After years of delays, the lubricant industry is eager to start selling its brand-new ILSAC GF-6 oils on May 1. But despite all of the time and effort spent on development of this new passenger car engine oil specification, there already seems to be a concern: ensuring continued protection against low-speed pre-ignition as the oil ages.
Oil drain intervals continue to extend, with the majority of OEMs recommending 10,000-mile oil drain intervals for normal driving conditions. This means that lubricants need to provide protection from mile one until the oil is drained and replaced, no matter what the driving cycle is.
Additives and base stock performance are impacted over time by severe operating conditions, including high temperatures and contaminants. Retained lubricant performance has become more important to meet the latest engine innovations that improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. This became evident when the Sequence VIB engine test introduced retained fuel economy as a key performance need for ILSAC GF-3 in 2001.
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Low-speed pre-ignition is a phenomenon that sometimes occurs in downsized, turbocharged engines operating at low speeds under heavy loads. For reasons that are not completely understood, combustion occurs in the piston chamber before sparkplug ignition, sometimes causing severe damage to the piston.