Understanding the 2021 Update for ACEA’s European Oil Sequences for Light-Duty Engines

Understanding the 2021 Update for ACEA’s European Oil Sequences for Light-Duty Engines

Aug 5, 2021
Posted by Yash Naik, Product Manager, Engine Oils, Joanne Jones, Technology Manager, Engine Oils, Mat Cole, Test Engineer, Mechanical Testing

This article highlights the key takeaways from our recent Understanding the 2021 Update for ACEA’s European Oil Sequences for Light Duty Engines webinar, part of our Lubrizol360 Webinar Series featuring Lubrizol experts discussing important industry trends.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), which represents a group of 15 European car, van, truck and bus manufacturers, has a long history of defining and advocating for the common interests, policies and positions for the European auto industry. They collaborate to set baseline standards that all vehicles must meet to be sold in the European market.

Lubricants are no exception, and lubricant manufacturers and marketers must heed these standards (also known as sequences) to make protection claims for their products. These standards are frequently updated to ensure the adequate protection for vehicles as engines technology changes.

Instead of releasing all the standards at once, ACEA decided to release the general and light-duty sequences first. On May 1, the new ACEA light-duty standards  went into effect. This webinar examined why ACEA updated their standards, what the new standards are and what new tests are in place to ensure that future lubricants meet these standards.

Why the Updates Now?

ACEA updated its light-duty lubricant sequences because the past five years have seen significant changes to the lubricant needs of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Increased regulations throughout the world are currently focused on reducing emissions and improving engine performance, and lubricant needs have evolved with them.

Lubricants now must enable modern engine technologies like gasoline direct injection (GDI), turbocharging and changing combustion strategies. They must also reflect the increasing performance needs of passenger car engines that have been designed to deliver greater levels of fuel economy and reduced emissions.

ACEA does not take its responsibilities lightly. After all, their work not only defines the minimum quality of oils for European original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), their requirements are also increasingly being adopted in global markets. As such, lubricant manufacturers must contend with new stringent testing before they can make certain claims about how their lubricants perform in the real world.

The Real World Effects

To reflect the evolving engine technology, two low-end categories of lubricant classification are going away completely:

  • A3/B3 in the high Sulfated Ash, Phosphorus, and Sulfur (SAPS)
  • C1 in the low SAPS lubricants

In addition to removing two categories, two new categories are being added to the classification roster:

  • High SAPS lubricants will see the addition of category A7/B7
  • Low SAPS lubricants will see the addition of category C6

For legacy lubricants, most manufacturers will see little impact on existing product lines, as existing product lines are able to meet ACEA 2021 requirements for the legacy ACEA categories (A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4 and C5) using their existing test data from the former tests. To bring new technology into the legacy ACEA categories, lubricant manufacturers are like to have to test their products in the new replacement tests as hardware for former tests is limited. This will result in significant performance upgrades for the new products.

Finally, to bring technology to the market in the new categories (A7/B7 and C6), lubricant manufacturers will have to submit their technology to replacement and new tests to be considered for the classifications. In most cases, it will mean entirely new formulations for manufacturers, and any new technology will have to prove its efficacy in preventing low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI) events. New Engine Tests Following are the new engine tests:

While the OM646LA biodiesel test has been removed from ACEA 2021 Light Duty Oil Sequences, biodiesel compatibility is still assessed as CEC L-109 Oil Oxidation with Biodiesel laboratory test is still required. In addition, OEMs can still retain the OM646LA biodiesel test in their own specifications.

Our View

ACEA’s new light-duty lubricant requirements are designed to adapt to changes in engine technology, whether those are advances in performance or new legislative pressures on emissions. Lubricant manufacturers are responding to recognized issues, future-proofing the test criteria and anticipating changes in fuel mixtures that could be coming. But most importantly, lubricant manufacturers are laser-focused on preventing component failure in the field—and these new regulations will help make that happen.

For more information about the updated ACEA light-duty lubricant regulations and how Lubrizol believes that it will change the lubricant market worldwide, download the webinar slides here, or contact your Lubrizol representative today.

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