Bob Is The Oil Guy Q&A: GF-6 and Low Viscosity Engine Oil



Responses from:
• Richard Dixon, Pennzoil Technology Manager
• Eric Kalberer, Shell Global Product Application Specialist
• Sean Nguyen, Pennzoil Scientist and Technology Specialist



1. How should current Used Oil Analysis’ change to better capture composition changes in the GF-6 oils?

a. From GF-5 to GF-6, there are no regulatory change requirements in additive composition. For example: the required minimum level of Phosphorus remains the same at 0.06 % mass with a maximum of 0.08% mass. However, with the introduction of Low Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI) protection in the new GF-6 category, analysis will likely show some elemental differences, reflecting the fact that GF-6 products must provide LSPI protection. Decreasing levels of Calcium detergent and increasing levels of Magnesium detergent are likely to be observed.

2. How does GF-6 improve upon GF-5 and is there a best equivalent ACEA spec?

a. GF-6 will introduce 7 new engine tests and 1 modified test to measure fuel economy and ensure lubrication and protection of modern engines. The tests cover the areas of oxidation, deposit resistance, wear protection, sludge and varnish protection, fuel economy, corrosion protection, LSPI and chain wear protection. The additional modified test was designed to measure fuel economy benefits for motor oils with SAE 0W-16 or lower in viscosity; called the Sequence VIF. The performance requirements for the motor oil have increased, almost completely across the board.
b. As for equivalent to ACEA, there are some similarities and some differences in their “High SAPS” (ACEA A5/B5) and “Low SAPS” (ACEA C5) categories to the GF-6 specification. There is also a planned introduction of the new category ACEA A6/B6 and C6 in 2020. These new categories will include similar LSPI, chain wear, turbocharger deposit protection tests and other tests specific to European standards. The Low SAPS product will limit the amount of Sulfated Ash & Phosphorus in the formula.

3. Can any details about the Low Speed Pre-Ignition testing for GF-6 be shared with us BITOGers?

a. Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI) is an abnormal combustion phenomenon observed at low engine speeds in which the fuel/air mixture in the combustion chambers ignites before spark timing. LSPI can cause engine knock, broken spark plugs and cracked pistons, and in severe cases, catastrophic engine failure. The industry accepted test is known as the Sequence IX and should have an ASTM test designation number by the end of 2019. It utilizes a 2012 Ford 4 cylinder, 2.0L TGDI engine that includes pressure sensors in the cylinders and a crank-angle encoder to characterize combustion cycles. The test has been designed to evaluate a lubricant’s ability to protect against the LSPI phenomenon.

4. I have a normally aspirated, non-gasoline direct injection engine – why should I care about GF-6?

a. The new GF-6 category is a replacement for GF-5 which will become obsolete. You should care because the category has been split into two pieces: GF-6A and GF-6B. GF-6A is backwards compatible and is a direct replacement for the existing GF-5 category. GF-6-B includes the new 0W-16 viscosity grade and will not be backwards compatible to cover previous GF specifications. As always, you should follow the manufacturer’s oil recommendation and specification for the correct type of motor oil to use.

5. How (or will?) GF-6a impact drain intervals?

a. GF-6 oils do not affect oil drain intervals. Always follow your owner’s manual for the recommended oil drain interval. It is always worth checking with your vehicle’s manufacturer to see if there are any service advisories issued. Always work from the latest information.

6. Will all Shell Oil Product US oils at the various price points, meet/carry GF-6a?

a. Shell Lubricants recently announced in early April 2019 that our Pennzoil Platinum line of motor oils are GF-6 ready and plan to have GF-6 products on shelves (and via digital retailers) by May 1, 2020. This will follow with the rest of our product portfolio later during the year. As of now, we expect to have the following products approved for GF-6 (by May 1, 2020): Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Platinum® High Mileage motor oils. As a technology leader, Pennzoil was delighted to be the first in the industry to announce GF-6 readiness.

