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API CK-4, API FA-4 products
The new Mobil Delvac diesel engine oils will help on- and off-highway fleets, fleet managers and owner/operators reach their business goals. 
Ready for API CK-4, API FA-4?
Learn how the American Petroleum Institute’s new diesel engine oil specification change affects you, your trucks and your business. 
The development of API CK-4, API FA-4
Get more of the story behind API CK-4, API FA-4. Plus, learn how the new CK-4 and FA-4 oils can help your business. 

API CK-4, API FA-4 FAQs

Fleets / Fleet managers
Owner/operators
OEMs
Imperial
CK-4 oils / FA-4 oils


What is API CK-4, API FA-4 all about?

API CK-4, API FA-4 is the development of an oil category that established two diesel engine oil specifications – one with backward compatibility for older engine technology ("CK-4") and one for use with newer engine technology ("FA-4").

FA-4 oils aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel efficiency. CK-4 oils are designed as direct replacements to CJ-4 oils, offering enhancements in oxidation resistance, shear stability and aeration control.

Why do we need a new oil specification?

Due to changing emissions and fuel efficiency standards, industry standards call for vehicle and engine improvements capable of:

  • Reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Enhancing fuel efficiency
  • Maintaining engine durability while improving oxidation resistance, shear stability and aeration control

These improved engine designs require commercial vehicle engine oils with performance capabilities far exceeding those of current CJ-4 oils.

When does API CK-4, API FA-4 arrive?

API CK-4, API FA-4 diesel engine oils are in market.

Where has API CK-4, API FA-4 been applied?

API CK-4, API FA-4 has been applied in North America. There is a global impact to API CK-4, API FA-4, but the primary applications are in the United States, Canada and Mexico. North America isn’t the only region committed to reducing greenhouse gases; the reach of API CK-4, API FA-4 is limited because engine design and emissions standards vary globally.


Fleets / Fleet managers

How does API CK-4, API FA-4 affect fleets?

It’s important to note that API CK-4, API FA-4 does not affect every business in the same way. It’s possible that some fleets will only experience a small impact from API CK-4, API FA-4.

An example of a fleet that may see a small impact from API CK-4, API FA-4 is one that is operating older equipment and mixed engine types. In this scenario, the fleet may only need to transition from its CJ-4 engine oil to the newer CK-4 formulation. This also applies to off-highway equipment used in operations such as mining and construction, which are expected to use only the CK-4 formulation for the time being.

In comparison, a good option for fleets with a mix of older and newer equipment is to stock both CK-4 and FA-4 formulations. CK-4 oils are suitable for use in both older and newer equipment. Fleets operating newer trucks with advanced engines should consult their original equipment manufacturer for recommendations on using both CK-4 and FA-4 formulations.

What impact does API CK-4, API FA-4 have on fleets’ day-to-day operations?

The industry has covered the technical implications of the new specification extensively, but it’s important to really understand how the spec change affects fleets’ day-to-day maintenance and lubrication practices.

For example, fleets using CK-4 oils and FA-4 oils need to implement two storage and dispensing systems and budget for the additional systems accordingly. Fleets also need to prepare their tanks and engines before using new oils. Although the old oil can be mixed with the new oil (CJ-4 to CK-4 or CJ-4 to FA-4), a hot oil drain must be performed to help minimize residual oil or “hang up” during the drain. Note: A best practice is to completely drain tanks before switching oils. However, if this is not possible, retaining up to 10 percent of the previous oil after the drain is acceptable.

To monitor both equipment and oil condition, ongoing used oil analysis should be performed based on the application and duty cycle of the vehicle. Initially, oil drain intervals may produce similar results. However, with the help of a lubricant expert, fleets can help maximize their oil drain interval using a data-driven approach, such as the Imperial Optimized Oil Drain Interval (OODI) process.

Overall, the change in engine oil specifications provides fleets with important performance and protection benefits, and offers them the opportunity to help reduce fuel consumption.


What impact does API CK-4, API FA-4 have on fleets’ key priorities?

