What shops need to know to prepare for new diesel oils CK-4 and FA-4 Private Motor Carrier

What shops need to know to prepare for new diesel oils CK-4 and FA-4

By Kevin Ferrick, Senior Manager for Engine Oil Licensing, API


Fleets and shops will need to be ready for two new diesel engine oils arriving in the market on December 1: API CK-4 and API FA-4. API CK-4 oils will succeed the current CJ-4 engine oils as the backward compatible diesel oils. Backward compatible means CK-4 may be used where CJ-4, CI-4 with CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, CH-4, and earlier service categories are recommended. FA-4, on the other hand, is a new arrival intended for engines built beginning with the 2017 model year. Preparation should start now.

CJ-4 oils have been around for 10 years and are overdue for an upgrade. CK-4 will provide improved shear stability, oxidation resistance, and aeration control over CJ-4 in the familiar SAE 15W-40 and 10W-30 viscosity grades. FA-4 will provide similar protection to CK-4 oils, but in lower viscosity grades to meet the needs of next-generation diesel engines being built for the 2017 model year and onwards. FA-4 oils will meet the same performance measures as CK-4 but will also help increase fuel economy in engines designed for the lower viscosity FA-4 grades. Key improvements to the new oils include the following:

Shear Stability – Shear stability is the resistance of oil molecules to shearing or breaking down under extreme stress inside the engine. Shear causes oil to decrease to a lower viscosity, and excessive viscosity loss could affect how well the oil can protect the engine. CK-4 and FA-4 oils with have improved shear stability compared to CJ-4 oils.

Oxidation Stability – Oil oxidation is one of the main reasons for oil breakdown and it occurs more readily under higher engine operating temperatures. With many newer engines running hotter, CK-4 and FA-4 standards deliver improved oxidation stability versus CJ-4 oils.

Aeration – Aeration is the entrainment of air bubbles in the oil, which can limit the ability for oil to cool and protect the engine. Newer engines with higher operating temperatures and pressures can increase the amount of air trapped in oil. As oil is more regularly used as a hydraulic fluid for valve-train actuation, this task can be compromised by aerated oil. CK-4 and FA-4 oils provide greater protection against aeration.

Fuel Economy – You may have heard of the term High Temperature High Shear (HTHS) as the new oils were being developed. CK-4 oils are being called “High HTHS” engine oils because their viscosities are the same as those found in CJ-4 oils. In contrast, FA-4 oils are being called “Low HTHS” oils because their viscosities are lower. These Low HTHS oils have been developed to provide engine manufacturers with a tool that will help them meet more stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions requirements.

With some new diesel engines requiring FA-4 oils, fleets, shops and technicians may have to learn how to manage CJ-4, CK-4, and FA-4 oils in their shops. Here are four things you can look out for to ensure the new oils are being installed as recommended.

Engine Requirements – FA-4 oils may not be recommended for all new engines, so be sure to check with engine manufacturers about which engines are supposed to use FA-4 oil.

Bulk Tanks – Replacing CJ-4 with CK-4 should be a simple transition because CK-4 is backward compatible and an improvement over CJ-4. You can still carry CJ-4 oils in drums if you want to keep some on hand.

Dispensing Oil – All dispensing equipment should be properly labeled with product name and viscosity grade to prevent misapplication.

Education – Technicians should be made aware of the changes to oil categories and requirements for each.

To help technicians and consumers differentiate between the two new oils, API developed a special Service Symbol Donut. The new FA-4 donut features a shaded section that sets it apart from the traditional Donut being used with API CK-4.

Visit www.dieseloilmatters.com for more information about the new API CK-4 and FA-4 service categories for on- and off-highway vehicles and equipment.