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Demystifying Motor Oil Specifications: Understanding ILSAC GF-6, API SP, and dexos

In the face of challenging conditions, your vehicle’s engine demands top-tier performance from its motor oil. The latest oil specifications, such as ILSAC GF-6, API SP, GM* dexos1 Gen 2, Gen 3, and dexos R, have been introduced to meet these heightened requirements. Today’s advanced engine technologies, including turbochargers, direct injection, and VVT systems, exert significant stress on engine oil. To ensure optimal protection and efficiency, these cutting-edge developments necessitate the implementation of more stringent oil standards in the form of these updated specifications.

Understanding ILSAC GF-6, API SP, and GM* dexos Specifications for Automotive Lubricants

AMSOIL 0W-20 100% Synthetic Hybrid Motor Oil

Contemporary motor oils like ILSAC GF-6, API SP, and GM* dexos must pass an LSPI (Low-Speed Pre-Ignition) test to meet the latest standards. General Motors* was the pioneer in this endeavor, mandating that oils pass its proprietary LSPI test. The GM* dexos1 Gen 2 specification took effect on August 31, 2017. Subsequently, in 2021, GM* introduced the dexos1 Gen 3 specification to address the challenges posed by smaller, high-powered engines. In 2022, GM* launched the new dexos R motor oil specification, catering to 0W-40 and 5W-50 oils designed to withstand the rigors of high-speed and high-load scenarios typical of high-performance driving. Currently, this specification applies exclusively to high-performance engines found in Corvettes* and Camaros*.

These cutting-edge engines, characterized by high power density, forced induction, multi-point fuel injection, cylinder deactivation, and advanced emissions systems, are driving the need for more advanced lubricants. The engine technologies employed in modern high-performance vehicles are pushing boundaries, necessitating a motor oil capable of safeguarding components operating continuously under extreme heat and high-load conditions.

The latest American Petroleum Institute (API) specification, API SP, and the newest International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) specification, GF-6, share significant similarities. While both prioritize wear protection, prevention of Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI), and enhanced engine cleanliness, a key distinction lies in their compatibility levels. ILSAC has taken a pioneering step in the passenger car motor oil market by introducing a bifurcation in its specification, dividing it into GF-6A and GF-6B. Notably, GF-6B incorporates a more stringent fuel economy test compared to GF-6A.

AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-16 100% Synthetic Motor Oil.
AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-16 100% Synthetic Motor Oil

Identifying engine oils that comply with these ILSAC standards is facilitated by the presence of the API emblem on the packaging. The GF-6B specification is distinguished by a shield emblem, while a traditional starburst signifies a GF-6A product. It is worth noting that both GF-6A and GF-6B specifications align with the industry-standard API SP specification, which is prominently featured in owners’ manuals as a recommended standard.

The United States is working towards achieving an average of approximately 40 miles per gallon across its vehicle fleet by 2026, following the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. To meet these regulatory requirements, the automotive industry has pivoted its focus to embrace the use of smaller, highly fuel-efficient engines. In fact, a large portion of new vehicles now come equipped with advanced technologies like gasoline direct-injection (GDI), turbochargers, or a combination of both (T-GDI). This shift towards more efficient engine designs highlights the industry’s commitment to enhancing gas mileage and reducing overall fuel consumption in response to evolving environmental standards.

In challenging situations, the performance of compact and efficient engines, which can match the power output of larger engines, may be significantly impacted by the harsh operating conditions they encounter. This can lead to the occurrence of severe engine knock, elevation in temperatures beyond optimal levels, potential issues with fuel injectors, as well as accelerated wear and the buildup of deposits when the lubricating oil utilized fails to meet the necessary requirements.

AMSOIL Extended-Life 10W-40 100% Synthetic Motor Oil.
AMSOIL Extended-Life 10W-40 100% Synthetic Motor Oil

Cracked Pistons and Bent Rods: Understanding LSPI’s Destructive Impact

LSPI, also known as Low-Speed Pre-Ignition, is a critical issue that can lead to significant damage to your engine components, specifically the pistons and connecting rods. This phenomenon occurs when the fuel/air mixture ignites spontaneously before the spark plug initiates the combustion process. Stemming from the early era of internal combustion engines, LSPI poses a modern challenge akin to engine knock.

Typically observed in scenarios involving low speed and high torque, such as during acceleration from a stationary position in T-GDI engines, LSPI disrupts the engine’s timing by causing the premature ignition of the fuel/air mix. The forceful combustion that results collides with the ascending piston within the cylinder, potentially causing severe harm to the pistons or connecting rods. It is essential to address and mitigate the factors that contribute to LSPI to safeguard the longevity and performance of your engine.

Intelligent Engine Protection: Leveraging Motor Oil Innovations to Prevent LSPI

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Motor Oil is a critical component in preventing Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI) in vehicles. LSPI is believed to occur due to the presence of oil/fuel droplets or deposits in the cylinder chamber, which ignite prematurely while the piston is ascending. These droplets and deposits retain enough thermal energy to set off the air/fuel mixture before the planned spark-triggered ignition occurs.

Research indicates that the formulation of motor oil significantly influences the occurrence of LSPI. Certain additives in motor oil formulations can inadvertently promote LSPI, while others aid in reducing it. While one might be inclined to consider increasing the additives that combat LSPI, it is noteworthy that some of these additives are intentionally minimized or excluded from motor oil formulations for various valid reasons.

Therefore, choosing the right motor oil with a balanced composition is crucial in mitigating LSPI and ensuring optimal engine performance and longevity.

Oil engineers are confronted with a complex and demanding balancing act within the realm of scientific advancements. When it comes to motor oils designed for vehicles, the expectations are high. These oils are required to deliver exceptional wear protection, withstand the elevated temperatures generated by modern turbocharged engines, prevent the formation of harmful deposits, and effectively combat low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI). The true measure of success lies in the overall performance of the complete oil formulation, rather than just excelling in isolated components.

AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil: Meeting API SP and ILSAC GF-6 Standards

In rigorous evaluations benchmarked against GM*’s stringent dexos1 Gen 2 standard, the AMSOIL Signature Series not only met but surpassed expectations by providing an unparalleled 100% shield against LSPI. For more in-depth insights and specifics, feel free to refer to the accompanying image below.

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AMSOIL’s cutting-edge synthetic motor oils are meticulously crafted to meet and surpass the most up-to-date industry benchmarks, including ILSAC GF-6, API SP, GM* dexos1 Gen 2 and Gen 3, and dexos R. Our synthetic motor oils are tailored to accommodate engines that necessitate any of these precise specifications, ensuring optimal performance and protection.

Additionally, the renowned AMSOIL Signature Series sets the bar even higher by exceeding GM*’s dexos1 Gen 2 standard. This exceptional series of motor oils outperforms expectations, delivering unbeatable quality and reliability that truly elevate engine performance. Take a closer look at the detailed information provided in the image below to truly understand the unparalleled excellence of AMSOIL’s Signature Series.

In 1972, AMSOIL 10W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil proudly achieved the historic milestone of becoming the world’s first synthetic motor oil to meet the stringent service standards set by the American Petroleum Institute. Since that groundbreaking moment, our unwavering commitment has been to meticulously craft innovative lubricant blends that deliver unparalleled protection and peak performance for all your machinery and vehicles. With a steadfast dedication to excellence, we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in lubrication technology, ensuring that our customers receive nothing but the best for their equipment’s maintenance needs.

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*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use.

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