GF-6 Coming Jan. 2017


The first licensing date for GF-6, the next passenger car engine oil upgrade, has been delayed until January 2017, according to several industry sources. The reason cited is delays in engine test development.

Originally, the automotive industry had requested that GF-6 oils be widely available for consumers by January 2016, to coincide with increased fuel economy limits being introduced by the U.S. government. However, heavy-duty engine manufacturers also proposed a diesel oil upgrade, called PC-11, targeting it for the same time frame and for similar reasons. Both categories are slated to include multiple new engine test procedures. GF-6 alone will have basically all new or revised engine test protocols, for example.

Get alerts when new Sustainability Blog articles are available.


Many lubricants industry stakeholders, especially the additive companies who work through the American Chemistry Council, had cautioned that the need to simultaneously develop two engine oil categories requiring up to a dozen new and revised engine tests, as well as managing updates to any other test procedures, was likely to put too much stress on the oil category development process. That prediction has again proven correct.

The auto industrys International Lubricants Standards Advisory Committee first asked for a new passenger car engine oil category back in November 2011. At that time, ILSAC had requested that GF-6 be ready for licensing by the American Petroleum Institute by Jan. 1, 2015. That would have allowed for full commercial introduction of the new oils by January 2016.

By August 2012, however, the timing for first licensing had shifted to Jan. 1, 2016, because no one in the industry wanted to have any overlap in technical demonstrations for the new oils. Also, API typically asks for a one-year waiting period between first licensing and mandatory use of a new oil category, to assure a level playing field for all candidate products.

In December 2012, GF-6s first-licensing date was pushed back again, this time to September 2016, due to delays in developing new and revised tests and to accommodate the increasing workload for PC-11 development.

After a report this summer by a new Test Development Readiness Task Force, the Auto-Oil Advisory Panel that is developing the passenger car engine oil category again moved the timing, now to Jan. 1, 2017.

This task force was established in June, and includes representatives of Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Toyota, as well as the two independent test laboratories Intertek and Southwest Research Institute. The task forces objectives are to manage the progress of test development and precision matrix preparations. The task force is to monitor all test development timelines; review all preparations for precision matrices; and report on the installation of test stands at matrix laboratories, test stand verification testing and matrix hardware procurement. It also will be helping to draft test procedures.

The Test Development Readiness Task Force is expected to provide a single report on the progress of all test developments at the Auto-Oil groups meetings, focusing on progress and timing.

GF-6 will require at least three completely new tests: a Timing Chain Wear Test being developed by Ford; a Low Speed Pre-ignition Test, also from Ford; and a Chrysler Oxidation Test. Separately, GM is developing an oxidation test as well to replace the Sequence IIIG engine test, but doesnt plan to place it under ASTM management.

In addition, GF-6 will have a revised Sequence VG/H test for control of engine deposits and a revised Sequence IVB (now sponsored by Toyota) to measure valvetrain wear. Theres also a revised Sequence VID test for demonstrating fuel economy improvement, sponsored by GM and using an engine of more modern vintage than the current test.

When all of these changes are coupled with the development work going on for PC-11 on the heavy-duty engine oil side, it is obvious that timing and availability of space, people and funds will be at a premium.

Related Topics

Finished Lubricants    North America    Region    U.S.A.