-B includes the new 0W-16 viscosity grade and will not be backwards compatible to cover previous GF specifications. As always, you should follow the manufacturer’s oil recommendation and specification for the correct type of motor oil to use.
a. GF-6 oils do not affect oil drain intervals. Always follow your owner’s manual for the recommended oil drain interval. It is always worth checking with your vehicle’s manufacturer to see if there are any service advisories issued. Always work from the latest information.
a. Shell Lubricants recently announced in early April 2019 that our Pennzoil Platinum line of motor oils are GF-6 ready and plan to have GF-6 products on shelves (and via digital retailers) by May 1, 2020. This will follow with the rest of our product portfolio later during the year. As of now, we expect to have the following products approved for GF-6 (by May 1, 2020): Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Platinum® High Mileage motor oils. As a technology leader, Pennzoil was delighted to be the first in the industry to announce GF-6 readiness.
a. With the introduction of GF-6 category, new engines had to be incorporated into the test methods to represent modern engine technology while still protecting current vehicles on the road today. The new GF-6 standards have tighter limits that have raised performance requirements to qualify vs the former GF-5 standards. In fact, two new wear tests have been developed for GF-6. The first, known as the Sequence IVB test, was developed based on a modern Toyota engine to measure general engine and valve train wear. The second, known as the Sequence IX test, was developed on a Ford engine to measure timing chain wear.
a. As a premium product, Pennzoil Platinum meets both GF-6 and dexos1 generation 2 specifications. Reformulations take into account both specifications and ensure we meet both.
a. You should not see any detriment using the new GF-6 category motor oil. With regards to Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ moving to GF-6, we will provide information in due course. Stay tuned.
a. GF-6 did not adopt any changes to shear stability requirements or lower the ability for the oil to maintain viscosity grade after shear vs the GF-5 category.
Pennzoil Platinum 0W-16
a. If your engine calls for a 0W-16 motor oil, it is designed to give you optimal fuel economy benefit with the required protection for the life of your oil drain. Using a thicker oil where a 0W-16 is recommended may reduce the efficiencies seen in using the correct SAE viscosity grade. Additionally, it may slow the delivery of motor oil to critical engine components at start-up and in extreme operating temperatures. However, an engine that recommends a higher SAE viscosity grade should not use an SAE 0W-16 motor oil. Again, always follow the recommended SAE grade recommended by your engine manufacturer.
a. Currently we do not have plans to produce Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 0W-16. However, Pennzoil Platinum SAE 0W-16 is currently available and was first to be introduced to the North American market in May of 2018.
a. If your vehicle calls for an SAE 0W-20 motor oil, we do not recommend using a 0W-16. It is the wrong viscosity grade and may not properly protect your engine. 0W-16 should only be used where 0W-16 is recommended. We recommend following your engine manufacturer’s recommendation for proper engine SAE grade oil.
a. For engines that call for SAE 0W-16 and lower, wear protection will be critical for engine durability. Thus, motor oil must be designed to give you a balance of wear protection and performance. Pennzoil Platinum SAE 0W-16 is specifically formulated, for engines calling for a 0W-16, to give you complete protection including unsurpassed wear protection, piston cleanliness, horsepower retention, performance in extreme temperatures and improved fuel economy benefit while still backed by our 10-year, 300K miles engine protection warranty (www.pennzoil.com/warranty)
a. Changing detergent additive from Calcium to Magnesium has no effect in protection from wear or performance. We balanced our Pennzoil Platinum to give you complete engine protection and still backed by our engine protection warranty (www.pennzoil.com/warranty)
a. Motor oil specification changes due to the demand created by newer engine technology, material changes and legislation. Thus, it follows that newer test methods and tighter limits are required. However, with most category changes, it also requires that these new oil specifications must be backward compatible for previous specification and protect older vehicles that are still on the road today.