API Begins 2021 Monitoring Program

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The American Petroleum Institute announced the start yesterday of the 2021 cycle of its Aftermarket Audit Program, saying that it aims to once again test up to 1,300 engine oil samples drawn from around the world to monitor their compliance with API and ILSAC specifications.

Officials said the COVID-19 pandemic initially slowed the collection of samples last year but that the organization ended up collecting a similar number. Those samples are still being tested, so the Washington, D.C.-based industry group did not yet have information to share about the results.

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API has conducted the program since 1992 to monitor compliance of passenger car and heavy-duty diesel engine oil marketers that have been approved for meeting API standards as well as those of the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee. The program gathers samples of licensed products from retail points around the world and then conducts a variety of tests to check their compliance with the requirements of those specs.

All samples undergo tests for viscosity, high-shear viscosity, cold cranking performance, pumping ability, volatility, total base number and chemical additive profile. Tests for properties such as foam control, corrosion prevention and shear stability are performed on 10%-33% of samples.

If samples fail one or more tests, then those tests are repeated for verification purposes. API informs licensees of products not meeting requirements and works with them to correct the causes. If marketers fail to satisfy the organization that problems have been addressed, licenses can be revoked.

“While uncommon, there have been cases over the years of licenses being cancelled for cause as a result of the AMAP program,” said Jeffrey Harmening, manager of API’s Engine Oil Licensing & Certification System.

The coronavirus pandemic has not dampened interest in API and ILSAC specifications, which are developed for the North American automobile market but are followed in nations around the world. The industry organizations introduced new specs in 2020 – API SP and ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B – and this led to a record number of licensed products, more than 27,000. “These API-licensed products comprise the offerings of 883 licensed marketers, also a record,” Harmening told Lube Report. “At present, about 40% of these are from North America, while another 27% come from APAC countries.”