The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, or ACEA, unites Europe's 16 major car, truck, van and bus makers. For the European automotive industry, a baseline of engine oil specifications, known as European Oil Sequences, define the minimum quality level of service oils as defined and requested by ACEA members for use in their vehicles. On top of the ACEA European Oil Sequences, OEMs have their own specifications and distinct requirements. Once successfully tested and approved by the respective OEMs, these specific OEM approvals can be added to the ACEA claims.
In 2021, ACEA announced new updates to the light duty or PCMO category. Updates to the heavy duty or HDMO category are also expected in May 2022.
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High quality engine oils and lubricants are formulated to meet the current needs of the automotive industry. High quality lubricants are required to protect modern engines and give them the highest level of reliability. That's why ACEA regularly updates its specifications. The last PCMO update has been published in 2021 and includes multiple changes.
- A3/B3 removed; alternative recommendations are A3/B4
- A7/B7 introduced as an upgrade for oils with a conventional chemical box. It includes the same performance testing as for C6 (except fuel economy).
- C1 removed; C6 introduced to provide additional performance for today’s engine technology. It addresses fuel economy, LSPI protection, engine chain wear protection and turbocharger deposit control
ACEA has specified the ASTM D4739 test method for Total Base Number (TBN) measurement in the new oil categories. ACEA believes that this test method results in more meaningful TBN.
New testing requirements:
- Turbocharger Compressor Deposits (TCCD)
- LSPI (Sequence IX)
- Chain Wear (Sequence X)
- Fuel Economy (JASO FE)
Test phase out and replacement:
- Low temperature sludge: Sequence VH replaces Sequence VG.
- Piston deposits: VW TDi3 replaces the VW TDi2 test to match newest engine technology.
- Engine sludge: Daimler M271 EVO test has replaced M271 Classic Sludge.
- Valve train wear: sequence IVB replaces the already obsolete TU3 engine wear test.
These changes highlight the importance for all industry stakeholders to keep offering products that meet the requirements of current vehicle fleets, while developing new lubricants that will keep up with the evolution of engine hardware – the main reason for the introduction of new ACEA oil categories.
Watch our new ACEA oil requirements video series. A virtual conversation with our Oronite experts, sharing insights on Oronite's solutions that meet the latest ACEA PCMO category requirements and more:
A/B category including the new A7/B7
The ACEA A/B categories are designed for high performance gasoline and light duty diesel engines and provide the minimum performance required for many OEM specifications. The ACEA A/B categories are considered conventional oils and are full sulfated ash, phosphorus and sulfur (SAPS) formulations to ensure maximum engine performance and engine protection.
For vehicles without after-treatment systems, it is common to have full SAPS oil recommendations as these vehicles do not use advanced emission systems, which are sensitive to high SAPS levels. A/B oils are also suitable for regions outside of Europe, for markets with lower fuel quality requirements. Lower fuel qualities (e.g., higher sulfur levels) can contribute to higher Sulfur Oxide (SOX) levels and particulate matter emissions, where some SOX emissions can be converted in the atmosphere to sulfate particulate matter. The reactive nature of such components can be better controlled by A/B oils with higher SAPS levels to include higher TBN that reduces degradation of the lubricant. Higher SAPS levels of engine oils are directly related to the additives and additive levels used in engine oils that are providing desirable performance properties including detergency and wear and oxidation protection.
The ACEA 2021 update introduced a new A7/B7 category. It provides additional performance against A5/B5 on LSPI protection, engine chain wear protection and turbocharger deposit control. Contact us to learn more about Oronite's PCMO products.
Automotive industry trends and governmental regulations are resulting in lower SAPS levels in automotive engine oils. Over the past decades, new car models have been subjected to increasingly more stringent exhaust emission limits. Modern clean cars combine low CO2 emission with low particulate emissions to meet the latest European regulations. To achieve those goals of lower CO2 and particulate emissions, modern cars, gasoline and diesel, are equipped with aftertreatment systems to eliminate most particulate and Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) emissions. To ensure compatibility with aftertreatment devices, the SAPS limits of lubricants have been significantly reduced as they can negatively influence the performance of aftertreatment devices.
In addition to the conventional A/B categories, the ACEA European Oil Sequences also includes C categories. ACEA C category oils are stable, stay-in-grade engine oils with mid SAPS-level, intended for use as a catalyst compatible oil in vehicles with all types of modern aftertreatment systems. The ACEA C categories were first introduced in the 2004 edition of the ACEA European Oil Sequences. ACEA C3 oils are high tier lower SAPS lubricants designed for use in high performance gasoline and light duty diesel engines with advanced after treatment systems. Contact us to learn more about Oronite's PCMO products.
To meet the continued demand for reduced emission and better fuel economy made by the European Union (EU) requirements, oil has also a significant role to play. ACEA introduced its C5 category within the ACEA 2016 specifications. This C5 category involves very low viscosity (high-temperature, high-shear (HTHS) minimum 2.6 mPas) engine oils, providing improved fuel economy. These mid SAPS oils are compatible with aftertreatment devices and intended for use in highly loaded direct-injection gasoline and diesel engines. In addition to delivering high fuel economy, this C5 specification includes additional tests, such as a test to ensure high oxidation stability and compatibility with bio-fuels.
European OEMs have also introduced high fuel economy specifications based on the C5 claim. In most cases, they have added more requirements to protect their newest, highly loaded, engine technology to meet the legislative lower emissions and better fuel economy targets. These additional lubricant requirements include tests to avoid low speed pre-ignition (LSPI), such as in Daimler MB 229.71, and ensure long-drain protection and excellent deposit control as in BMW LL17FE+. Contact us to learn more about Oronite's PCMO products.
With continued emphasis on CO2 and emissions reduction the OEMs are introducing more advanced and sophisticated engine technology. This results in increased power density and higher operating temperatures which can cause oils to degrade sooner, thicken faster, and make them more prone to form deposits. Especially in hot running parts like the piston ring pack and turbochargers, which means modern lubricants need to offer improved performance on cleanliness and oxidation stability.
The ACEA 2021 update introduced a new C6 category.
C6 based oils provide additional performance needed for today’s modern engine technology. Next to fuel economy and lower viscosities from the C5 category, it also provides LSPI protection, engine chain wear protection and turbocharger deposit control. Contact us to learn more about Oronite's PCMO products.
Per ACEA 2016 Oil Sequences, the claims for heavy duty diesel engine lubricants are E4, E6, E7 and E9. The table below provides a brief overview of the applications of these lubricants. New updates are expected to be released in May 2022.
euro I to euro V trucks
In some countries, a large percentage of the truck fleet are Euro III trucks or older. The selection of appropriate lubricants for Euro III trucks and older, which are not fitted with DPFs, is mainly guided by the desired drain interval and/or total maintenance cost objectives. Contact us to learn more about Oronite's HDMO products.
euro VI trucks
To lubricate Euro VI trucks having sequential exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and diesel particle filter (DPF) technology, either E9 lubricants or E6 lubricants for extended oil drains capabilities can be used. Lubricants combining E6/E9 offer a more universal set of OEM approvals. These top-tier lubricants combine API with ACEA specifications and carry OEM approvals as well.
In Europe, fuel economy legislation will be enforced in 2025. However, fuel economy has been the main purchasing factor for fleet owners for many years so, OEMs are compelled to develop competitive trucks. Contact us to learn more about Oronite's HDMO products.