All about Oil Print

Basic Engine Oil Info

Excerpts from Castrol Website

The oil used in your car has two primary ingredients: base oil and additives. The base oil allows the motor oil to perform its vital function - lubricating the engine’s moving parts to protect them against wear and tear caused by friction. The additives provide additional engine protection by helping to prevent the oil from deteriorating under the engine’s extreme temperature conditions.

The base oil is refined from crude (oil in its natural state when pumped from the ground). The crude must undergo a variety of refining processes before yielding base stock suitable for use in engine oil. Undesirable components such as wax, sulphur and nitrogen compounds must be removed. Unsaturated hydrocarbons must be extracted or converted into more stable molecules.

Crude is first separated by vacuum distillation into a series of fractions or viscosity ranges. The fractions intended for base oil production are processed further using various combinations of refining processes.

Check out this Castrol basic oil information webpage for a discussion of the various processes such as 'hydrotreating', 'solvent extraction', 'hydrocracking'. Knowing these terms will help you better understand the terms used in engine oil product sheets.

Oil Base Stocks

Oil base stocks are divided into five general categories, as defined by the American Petroleum Institute (API):
  • Group I - Conventional - Mineral oil derived from crude oil
  • Group II - Hydroprocessed - Highly refined mineral oil
  • Group III – Severe hydroprocessed - Ultra refined mineral oil
  • Group IV – Polyalphaolefins (PAO)
  • Group V - Other base stocks not included in Group I, II, III, or IV (e.g. ester-based oil)

Groups I, II and III base stocks are derived from crude oil, differentiated by various levels of processing. Groups IV and V are base stocks chemically synthesized from other sources such as ethylene gas.

Some important points to remember about base stocks and product labeling:

  • It has been common practice for manufacturers to label their products based on Group III as "Fully Synthetic" even though the base stocks are made from crude oil.
  • Group IV or V based synthetic oil is not necessarily better than Group III based oil. The additives (anti-wear, anti-oxidant, detergent, etc.) that manufacturers use play an integral part in the overall quality of engine oil. Some Group III based 'fully synthetic' oil can and do outperform some Group IV or V products.
  • The term "Semi-Synthetic", "Synthetic Blend" or "Synthetic Technology" are marketing words that do not indicate how much synthetic oil vs mineral oil a manufacturer puts in its product. A semi-synthetic oil may contain half, or even just 5% synthetic base stocks and still be called semi-synthetic.
  • Mineral oil technology has improved greatly over the years. Most of today’s API SL or SM rated oil, and ACEA certified oil will outperform the best oil, mineral or synthetic, produced two decades ago.

Making sense of a jungle of oil terms and acronyms

Oil Viscosity (SAE Grade)

Excerpts from Castrol Website

Oil thins when heated and thickens when cooled. Choosing the proper motor oil viscosity grade for the ambient temperature of your geographic location is therefore vitally important.

In a monograde oil the motor oil viscosity is defined at only one temperature, either high or low. A multigrade must keep a viscosity that will protect the engine effectively at both high and low temperatures.

This makes multigrades an easy and popular year-round choice for drivers who experience hot summers and harsh winters. Multigrades are easily recognized by the dual viscosity rating (i.e. 10W-30 where the 10W is the low temperature or winter designation and the 30 is the high temperature designation). It is the motor oil viscosity modifier additive that produces a thickening effect at high temperatures but is dormant at low temperatures.

Oil is graded by viscosity, which by definition is the physical property of a fluid’s resistance to flow. Viscosity is only one part of the equation in choosing the correct oil. The SAE viscosity grade DOES NOT involve testing other chemical properties and more importantly, performance.

