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Fuel Efficient Oils To The Fore

by Digital Mayne Media

The drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has led to increasingly complex lubricant requirements.

Vehicle manufacturers globally are required to reduce vehicle emissions to comply with stricter legislation. Reducing the volume of fuel a vehicle uses is an effective method of meeting these lower emissions targets.

One method of reducing fuel usage is to specify the use of lower viscosity lubricants. Oils which are designed for fuel efficiency exhibit a thinner film of oil in critical areas of the engine such as the ring/liner interface and journal bearings. This thinner film makes for less resistance and therefore lower fuel use.

An ongoing challenge that confronts market leaders like Castrol is developing and delivering products that can support OEM’s in their pursuit of these fuel economy gains, without sacrificing engine performance or reliability.

To cater to the new technical demands placed on lubricants, 2020 saw both API (American Petroleum Institute) and ILSAC (International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee) evolving their latest petrol standards with the introduction of two new specifications – API SP and ILSAC GF-6 – each delivering enhanced performance benefits over their predecessors.

One key area that both API SP and ILSAC GF-6 seek to provide assurance around is Low Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI) which is increasingly a concern in today’s smaller turbocharged petrol direct injection engines. In the case of ILSAC GF-6, this involved the addition of specific LSPI testing criteria (Ford LSPI test) vs. ILSAC GF-5, with the test differentiating between oils that minimize its occurrence and those that may contribute to it.

Beyond this, more demanding testing and standards apply, focused on wear, sludge, oxidisation and fuel economy, with three new tests and four upgraded tests being added to the criteria for ILSAC GF-6 approval.

Of note with ILSAC GF-6 is that for the first time, the specification will be split into two sub-categories – GF-6A and GF-6B depending on the oils viscosity grade and high temperature high shear (HTHS) viscosity requirements.

ILSAC GF-6A (or more commonly referenced as simply GF-6) will replace the current GF-5 specification in market. Being backwards compatible, it is approved for use where OEM’s call for older specs such as ILSAC GF-5 or ILSAC GF-4.

In the case of ILSAC GF-6B, this specification meets all the same performance criteria of GF-6A but has a lower HTHS specification. It is applied to the SAE 0W-16 viscosity grade and will not be backwards compatible to earlier ILSAC specifications due to the change in HTHS specification.

API SP includes all ILSAC requirements, while at the same time providing performance requirements for oils that do not fall under ILSAC-member recommendations. API SP is backward compatible to all prior API petrol standards.

To meet the demands of today’s latest vehicles – including downsized turbo engines prone to damage caused by LSPI – Global lubricant leader Castrol has developed an extensive portfolio carrying these emerging specifications.

Castrol MAGNATEC Professional DX 5W-30, Castrol MAGNATEC FUEL SAVER DX 5W-30 and Castrol MAGNAETC 5W-30 products have already been tested and approved to both API SP and ILSAC GF-6 specifications. These oils provide peace of mind for both workshops and drivers with the latest specification and intelligent molecules to provide engines with instant protection from the moment they start.

In addition to these products, Castrol has recently added a new advanced full synthetic product to the portfolio: Castrol EDGE 0W-20 C5. Carrying API SP and ILSAC GF-6 specifications and formulated with Fluid TITANIUM, this lubricant has broad application across late model vehicles with an extensive range of additional Industry and OEM Approvals including: ACEA C5, Chrysler MS 6395, GM dexos1™ Gen 2, MB-Approval 229.71, Fiat 9.55535-CR1, Fiat 9.55535-GSX, Ford WSS-M2C947-A and Ford WSS-M2C947-B1.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, hybrids are becoming increasingly prominent on Australian roads but present unique operating characteristics and challenges that need to be met head-on.

One such challenge is that engines in hybrids only run when required, often only during urban driving where they are operating for a short period of time before shutting down again. Because of this, over the typical life of a hybrid vehicle, the number of stop-start events may be as up to 10x more than a conventional car.

Urban driving – where the hybrid engine isn’t necessarily running – means the operating oil’s temperature can be up to 40oC cooler than in a conventional vehicle. However, with highway driving where the hybrid engine is required for a longer period, the oil can reach temperatures equivalent to that of a normal car.

This requires a lubricant that can effectively protect a hybrid engine over a wide range of operating temperatures. To help address these challenges, Castrol has recently launched a new full synthetic engine oil – Castrol MAGNATEC Hybrid 0W-16 – that delivers improved oil flow at low temperatures. When combined with Castrol MAGNATEC’s intelligent molecules, Castrol MAGNATEC Hybrid 0W-16 dramatically reduces engine wear (as tested in the industry sequence IVA test) and protects even while driving when the oil temperature is low.

Carrying the latest API SP and ILSAC GF-6B specifications, Castrol MAGNATEC Hybrid 0W-16 is suitable for use in range of automotive hybrid petrol engines including the likes of the MY20 Toyota Yaris Hybrid.

Castrol once said that oils ain’t oils, and with the push into even lower viscosity products and the continued evolution of specifications, it’s never been more true!

For more information visit www.castrol.com

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