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Letters to the Editor


Why We Audit Engine Oils

Dear LubesnGreases,

In his letter to the editor (June, page 44), AOCA President Chris Tolsdorf remarked that APIs real objective in collecting samples in the marketplace is to identify bad oils on the market. Although it is true that API collects samples and sometimes finds oils that need improvement, our goal is not to identify bad oils. Instead, the primary goal of APIs engine oil audit program is, as defined in API 1509, to ensure compliance with the API Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System.

To accomplish this goal, API annually collects about 600 samples of API-licensed oils. Approximately one third of these oils are bulk samples from quick lubes, auto repair shops, service stations, auto dealers and truck stops. Sampled products undergo a series of bench tests to determine conformance to API requirements, which are based on industry standards. Oil marketers are notified when oil sold under their brand is found to be out of conformance with API requirements. The marketer is then required to remedy the nonconformance.

APIs engine oil audit has been a part of APIs engine oil licensing program since its inception in 1993. The audit provides a valuable service both to consumers and to engine oil installers by ensuring that API-licensed oils meet API performance requirements. It should be recognized that those close to this industry always hear stories about questionable oils being marketed. The existence of the API licensing and audit program is one way to help ensure such stories are just rumors.

To characterize APIs audit as one intended to identify bad oils shortchanges the real purpose behind the program.

Kevin Ferrick

American Petroleum Institute

Washington, D.C.

Editors note: Mr. Ferrick is manager of APIs Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System (EOLCS).

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