The automotive and motor oil industries have defined the next generation standard for passenger car motor oils: International Lubricant Specification Advisory Committee (ILSAC) GF-6. The industry’s ongoing push for improved fuel economy has driven the need for engine downsizing. This engine downsizing trend has increased the application of turbocharged gasoline direct injection (TGDI) engines, which require increased protection against low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI) and timing-chain wear. ILSAC GF-6 motor oils will meet the requirements of modern engines currently unmet by GF-5, including improved fuel economy and helping prevent LSPI and timing-chain wear.

The GF-6 standard will be split into two sub-categories. The distinction between the two is as follows:

GF-6A: backward-compatible standard for SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 0W-30, SAE 5W-30, and SAE 10W-30, but not SAE 0W-16. This standard will continue to utilize the ILSAC starburst symbol for licensing.

GF-6B: new standard for SAE 0W-16 only, developed to meet the specific needs of modern engines. This standard will not be backward-compatible to previous categories and will have a new licensing symbol for the bottle.

The engine tests necessary to meet the ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B standards have already been released. There are eight tests in total, of which seven are new. GF-6’s first licensing date is expected to be April 2020. The test limits for ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B, however, are still being established so no motor oils in the marketplace can claim to be GF-6 licensed at this point; however, the technical tests are available and draft limits have been issued, so a motor oil can claim to be GF-6 “ready.”

In order to ensure their products are ready for consumers as soon as licensing becomes available, Shell Lubricants has already completed the testing protocol for a suite of full synthetic products, and based on those results, expect that these products will meet the ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B standards when the test limits are released:

GF-6A: Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oils — SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30, and SAE 10W-30

Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage Full Synthetic Motor Oils — SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30, and SAE 10W-30

GF-6B: Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil — SAE 0W-16

ILSAC has always tried to make its standards “evergreen,” which means they are backward-compatible. Thus, when a new standard is activated, the previous standard becomes obsolete because the latest standard meets the needs of both new and prior engine technologies.

Additionally, previous ILSAC standards (such as GF-5) did not include the SAE 0W-16 viscosity grade, which is expected to become more prevalent in the future. However, the new SAE 0W-16 viscosity grade has not been approved for use in most older engines, as such engines may not be equipped to operate with a lubricant at such a low viscosity. For this reason, ILSAC determined the need for an ILSAC GF-6A standard, which is backward-compatible, and an ILSAC GF-6B standard, which is only used for SAE 0W-16. Oils meeting the GF-6B standard will NOT be backward-compatible unless approved for use by an OEM, and this distinction will be noted clearly on eligible Pennzoil Platinum motor oil labels.

Additional information on ILSAC GF-6 can be found under the education tab on: