New Diesel Engine Oil Category Coming Soon

March 31, 2016 02:42 PM

Coming in December 2016, a new Proposed Category 11 (API CK-4 and API FA-4) of heavy duty diesel engine oils will be approved and available for use in equipment that includes a variety of farm machinery.

New oil categories typically hit the market every three or four years, but this upgrade is the first in a decade, according to Shawn Whitacre, senior staff engineer at Chevron Lubricants. Whitacre also chairs the ASTM Heavy-Duty Engine Oil Classification.

“Based on our research, awareness of the new category of oil is low, and among those who are aware, there is a bit of confusion,” he says.

That has fueled the drive behind an educational campaign to get farmers and other customers up to speed, including the creation of a website, PC-11 Explained.

The PC-11 category was developed amid several shifts, including new stricter greenhouse gas regulations for diesel engines that will start in 2017, and evolving design changes to diesel engines that ramp up oil requirements. Whitacre says the new oil category is good for farm equipment in particular.

“These engine oils are stable at higher temperatures,” he says. “That’s good for equipment that is not used all year but when it is used, it’s used very hard.”

The category could also lead to longer oil change intervals, although Whitacre says that will ultimately come down to a case-by-case recommendation. And the migration from CJ-4 to CK-4 oils will hopefully be a transparent process, he adds. The new CK-4 oils will be “backwards compatible” with today’s oils and should be approved to use in most existing equipment.

“Farmers won’t have to purposely avoid using new oils on their existing equipment,” Whitacre says.

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