Among other things, low-viscosity engine oils are used to reduce internal friction in the engine. Many manufacturers favour the SAE viscosity 0W-20 here. A market share of over 10% for these low-viscosity engine oils is already forecast for 2021. ACEA has taken this trend into account with a new engine oil specification ACEA C5.
While the current generation of engine oils, usually in the viscosity class SAE 5W-30, could still be used for older vehicles up to a year of construction at the end of the 1990s, depending on the type of engine oil, the new oils in the viscosity classes SAE 0W-20 and SAE 5W-20 are not considered to be backwards compatible. Engines must have special design features so that they can withstand the use of such low-viscosity engine oils without damage. Surface coatings on the pistons help to generate better emergency running properties. The changeover from friction to roller pairings in the valve train helps to minimise the wear caused by the thin lubricating film, and the use of higher surface qualities and lower installation clearances help to ensure that the lubrication gap can also be completely filled by these thin engine oils.
Therefore, the engine oils may only be used in engines whose design is also intended for this purpose. The Volkswagen Group, for example, has coloured its new engine oil (VW 508 00/ 509 00) bluish-green so that there is a visual difference to the previous engine oil (VW 504 00/ 507 00) and incorrect filling can be avoided as far as possible. A chemical marker in the oil formulation enables VW to detect incorrect filling of older engine generations.
For new vehicles, it is therefore imperative to check the service documents in advance and ensure that a vehicle is suitable for the use of such low-viscosity engine oils. The following specifications/approvals, for example, indicate suitability:
VW Group: VW 508 00/ 509 00
BMW/ Mini: BMW Longlife 14 FE+/ Longlife 17 FE+
Fiat/Alfa Romeo: Fiat 9.55535-DSX
Ford: WSS M2C948-B/ M2C952-A1
Jaguar/Land Rover: STJLR.51.5122
Jeep: MS 6395/ Fiat 9.55535-CR1
Renault/Dacia: RN17 FE
Volvo: VCC RBS0-2AE
Asian manufacturers: API SN-RC/ ILSAC GF-5
(Without claim to completeness)
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