Understanding the VW 50400/50700 Approval_black car on road

Understanding the VW 50400/50700 Approval

Understanding the VW 50400/50700 Approval

Jul 23, 2020

Topics: Passenger Cars

Not all engine lubricants are the same. Selecting an approved lubricant can protect one of the most valuable assets many of us often take for granted.

It can sometimes be tempting to take passenger vehicles for granted, expecting them to provide years of trouble-free service throughout their lifetime. Regular servicing and maintenance is imperative, as is the need to use high-performing lubricants in line with the requirements of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

Engine lubricants are designed to keep the internal components of the engine clean, lubricated and cool, as well as ensure the moving parts are protected from wear and damage by minimizing metal-on-metal contact. They also play a vital part in delivering increased fuel economy and reduced emissions.

As a result, the need to use the correct engine lubricant to satisfy the individual demands of the vehicle has never been more important.

The ACEA Oil Sequences prescribe the minimum quality level of service-fill oils demanded by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) members for use in their vehicles. ACEA 2016 is the current engine oil sequence required to ensure the engine lubricants used in service-fill satisfy the demands of increasingly advanced engine hardware and aftertreatment systems.

OEMs understand the vital role the lubricant plays, often going way beyond the ACEA baseline when publishing their own service-fill engine lubricant specifications. This provides the end user with the added assurance of using a higher-performing engine lubricant which has been designed specifically to work in harmony with their vehicle’s engine and aftertreatment system.

One of the most established and highly regarded OEM approvals is the VW 50400/50700 lubricant standard, published by the Volkswagen (VW) Group. Here we look in detail at some of the challenges and severe testing that modern engine oils must withstand, in order for oil marketers to gain this demanding approval.

VW has an excellent understanding of the benefits of appropriate lubrication, and its lubricant approval program is amongst the most demanding and severe test schedules in the automotive industry. The process of gaining VW 50400/50700 certification begins with ACEA C3 approval, including 1,397 hours of testing on eight engines. Lubricants must demonstrate a minimum high temperature high shear (HTHS) viscosity of 3.5 cP and reduced levels of Sulphated Ash, Phosphorous and Sulfur (SAPS) for aftertreatment compatibility, plus durability, cleanliness and soot handling requirements.

Following ACEA testing, the oil advances to PV tests—a sequence of assessments ranging from fuel economy performance to corrosion protection. Encompassing 1,402 hours within eight VW specific tests, the PV testing regime includes the severe Radio Nucleonic Test (RNT).

Once this level of proof of performance has been provided, VW can then acknowledge that a lubricant is worth testing in their formal ‘Baumusterprufung’ approval test program. The Baumusterprufung program is the oil’s final trial, specifically designed to evaluate the lubricant’s performance against specific VW engine characteristics. This includes at least 16 engine tests with lubricants put through a minimum of 10,000 hours vigorous testing, ensuring that any passed lubricant can deliver effective performance and component protection. The latest revisions to the VW 50400/50700 specification include more stringent engine tests, compatibility with biofuel, as well as low temperature pumpability for the ACEA C3 baseline requirements.

Our View

The complexity of achieving the VW 50400/50700 specification demonstrates the importance the Volkswagen Group continues to place on this highly-demanding and globally recognized specification. A genuine VW 50400/50700 approved lubricant ensures the highest level of engine performance and component protection. 

For the end user, this confirms an approved VW 50400/50700 lubricant has been designed to perform efficiently throughout its lifetime; protecting one of the most valuable assets many of us often take for granted.

For more information, please contact your Lubrizol representative.

For a deeper dive into specifications, see the Lubrizol Ready Reference Guide, the industry's go-to resource for understanding fuel and lubricant performance principles and requirements. 

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