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ACEA oil sequences update

what’s changing for light and heavy duty?

As you probably know, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association or ACEA, the trade group representing the top 15 European automotive OEMs, has announced plans to publish new oil sequences in 2021. But you may still wonder:

First, a bit of context. The European Union has some of the world’s strictest regulations on fuel economy and vehicle emissions. Automotive OEMs have had to make significant changes in engine design to meet these standards, including reducing engine sizes, adding turbochargers to maintain power, and introducing Direct Injection (DI) to boost fuel efficiency.

These changes in engine design create a tougher environment for engine oils, with more intense power density and higher operating temperatures. Modern engine lubricants must be formulated to deliver optimal performance under these pressures. That is the chief driver for the new ACEA specifications – to ensure full protection for the newest generation of engines on the market.

Unlike previous updates, the ACEA has decided this year to stagger the releases of the new oil sequences for gasoline and Light Duty Diesel Engines (LD) and Heavy Duty Diesel Engines (HD). The new LD oil sequences were released in April 2021, with the new HD oil sequences expected later this year. Current ACEA 2016 sequences will expire two years after launch of the new oil sequences, after which oils based on the 2016 standards can no longer be marketed.

Now, let’s look at the LD and HD categories one by one.

new ACEA light duty oil sequences

Key changes to watch

ACEA plans to further specify the ASTM D4739 test method for Total Base Number (TBN) in the new oil categories. ACEA believes that this test method results in more meaningful TBN.

New testing requirements:

Test phase out and replacement:

ACEA light duty sequences overview

Chart depicting ACEA light duty laboratory and engine tests

new ACEA heavy duty oil sequences

Key changes to watch

New testing requirements:

Daimler has developed a successor for the Mercedes-Benz OM501LA test based on the OM471 engine. This test primarily focuses on piston cleanliness, liner and valve train wear and oil oxidation in the latest Euro VI engine technology. ACEA intends to introduce the OM471 as a CEC approved test. This test primarily targets the higher performance oil categories E8, F8, and eventually E4. Plans calls for tests to assess piston cleanliness performance categories E7, E11, and F11.

The development of the two new low soot wear bench tests (LSWT) targeted for F8 and F11 has been delayed. ACEA has postponed the release of these new oil categories. Eventually, ACEA must find an alternative solution for testing wear resistance in low viscosity oils. The current plan is to release the new ACEA HD Oil Sequences without the oil categories F8 and F11.

ACEA heavy duty sequences overview

Chart depicting ACEA heavy duty laboratory and engine tests

the oronite view: how these changes affect current and future products

Light Duty: The magnitude of the ACEA 2021 LD sequence changes will vary depending on the category. However, we see some general implications for current and future lubricant development:

Heavy Duty: As with the Light Duty release, the extent of changes in ACEA 2021 HD sequences depends on the category:

keeping up with evolving standards

The step-up performance demands of the new ACEA 2021 release underscores the need to bring products to market that meet the standards of The European Engine Lubricant Quality Management System (EELQMS). Avoid using crankcase lubricants with unsubstantiated claims that do not follow Industry Codes of Practice and lack adequate supporting data. Although ACEA claims are self-certified, any ACEA claim requires the oil marketer to sign a Letter of Conformance with EELQMS quality standards.

All 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.

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