The global passenger car engine oil market is increasingly complicated. Oil marketers are required to maintain portfolios which protect an ever-expanding array of vehicle needs; shifting vehicle parc ages, hardware evolutions, maintain performance requirements against Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and industry specification whilst also aligning to government and environmental legislation such as emissions reductions.
Given the demands placed on this market, lubricants being created typically fall into one of three main tiers in performance and testing:
- OEM Approved
These passenger car engine oils will have undergone full OEM testing and approval meaning they have the highest level of testing and lowest levels of risk in the market space. It is possible for these oils to be sold under any brand and they are not limited to being OEM branded products.
- Meets Performance
These passenger car engine oils are supported by some testing but are not formally approved by the OEM. This could mean they have been through the equivalent testing as OEM approved, but there could also be some areas of testing which have not been completed. As such, these engine oils can be thought of as having mid-to-high levels of testing and a medium risk level.
- Suitable For Use (SFU) / Fit For Purpose
These passenger car engine oils represent the highest risk for oil marketers and retailers. They typically have minimal or insufficient testing meaning limited or no proof of OEM performance can be given. Formulations will often have been made using significant judgement meaning they have potentially never been through engine testing.