API CK-4, API FA-4 does not change the best practices that help drive fleets’ success. In fact, many of those success factors remain the same after API CK-4, API FA-4 implementation. These include:

  • Recruiting the right drivers
  • Embracing strict safety protocols for drivers on the road and in a maintenance shop
  • A proactive maintenance approach, whether in-house or outsourced
  • Using a data-driven approach to optimize oil drain intervals and vehicle performance


How can fleet managers implement API CK-4, API FA-4?

As fleet managers implement API CK-4, API FA-4, it is important for them to have a thorough understanding of the various engine requirements in their fleets, especially considering each engine’s unique operating conditions.

To help minimize the complications and potential cross-contamination that can occur with the use of multiple engine oils, fleet managers may opt to accelerate or delay the purchase of new trucks or consider standardizing engines across their fleets.

However, with the right maintenance program in place and support from an experienced lubricant supplier, fleet managers can utilize both API CK-4, API FA-4 subcategories for different engines to get the most out of their trucks in terms of performance and potential fuel economy savings.

At Imperial, we continue to help fleet managers analyze their fleets and determine which trucks can be switched to a lower viscosity oil.

Can a fleet use only FA-4 oils in all of its vehicles – both older and newer? Is that recommended?

We suggest fleets follow their original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) lubricant recommendations. Also, it’s important to note that FA-4 oils may have limited backward compatibility.

But if there is a desire to use only FA-4 oils, perhaps for the convenience of not stocking two engine oils, we recommend that the fleet work with its lubricant supplier and OEM partner. Doing so would help the fleet determine the precise warranty, viscosity grade and backward compatibility issues that are specific to the OEM’s recommendations.

Most of the communication around API CK-4, API FA-4 has focused on on-highway vehicles, but what impact does API CK-4, API FA-4 have on off-highway equipment?

Off-highway equipment used in operations such as mining and construction likely only need to transition from the CJ-4 formulation to the CK-4 formulation.

By upgrading to CK-4 oils, off-highway equipment can benefit from the same performance enhancements provided by the API CK-4, API FA-4 specification – improved oxidation resistance, shear stability and aeration control. CK-4 oils also deliver enhanced protection for off-highway equipment and a greater potential for extended oil drain intervals – both of which are crucial benefits considering the challenging conditions this equipment operates in on a daily basis.

Owner/operators

How does API CK-4, API FA-4 affect owner-operators?

While API CK-4, API FA-4 brings some changes to drivers’ current maintenance and lubrication practices, owner-operators should consider the API CK-4, API FA-4 oil specifications a positive change.

Due to the extensive testing and approvals API CK-4, API FA-4 oils have undergone, owner-operators can be confident that their engines are getting the best protection available.
Owner-operators who use older equipment may only experience a small impact from API CK-4, API FA-4 as they likely need to transition from the current CJ-4 engine oil to the CK-4 oil. An owner operating newer trucks with advanced engines should consult their original equipment manufacturer for recommendations on using both CK-4 and FA-4 oils.

Both CK-4 and FA-4 oils also provide drivers with greater engine oil options and the potential to gain fuel economy benefits. The reduced engine wear and deposits resulting from the superior protection provided by these oils help owner-operators reduce unscheduled maintenance and minimize downtime.
 

OEMs

What will happen if I use the higher viscosity oils in new trucks built after January 1, 2017?

Fleets operating newer trucks with advanced engines should consult their original equipment manufacturer for recommendations on using both CK-4 and FA-4 formulations. Although it’s expected that some OEMs will be factory filling vehicles built after January 2017 with FA-4 oils, based on the OEM guidance we’ve received to date, it’s possible that they may not require the use of FA-4 oils.

Essentially, the higher viscosity CK-4 formulations provide the same performance benefits as the lower viscosity FA-4 oils, including improved oxidation resistance, shear stability and aeration control. The key difference is that FA-4 oils offer fuel economy benefits as compared to CK-4 formulations.
 
Are some original equipment manufacturers ahead of others when it comes to developing their new engines and introducing them?

For competitive and proprietary reasons, we cannot provide specific details of our work with leading truck and engine manufacturers.

