New engine oil categories making the grade

SANTA BARBARA, CA - A new generation of engine oils is in the North American market, passing a battery of tests developed for specific engine brands. But the work of convincing buyers about related features and benefits continues. The transition from CJ-4 to CK-4 and fuel-efficient FA-4 categories has essentially been seamless, says Dan Arcy, Shell Lubricants' global OEM technical manager, referring to formulas that were officially released in December. The chemistry was driven by ongoing calls for longer drain intervals, better fuel economy, lower emissions, and increasing horsepower, after all. And these are hardly the engine oils that have flowed through pumps in years gone by. Oxidation stability had to improve to handle higher under-hood temperatures. When oil oxidizes, it becomes acidic and thickens, Arcy explained during a media briefing in California this week. At the very least, that shortens potential oil drain intervals.