API Service Categories and ACEA Oil Sequences

In the 1960s, the American Petroleum Institute (API) established standards and certifications on engine oil. The API categories do involve performance and chemical tests. So to simplify it a bit, while the SAE grade specifies the most basic oil property which is viscosity, the API rating describes its quality. API tests include but are not limited to:

  • anti-wear tests
  • evaporation loss
  • viscosity change
  • shear stability
  • deposit and sludge resistance
  • anti-foaming performance
  • chemical limits of various substances

Oil containers have marks of SG/CD, SL/CF, SM/CF and so on. The S categories are for gasoline engines, while the C are for diesel. The latest standards are SM for gasoline and CI-4/CJ-4 for diesel. The categories are rated alphabetically, meaning an SM oil has been tested to meet the latest performance standards, so presumably has much better quality than an SG oil. SH was adopted in 1992, SJ in 1997, SL in 2001, SM in 2004.

ACEA ratings are the European counterpart of the API service categories, with slightly different requirements and tests. ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Europeens d’Automobiles) was formed by European car manufacturers to try to standardize test requirements for oil approval. Engine oil is classified by ACEA according to similar tests as the API. For gasoline engines (A) and light duty diesel engines (B), the current classifications are A1/B1, A3/B3, A3/B4, and A5/B5.

For further reading, please check the official API and ACEA publications:

API 1509, Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System - 133 pages describing API service symbols tests and requirements
ACEA European Oil Sequences 2007 - 15 pages describing ACEA tests and requirements

or search for more information in the API’s or ACEA’s respective websites:

API Engine Oil Publications
ACEA Publications

An important thing to understand is that both API and ACEA classifications DO NOT care what base stock is used, whether it’s mineral or synthetic. It is the performance in their tests that matter.

Locally Available Engine Oil Products

Below is a list of locally available engine oil products and their current prices. We will continue to expand the list and update the information as we gather them.
Last updated 2/27/2011. Please visit this page often.