We have been working for many years with industry leaders on the API CK-4, API FA-4 lubricant subcategories and engine technology advancements. Like Imperial, these industry leaders and equipment manufacturers have all made significant progress in preparation for the launch of API CK-4, API FA-4.

Most OEMs are participating in field testing to determine backward compatibility of FA-4 oils with their older engine models. However, some engine manufacturers and off-highway OEMs are not entertaining the use of FA-4 oils.

Imperial

How has Imperial prepared for the new oil specification?

Imperial has been working closely with major commercial vehicle manufacturers and engine builders on API CK-4, API FA-4 for several years, conducting extensive laboratory testing and field trials. Imperial’s commitment to research and development, and our close working relationships with leading engine manufacturers and truck builders, enables us to meet challenging requirements like API CK-4, API FA-4.

As of June 2017, we have accumulated more than 80 million kilometres of testing data on our CK-4 and FA-4 formulations. Also, we continue to accumulate more than 2.4 million kilometres of additional testing data each month by working with select fleet partners. Our current field testing includes about 200 trucks.

A number of our technical experts have played key roles in the initial development and advancement of specifications and testing parameters that are part of the overall API CK-4, API FA-4 initiative. API CK-4, API FA-4 will be another example of how we have successfully helped our customers manage change.

What is Imperial doing to help customers with the transition?

The prospect of change can be intimidating, particularly when it relates to your equipment’s lubrication and performance. Imperial is committed to helping customers navigate the challenges brought by the change in oil specifications to ensure a smooth transition.

For more than 90 years, we’ve been helping companies prepare for and operate under changing industry regulations, earning the recognition of leading on-highway trucking fleets and off-highway companies. API CK-4, API FA-4 is another example of how we have successfully helped our customers manage change.

To support companies with their planning efforts, we’re helping to educate them about the potential implications of API CK-4, API FA-4 on their day-to-day operations. And with the split category, it will also be important for drivers to be more knowledgeable about their equipment.

We continue to work closely with fleet managers and owners of various sized fleets on a daily basis. In addition to the educational tools we’re developing, our field experts are helping fleet managers determine the right oil choices for their business.
 

What were Imperial’s efforts in the development of API CK-4, API FA-4?

Imperial has been working closely with major commercial vehicle manufacturers and engine builders on API CK-4, API FA-4 for several years, conducting extensive laboratory testing and field trials on low viscosity oils since January 2011. As of June 2017, we have accumulated more than 80 million kilometers of testing data and are working closely with select fleet partners to accumulate more than 2.4 million kilometers of additional testing data per month. Our current field testing includes about 200 trucks.

We’ve also had a number of technical experts play a key role in the initial development and advancement of specifications and testing parameters that are part of the overall API CK-4, API FA-4 initiative, holding chair positions on the Diesel Engine Oil Advisory Panel and the T-13 Test Development Taskforce.


CK-4 oils / FA-4 oils

What are the two subcategories of API CK-4, API FA-4 and how do they differ?

This category is split into two distinct viscosities: There is a traditional high temperature/high shear viscosity (HTHS) and a lower HTHS viscosity, the latter targeted to achieve enhanced fuel economy.

CK-4 oils have traditional HTHS viscosity. They provide performance benefits exceeding today’s CJ-4 engine oils, including improved oxidation resistance, shear stability and aeration control to enhance engine performance and durability, while still retaining backward compatibility to satisfy older makes and models. CK-4 oils are available in 5W-40, 0W-40, 10W-30 and 15W40 viscosity grades and are suitable for older on-highway engines.

FA-4 oils have lower HTHS viscosity. In addition to meeting the category performance requirements, including improved oxidation resistance, shear stability and aeration control, FA-4 oils are designed to provide enhanced fuel economy, but they are only available in 10W-30 viscosity grade.

Compared to their CK-4 counterparts, FA-4 oils will likely have more limited backward compatibility. Each engine OEM will define the backward compatibility of FA-4 oils for their product line. Consequently, fleets that have engines that fall within the backward compatibility standard set by the OEM will be able to use FA-4 oils across their entire fleet.

See our OEM heavy-duty equipment chart for API CK-4, API FA-4 product recommendations.



What does “backward compatibility” mean?

