In the process of examining motor oils now entering the market with the new API SP/ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B credentials, PQIA has observed a few brands on the store shelves with labels that omit the letters “A” or “B” following the ILSAC Standard GF-6 declaration. PQIA brings this to the attention of the lubricants industry because technically there is no stand-alone ILSAC GF-6 standard. Instead, GF-6 includes two separate performance standards:
- ILSAC GF-6A which covers SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 0W-30, SAE 5W-30, and SAE 10W-30
- ILSAC GF-6B which covers only SAE 0W-16
Where ILSAC GF-6A is backward-compatible to previous categories, GF-6B (SAE 0W-16) is not.
Although very few OEMs currently recommend the use of an SAE 0W-16 with API SP/ILSAC GF-6B credentials, neglecting to show the A or B suffix after the GF-6 could be a source of confusion as demand for SAE 0W-16 grows.
One could argue that by way of the motor oil’s viscosity and display of the “API Shield,” it could be interpreted the product must meet the ILSAC GF-6B standard. A consumer, however, following the guidance in their owner’s manual and looking for ILSAC GF-6A or GF-6B on the label may not find it on the motor oil of their choice.
Similar confusion may come into play for installers whether purchasing products from a marketer or providing information to a customer. If the motor oil label or documentation does not have an “A” or “B” claim following the “ILSAC GF-6” designation, questions may arise.