Brand Product Grade Type Base Oil
Group
Application Price/liter
(typical)
Ratings Viscosity (cSt) Data Sheets
API ACEA 40°C 100°C Index PDS MSDS
Shell Helix Ultra E 5W-30 Synthetic III Gasoline P 660 SL/CF A3/B3/B4 68.2 12.2 ?
Helix Ultra 5W-40 Synthetic III Gasoline P 660 SM/CF A3/B3/B4 74.4 13.1 ?
Helix HX7 5W-40 Semi-synthetic II/III Gasoline P 330 SM/CF A3/B3/B4 82.5 14.4 ?
Helix Plus 10W-40 Semi-synthetic II/III Gasoline P 330 SL/CF A3/B4 92.1 14.4 ?
Helix Super (yellow) 20W-50 Mineral II Gasoline P 204 SL/CF A2 157 19.0 137
Helix (red) 20W-50 Mineral I/II Gasoline P 166 SG/CD - 145 17.8 136
Helix Diesel Plus 10W-40 Semi-synthetic II/III Diesel P 282 CF A3/B4 95 14.9 165
Helix Diesel Super 15W-40 Mineral II Diesel P 199 CF B2 ? ? ?
Rimula X 15W-40 Mineral II Diesel P 189 CH-4 E3/E5 115 14.3 125
Rimula D 15W-40 Mineral II Diesel P 163 CF-4/SG - 104 14.0 136
Rimula C 15W-40 Mineral I/II Diesel P 137 CD/SE - 100 14.5 149
Rotella X SAE-40 Mineral I/II Diesel P 132 CC/SE - 139 14.4 100
Caltex Havoline Fully Synthetic 5W-40 Synthetic III Gasoline P 694 SM/CF A3/B3/B4 87.5 14.5 173
Havoline Semi-Synthetic 10W-40 Semi-synthetic II/III Gasoline P 388 SL/CF - ? ? ?
Havoline Formula 20W-50 Mineral II Gasoline P 252 SL/CF - 174 19.1 125
Havoline SF 20W-40 Mineral II Gasoline P 185 SF/CD - ? ? ?
Delo Sports 15W-40 Semi-synthetic II/III Diesel P 432 CH-4/SJ E3 112 15.1 140
Delo Gold Multigrade 15W-40 Mineral II Diesel P 231 CH-4/SL E3 115 15.1 137
Castrol Edge 5W-40 Synthetic III Gasoline P 680 SM/CF A3/B3/B4 ? ? ?
Magnatec 10W-40 Semi-synthetic II/III Gasoline P 290 SM/CF A3/B3 102 14.5 149
GTX 20W-50 Mineral II Gasoline P 220 SM/CF - ? ? ?
GTX Diesel 15W-40 Mineral II Diesel P 210 CH-4 - ? ? ?
CRB Turbo 15W-40 Mineral II Diesel P 170 CF-4 - ? ? ?
Mobil Mobil 1 0W-40 Synthetic IV Gasoline P 870 SM/CF A3/B3/B4 78 14.0 186
Mobil 1 5W-50 Synthetic IV Gasoline P 740 SM/CF A3/B3/B4 105 17.4 184
Super 2000 X2 10W-40 Semi-synthetic II/III Gasoline P 470 SM/CF A3/B3 92 14.4 154
Super S Plus 10W-40 Semi-synthetic II/III Gasoline P 470 SM/CF A3/B3 95.8 14.5 ?
Super 1000 X2 15W-40 Mineral II Gasoline P 210 SM/CF A3/B3 109 14.5 136
Super XHP Plus 15W-40 Mineral II Gasoline P 210 SM/CF A3/B3 109 14.5 136
Special 20W-50 Mineral I/II Gasoline P 175 SG/CD - ? ? ?
HD SAE 40 Mineral I/II Gasoline P 170 SE/CC - ? ? ?
Delvac 1 5W-40 Synthetic III/IV Diesel P 800 CI-4+/SL E7/E5 102 14.8 151
Delvac MX 15W-40 Mineral II Diesel P 225 CI-4/SL E7 117 15.5 140
Delvac 1340 SAE 40 Mineral I/II Diesel P 180 CF/SF - 146 14.6 99
Delvac 1140 SAE 40 Mineral I/II Diesel P 170 CD/SF - 146 14.8 98
MOTUL 300V Le Mans 20W-60 Synthetic V Gasoline P 1,150 - - 170 23 162
300V Competition 15W-50 Synthetic V Gasoline P 1,150 - - ? ? ?
300V Power 5W-40 Synthetic V Gasoline P 1,150 - - 81 13.8 176
300V Power Racing 5W-30 Synthetic V Gasoline P 1,150 - - 65 11 162
300V High RPM 0W-20 Synthetic V Gasoline P 1,150 - - 40 8.0 177
8100 X-cess 5W-40 Synthetic V Gasoline P 750 SL/CF A3/B3/B4 83 14.0 173
H-Tech 100 10W-40 Synthetic V Gasoline P 495 SL - ? ? ?
H-Tech 100 5W-30 Synthetic V Gasoline P 495 SL - ? ? ?
Specific BMW LL-01 5W-30 Synthetic V Gasoline P 820 - - 73 12 161
Specific MB 229.5 5W-30 Synthetic V Gasoline P 820 - - ? ? ?
Specific CDRi Diesel 10W-40 Synthetic V Diesel P 620 CI-4/SL B4 ? ? ?
Petron Ultron Race 5W-40 Synthetic III Gasoline P 643 SL/CF A3/B3/B4 93.7 15.1 ?
Ultron Rallye 10W-40 Semi-synthetic II/III Gasoline P 350 SL A2/A3/B2/B3 94.9 14.3 ?
Ultron Touring 20W-50 Mineral II Gasoline P 218 SL A2/A3/B2/B3 157.5 18.0 ?
Ultron Extra 20W-40 Mineral I/II Gasoline P 172 SF/CC - ? ? ?
Rev-X All Terrain 5W-30 Synthetic III Diesel P 459 CH-4 E4/E5 74.3 12.1 ?
Rev-X Trekker 15W-40 Mineral II Diesel P 202 CI-4 E2/E4/E5 116 15.1 ?
Rev-X Hauler SAE-40 Mineral II Diesel P 179 CF/SF - 139 14.5 ?
Rev-X HD SAE-40 Mineral I/II Diesel P 147 CC/SD - 138 14.5 ?
Red Line Red Line 5W30 5W-30 Synthetic V Gasoline P 650 * SM/CF - 62 10.6 162
Red Line 10W30 10W-30 Synthetic V Gasoline P 650 * SM/CF - 70 10.7 142
Red Line 5W40 5W-40 Synthetic V Gasoline P 650 * SM/CF - 94 15.1 170
Red Line 10W40 10W-40 Synthetic V Gasoline P 650 * SM/CF - 93 14.6 164
Red Line 15W50 15W-50 Synthetic V Gasoline P 650 * SM/CF - 138 19.6 162
Red Line 20W50 20W-50 Synthetic V Gasoline P 650 * SM/CF - 148 19.8 155
Red Line 15W40 Diesel 15W-40 Synthetic V Diesel P 650 * CJ-4/SM - 97 14.5 155
TOTAL Quartz 9000 SM 5W-40 Synthetic III Gasoline SM/CF A3/B3 87.3 14.2 169
Quartz 7000 SM 15W-50 Semi-synthetic II/III Gasoline P 316 SM/CF A2/B2 147 19.0 148
Quartz 5000 SM 20W-50 Mineral II Gasoline P 238 SM/CF A2/B2 158 16.8 114
Quartz 3000 20W-50 Mineral I/II Gasoline P 147 SF/CC - 154 17.0 119
Quartz 2500 SAE-40 Mineral I/II Gasoline P 154 SF/CD - 150 15.5 100
Rubia XT 15W-40 Mineral II Diesel P 200 CF-4/SH E2 169 18.8 125
Rubia C SAE-40 Mineral I/II Diesel P 199 CD/SF - 155 15.5 100