“Backward compatibility” refers to whether or not the new engine oils can be used in older engines. For example, CK-4 oils are designed as direct replacements to current CJ-4 oils. However, in regards to FA-4 oils, their potential backward compatibility are specific to each engine’s original equipment manufacturer and their individual engine models.

To determine backward compatibility, most engine OEMs are actively engaged in field testing. Several OEMs have expressed a desire for broad backward compatibility of FA-4 oils for their 2013 model year engines, or even their 2010 model year engines.

What is the process for switching to CK-4 and/or FA-4 oils?

The first step in preparing for the switch to API CK-4, API FA-4 compliant formulations is to consult your lubricant supplier to ensure you choose the right lubricant for your vehicle. Once your supplier has helped you select an oil, it’s best to follow original equipment manufacturer engine service recommendations and monitor and test your oil to determine the optimal maintenance intervals for your specific engines and oils in their operating environment.

How were the two new oils being created?

The two new diesel engine oils have gone through research and development, ensuring the lubricant technology meets new performance targets while improving engine wear protection. Then, the oils were introduced after being proven via extensive field testing.

As of June 2017, we have accumulated more than 80 million kilometers of testing data on our CK-4 and FA-4 formulations. Also, we continue to accumulate more than 2.4 million kilometers of additional testing data each month by working with select fleet partners. Our current field testing includes about 200 trucks.

Do I need both CK-4 oils and FA-4 oils to ensure my fleet is in compliance?

The answer depends on the recommendations set out by your original equipment manufacturer and the type of equipment in your fleet. For example, a fleet operating older equipment and mixed engine types will likely only want to transition from CJ-4 oils to the newer CK-4 formulation.

However, a fleet that operates a mix of older and newer equipment may choose to stock both CK-4 and FA-4 formulations. Although CK-4 oils are suitable for use in both older and newer engines, a fleet looking to enhance their fuel economy may choose to use FA-4 oils in their newer engines.

Do lower viscosity oils increase engine wear in comparison to current CJ-4 oils?

The API CK-4, API FA-4 specification of lower viscosity FA-4 oils offers operators greater engine oil options to maximize fuel economy benefits while maintaining the protection they require to keep their vehicles running efficiently.

Operators can rest assured that the API CK-4, API FA-4 compliant, lower viscosity FA-4 oils have undergone extensive industry testing to ensure engine protection has not been compromised. These tests determine whether the new formulations can provide enhanced engine protection by evaluating an extensive range of factors, including oxidation stability, aeration control, shear stability, scuffing/adhesive wear, oil consumption and deposit formation.

The testing data we’ve accumulated so far shows that the lower viscosity FA-4 oils have demonstrated superior engine protection in comparison to current CJ-4 oils.

How are oil drain intervals be impacted when switching from CJ-4 oils to higher performing CK-4 and FA-4 oils?

We recommend that fleets closely follow their OEM guidelines. See our OEM heavy-duty equipment chart for API CK-4, API FA-4 product recommendations.

As fleets get more time with their API CK-4, API FA-4 compliant oils and wish to further optimize oil drain intervals, best practices for evaluating and optimizing oil drain intervals with CJ-4 oils remain virtually the same. However, with API CK-4, API FA-4 compliant oils in use, we recommend establishing a new baseline for oil drain intervals by performing a used oil analysis.

We suggest that fleets work closely with a trusted lubricant partner that can provide the right expertise on the API CK-4, API FA-4 subcategories. It’s important for fleets to determine the best maintenance solutions to help optimize oil drain intervals and protect their vehicles’ engines. We offer a four-step process for optimizing oil drain intervals. The Imperial Optimized Oil Drain Interval (OODI) process has yielded exceptional results for fleets of various sizes; we recommend this data-driven process for fleets as they implement new API CK-4, API FA-4 compliant oils into their operations.

Once a new baseline oil drain interval is in place, maintenance personnel and Imperial technical experts can better assess how the new oil is performing and whether or not they can take advantage of the performance properties offered by the new category.

How will oil analysis results potentially be different for CK-4 and FA-4 oils?

You should expect to see some minor changes in typical results, such as additive levels.