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Monday, 15 June 2015

OEM’s Switching To SAE 16 Motor Oil.

Switching to SAE 16 motor oil is driven by the need to improve fuel economy.

In North America switching to SAE 16 motor oil will enable manufacturers to achieve future CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. Currently fuel economy is 34.9 mpg, in 2016, this requirement will go up to 37.8 mpg; and by 2025, all vehicles and light-duty trucks sold in the United States will have to post 54.5 mpg, nearly doubling today’s mileage standard.

Manufacturers achieve CAFE standards by switching to SAE 16 motor oil.

Thin oil shows less inner friction and thereby reduces the overall friction in the engine therefore switching to SAE 16 motor oil reduces the ecological footprint of internal combustion engines.

Companies such as Honda are switching to SAE 16 motor oil and driving the new GF-6 [thin] oil. Fuel economy and direct injection engines with turbochargers are pushing this. These engines have smaller displacements.

In Europe, you have 1.8 litre engines in E-Class Mercedes. That is a pretty small engine, and traditionally found in small compacts such as the Golf. But you now have these small displacement engines in mid-sized vehicles. These high-tech engines that produce very specific outputs are seeing OEM’s switching to SAE 16 motor oil.

Since 2013 most manufacturers are switching to SAE 16 motor oil on new engines.

On April 1, 2013 the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) first introduced SAE 16. Intended as a high temperature viscosity grade it's not 16W just simply 16 or SAE 16. This is the lowest high temperature SAE engine oil viscosity grade yet, replacing SAE 20 in this role. Switching to SAE 16 motor oil is another step towards motor oils providing improved fuel economy and such oils will most likely be developed into even lower viscosity ranges. There’s already working committees discussing SAE 8 and 10!

SAE 16 oils are specified as 0W16 and 5W16 engine oils and are only suitable for use in an automotive range of oils where the engine is designed to operate with such a low viscosity oil. Just as with 5W20 and 0W20 oils switching to SAE 16 motor oil in older engine designs won’t be possible, since it would not provide sufficient wear protection.

The number 16 itself does not have a special meaning it does not point at any specific oil property, it is only the name of the viscosity grade. SAE decided to choose a number that breaks the must-be-divisible-by-5 rule to avoid any mix-up with the winter viscosities when switching to SAE 16 motor oil. SAE 15 would have been easy to confuse with 15W.

With the introduction of low viscosity SAE 16 oils the limit on 100 °C viscosity for SAE was changed from 5.6 cSt to 6.9 cSt minimum. SAE 20 oils didn't make use of this interval so far and the limits for SAE 16 partially extend to this segment. For an oil to be of SAE 16 viscosity grade its viscosity on 100 °C must be between 6.1 and 8.2 mm2/s and its HTHS viscosity must be at least 2.3 mPa*s.

The official SAE viscosity grades are now 0W, 5W, 10W, 15W, 20W, 25W, 16, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60. SAE is considering introducing the 12, 8 and 4 viscosity grades when demanded by the car manufacturers. This also outlines the likely trend toward lower viscosity oils: oils will become ever thinner but their advanced chemistry must make sure that they still provide the same or better protection as their older, thicker counterparts did.

This is placing unique challenges on oil blenders as switching to SAE 16 motor oil has to meet stringent specifications. While increased fuel economy throughout the oil change interval is the objective it’s important that the oil retains it’s robustness, protection against low-speed pre-ignition, improved wear protection for ‘idle stop’ engines and reduced aeration over the entire oil change interval.

With more and more manufacturers switching to SAE 16 motor oil it’s important that you choose only high quality engine oils, such as that produced by Habot Oil. Habot Oil have an extensive range of mineral and synthetic engine lubricants, to suit most requirements.