North American Lubricant Specifications Developments: API CK-4 and FA-4

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has formally announced two new heavy duty diesel engine oil categories. The last API diesel engine oil category for North America, API CJ-4, was developed and commissioned nearly 10 years ago. During the time since, engines and engine design have advanced considerably with improved fuel efficiency and increased overall power outputs. In addition, new emission legislation scheduled for 2017 affecting all diesel-powered commercial transport vehicles will require reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improved fuel economy. As such, this technical and legislative advancement has created the need for a new and higher level of lubricant performance.

From PC-11 to API CK-4 and FA-4

During the development process the specification defining these new lubricants was referred to as Proposed Category 11 (PC-11). Now, with the finalization of the API specifications, these two new service categories have been formally designated as API CK-4 and API FA-4. Lubricants in either of these new categories will be licensable starting December 1, 2016.

The development of these new categories began at the request of the Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) back in June 2011. The primary reasons for new category development were driven by changes in engine technology to meet upcoming North America emissions standards for CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions reductions as well as the desire for fuel economy and efficiency improvements; all while not compromising on engine durability or wear protection. The request from the EMA was that the new category be split into two separate and distinct subcategories:

  1. One that would preserve previous heavy duty oil test criteria and would be backwards compatible to previous API categories. This is the new API CK-4 service category.
  2. One that would provide additional and advanced fuel efficiency benefits while maintaining engine durability for 2017 engines – the new API FA-4 service category.

In addition, advances in lubricant performance that were to be addressed include improved oxidation stability, improved shear stability (HTHS), and reduction in oil aeration.

Objectives of API CK-4 and FA-4

The primary goals of the new API CK-4 and FA-4 categories are as follows:

  • Improved fuel economy
  • Emissions reduction
  • Improved engine durability and wear protection

API CK-4 and FA-4 present a viable way to achieve improved overall fuel economy and reduce emissions, without sacrificing durability or engine protection. When goals align for all stakeholders there is a net gain for everyone.

How Does CK-4 Elevate the Diesel Engine Oils Market?

The new API CK-4 and FA-4 service categories have been developed to elevate the heavy duty diesel engine lubricants market in the following ways:

  • For OEMs: API CK-4 lubricants offer backwards compatibility to existing hardware thus all of the durability and efficiency that OEMs expect, while providing higher levels of lubricant performance than its predecessor CJ-4.
  • For Oil Marketers: A unique opportunity to upgrade product portfolios with API CK-4 and FA-4 viscosity grades and to differentiate product lines.
  • For End Users: API CK-4 and FA-4 lubricants are simply better, helping protect engines, keeping vehicles on the road for longer. End users will also have the opportunity to boost fuel economy by moving to lower viscosities within these API categories (from 15W-40 to a 10W or 5W for example).
  • For Regulators: With higher performing lubricants available to all users, EPA set emissions and fuel economy goals can be reached with the application of fuel efficient API CK-4 and FA-4 licensed engine oils.

What Does the Future Hold?

API CK-4 lubricants will quickly become the standard throughout the heavy duty market— the transition is doubly beneficial to minimize market disruption while maximizing the benefits of higher performing lubricants.

At the time of this writing, heavy duty engine OEMs have not publically announced their new oil specifications which would correspond with API CK-4 and FA-4. Once these details are announced, KLONDIKE will present a licensed product family to the heavy duty lubricants market. These enhanced lubricant products will be at the cutting edge of current technology and provide optimum performance and efficiency benefits to meet all of the standards of the API and heavy duty OEMs.

KLONDIKE Lubricants Corporation is an independent Canadian company with oils and lubricants distribution facilities in:
Greater Vancouver, BC ● Edmonton, AB ● Winnipeg, MB ● Greater Toronto, ON ● Moncton, NB