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What is the new ILSAC GF-6 engine oil specification?

ILSAC GF-6, a new lubricant specification will be released by the ILSAC (International Lubricant Specification Advisory Committee) in May 2020. As the successor of the ILSAC GF-5, the GF-6 will be a new industry standard and will be backwards compatible with the previous standards. This means that a GF-6 oil can be used in an engine that previously was using a GF-5 oil, as the GF-6 is simply a higher standard for the oil’s properties. However, much older engines may not be compatible with newer oils.

The benefits of the new standard is that it will ensure that the oil aids the engine in providing better fuel economy and less smoke emissions, which is more environmentally friendly and also cost-efficient. According to Infineum Insights, “OEM requirements for more robust oils to protect their latest engine designs, along with a need for lubricants to offer a greater contribution to fuel economy are two of the key performance requirements that were highlighted in the ILSAC Needs Statement for GF-6.” GF-6 oils are also expected to improve wear and deposit control of the engine, as well as protect against timing chain wear. Finally, oils that are GF-6 standard provide more protection against LSPI (Low Speed Pre-Ignition).

There are a few differences between regular pre-ignition and low speed pre-ignition. Pre-ignition is when the gasoline/air mixture prematurely ignites without a spark from the sparkplug. It is often recognizable by a “knocking” sound in the engine, particularly during the acceleration phase. The choice of engine oil or lubricant was never thought to affect this phenomenon or alleviate it in any way. However, low speed pre-ignition occurs in small, highly turbo-charged engines at low revolutions and heavy loading. It produces a “screaming” sound and is often very damaging or even fatal to the engine. Unlike pre-ignition, there seems to be a relation with the composition of the used lube oil, where in the Calcium derived from the detergents present in the additive package seems to play a major role. Oils that comply with the new ILSAC GF-6 specification are meant to prevent this from occurring.