Specifications are important as these indicate the performance of the oil and whether they have met or passed the latest tests. There are two important specifications: American Petroleum Institute (API, read our blog about this category here) and Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles (ACEA). All high(er) quality oils should contain at least one of these!
ACEA does not certify oils, nor license, nor register, compliance certificates. However, ACEA recommend to register and self-certify their products on ACEA website. This is the European equivalent of API (US) and is more specific in what the performance of the oil actually is. There are three main categories for passenger cars: A = Petrol, B = Diesel and C = Catalyst compatible with low/mid SAPS (Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur). As for heavy duty, it is the category E = Heavy Duty.
There are different ACEA sequence issues; 2008, 2010, 2012 and now since the First of December 2016, the latest one, which is now the active one. Unlike API the ACEA specs are split into performance/application categories as follows:
A/B category is for vehicles without any after treatment devices such as DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) or SCR (Selective Catalyst Reduction). The sequence C is for vehicle with these after-treatment devices, which are sensitive to the type of chemistry used. Therefore, this latter needs special chemistry, with low or Mid SAPS oils.
In the 2016 new sequence, we have seen some changes in the full SAPS category A/B: underused A1/B1 disappeared. The biggest change is in the
C category, with the appearance of a new category, C5, more focused on the fuel economy with lower viscosity SAE xW20 and lower HTHS (below 2.9).
For Heavy Duty vehicles there is the “E” specification which is suitable for Heavy Duty applications including for buses and transport.
With the new 2016 sequence, no fundamental changes were added to the E category, some CEC tests still need to be finalized.