Mexico to Revamp Motor Oil Standards


Mexico to Revamp Motor Oil Standards
Traffic approaches the border in Tijuana, Mexico. © J.A. Johnson / Shutterstock

The Mexican government is preparing to publish new national engine oil standards that are modeled on those in the United States and which would replace its own antiquated standards.

Publication of the proposed NOM-116-SCFI-2018 standards are now pending, Mexico’s Economic Ministry told Lube Report, after which industry representatives will be able to submit observations and comments over the next 180 days. Following an evaluation of the merits of comments, the standards will officially become law.

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According to Wards Auto, Mexico has approximately 39 million passenger cars on the road, 72 percent of which use gasoline and 28 percent of which run on diesel. The average age is 12 years for light vehicles and 18 for commercial trucks. Mirroring other regions of the globe, older and obsolete lubricants coexist with current specs.

Currently, about 60 percent of passenger cars in Mexico use oils that meeting the American Petroleum Institute‘s API SN or API SM specifications, while approximately 27 percent use API SJ and API SL. About 3 percent use API SH and SF, which API has declared obsolete.

For the country’s heavy-duty trucks, slightly more than half run on API CI-4 and CJ-4 oils, followed by CF and CF-2, which API deems obsolete, with a combined 32 percent of demand volume. About 10 percent of heavy-duty vehicles use API CK-4 and FA-4, APIs most recent heavy-duty oil sequences.

“The use of lubricants not recommended by automakers results in detriment to end users, the environment and energy consumption,” the legislation reads.

NOM-116 have stricter performance demands than Mexico’s existing standard for avoidance of oil degradation control of and tailpipe emissions oil drain intervals.

The proposed standard would also require proof of oil compliance for usage in gasoline and diesel motors. From a technical standpoint, the new rules also require evidence of compliance with API, ACEA standards and original equipment manufacturers specifications.

Lubricant additive supplier Afton Chemical Corp. was part of a 37-member consulting committee made up of governmental, commercial chambers, universities, industries and companies, including automotive, chemical, lubricant, additives and Pemex.

“Lubricant manufacturers and importers will be audited to verify compliance with requirements and quality systems certifications,” a spokesperson at Afton Chemical said. Products may be sampled from warehouses to run analytical tests on eight properties related to viscosity and physical or chemical parameters.

NOM-116 creates Mexican categories that correspond to API specifications. For gasoline-powered vehicles, those categories range from GJ, which covers vehicle model years 2001 and older, to GN, which covers the latest model years. The API equivalents are SJ through SN. The proposed diesel categories are DF, DF-2, DF-4, DG-4, DH-4, DI-4, DI-4 Plus, DJ-4, DK-4 and DFA-4, aligning with APIs CF, CF-2, CF-4, CG-4, CH-4, CJ-4, CK-4 and FA-4. API has declared CG-4 and earlier categories obsolete. Mexico’s proposal would eliminate obsolete specs after three years, at which point API CH-4 would become the minimum diesel spec.

NOM-116 requires the same eight ASTM methods used by API: the D-4684 test for low-temperature pumping viscosity; the D-5293 test for apparent viscosity; D-445 and D-7042, kinematic viscosity at 100C; D-2270, viscosity index; D-5800, Noack volatility; D-892, foam test; D-2896, base number; and D-4951 and D-5185, phosphorus content.

Companies without API-approved lubricants will be subject to random sampling in their warehouse or blending facility or during the product importing process to check for the above tests.

The new rule was slated for publication in the first quarter of 2019 and was expected to be enforced by the end of the year. The Ministry declined to discuss the reason behind the delay.