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Publishers Letter


The proof is on the table. SA oils damage vehicle engines and lead to increased emissions.

In a report dated Nov. 8 but circulated just last month, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (including BMW, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, GM, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota and VW) compared obsolete API SA engine oil with API SL, the current category when the testing was conducted. The oils were put through two standard engine tests: the ASTM Sequence IVA, a low-temperature valvetrain wear test, and the Sequence VG test for sludge and deposits.

No surprise: the SA oil failed every test.

Robert Stockwell of General Motors points to some signi?cant ?ndings, such as ?lter clogging with SA oil: When the pickup tube plugs, oil starvation will occur on startup, and the engine will be destroyed. Further, the extreme scuf?ng indicated on ?ve camshaft lobes in the SA [valvetrain wear] test indicates that the life of this engine would be short, regardless of the oil change interval.

Its long past time for this industry to stop marketing SA and SB oils as premium motor oils, knowing theyll be the low-cost choice on the shelves at Dollar General and Bi-Lo. Maybe the whiff of liability will make a difference, as blenders and marketers study that basket of damaged engine parts sitting on the table.

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