* price per quart (946 mL)
Disclaimer: The above information is only provided as a guide. We do not guarantee its accuracy. Ratings and viscosity data are gathered from product packaging and data sheets when available. Base Oil type is inferred from both product and material safety data sheets. Data for Royal Purple, ENEOS and others to follow shortly. Please e-mail us if you have any questions, comments, additions or corrections about the data on this page. Last updated 2/27/2011. Please visit this page often.

Our Recommendations

  • Follow the viscosity grade recommended by your vehicle owner’s manual.
  • For gasoline engines, use an API SL or SM rated oil. The SL service category was adopted by the API in 2001, and SM was adopted in 2004.
  • For diesel engines, use an API CI-4, CI-4+, or CH-4 rated oil. The CH-4 was adopted by the API in 1998, and CI-4 in 2004.
  • If using semi-synthetic or mineral oil, change the oil at most every 5,000 km or 6 months, whichever comes first.
  • If using synthetic oil, change the oil at most every 10,000 km or 1 year, whichever comes first. Regardless of what your vehicle manufacturer says about extended oil change intervals (i.e. 24,000 km for late model BMWs), it is best to stay on the safe side of changing your engine oil more regularly. If you insist on following an extended oil change, please go ahead. We’ll be glad to sell you more bottles of Auto-Rx when your mechanic gives you the news that your engine is sludged.
  • Always use high-quality oil filters, preferably OEM-supplied or from a proven manufacturer.
  • Check your oil level every week.
  • Do a full Auto-Rx clean-and-rinse cycle every 40,000 km to remove deposits and maintain engine cleanliness. You can also do the Maintenance Plan of adding 90 mL (3 fl. oz.) of Auto-Rx at every oil change to keep your already treated engine clean.

Compatibility with Auto-Rx

  • You can use any oil with Auto-Rx, whether synthetic or mineral-based. However, we recommend using Group II or Group III oil during the clean and rinse phases for more effective results.
  • If you want to start Auto-Rx treatment immediately but have just changed your oil to a Group IV synthetic (Royal Purple, most Mobil 1) or Group V synthetic (Red Line, MOTUL 300V and 8100), just pour Auto-Rx into your engine but extend the clean phase to 5,000 km. Use a Group III synthetic for the rinse phase.