7. Have any test procedures changed that are used to test an oil’s wear performance in regards to engine wear limits, or have any changes been made in required GF-6 test sequences as lower oil viscosity such as 0W-16 becomes a more common oil specification by automakers? Wondering if engine wear or any other critical test spec limits are being relaxed as oil viscosity continues to decrease.

a. With the introduction of GF-6 category, new engines had to be incorporated into the test methods to represent modern engine technology while still protecting current vehicles on the road today. The new GF-6 standards have tighter limits that have raised performance requirements to qualify vs the former GF-5 standards. In fact, two new wear tests have been developed for GF-6. The first, known as the Sequence IVB test, was developed based on a modern Toyota engine to measure general engine and valve train wear. The second, known as the Sequence IX test, was developed on a Ford engine to measure timing chain wear.

8. Will GF-6 require reformulation of your Platinum line up?

9. Will the GF-6 formulation be any improvement over current Pennzoil Dexos 1 Generation 2 formulation in terms of timing chain wear?

a. As a premium product, Pennzoil Platinum meets both GF-6 and dexos1 generation 2 specifications. Reformulations take into account both specifications and ensure we meet both.

10. I have used Pennzoil Ultra Platinum with great success on my Camry. Are you going to downgrade or finagle around with the Pennzoil Ultra Platinum additives to meet GF-6? I would hate to switch to M1EP/M1AFE if you downgrade the additives in Pennzoil Ultra Platinum.

a. You should not see any detriment using the new GF-6 category motor oil. With regards to Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ moving to GF-6, we will provide information in due course. Stay tuned.

11. Is GF-6 more shear-resistant than GF-5?

a. GF-6 did not adopt any changes to shear stability requirements or lower the ability for the oil to maintain viscosity grade after shear vs the GF-5 category.


Pennzoil Platinum 0W-16

1. What is the best way to explain to a thick-oil fan how a 0W-16 motor oil can protect your engine?

a. If your engine calls for a 0W-16 motor oil, it is designed to give you optimal fuel economy benefit with the required protection for the life of your oil drain. Using a thicker oil where a 0W-16 is recommended may reduce the efficiencies seen in using the correct SAE viscosity grade. Additionally, it may slow the delivery of motor oil to critical engine components at start-up and in extreme operating temperatures. However, an engine that recommends a higher SAE viscosity grade should not use an SAE 0W-16 motor oil. Again, always follow the recommended SAE grade recommended by your engine manufacturer.

2. When will Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 0W-16 be available? You should be bringing out Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 0w-16 first before Pennzoil Platinum 0w-16.

a. Currently we do not have plans to produce Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 0W-16. However, Pennzoil Platinum SAE 0W-16 is currently available and was first to be introduced to the North American market in May of 2018.

3. Do you plan on recommending your 0w16 oil(s) for any vehicles that currently recommend an xW-20 oil?

a. If your vehicle calls for an SAE 0W-20 motor oil, we do not recommend using a 0W-16. It is the wrong viscosity grade and may not properly protect your engine. 0W-16 should only be used where 0W-16 is recommended. We recommend following your engine manufacturer’s recommendation for proper engine SAE grade oil.

4. Most of the technical papers discussed on BITOG show that engine components such as piston rings start to exhibit increased wear when the High-Temperature/High-Shear (HTHS) viscosity is lower than about 2.3 cP, which is where most 0W-16 oils will be. This leads to the question: As wear protection is decreased from a lower HTHS viscosity factor, what kind of changes in anti-wear additives will be needed to control wear for 0W-16 (or 0W-8 if it hits the market)? I’m assuming these less viscous oils will depend much more on anti-wear additives to control wear compared to a more viscous oil such as 5W-30 or higher.

a. For engines that call for SAE 0W-16 and lower, wear protection will be critical for engine durability. Thus, motor oil must be designed to give you a balance of wear protection and performance. Pennzoil Platinum SAE 0W-16 is specifically formulated, for engines calling for a 0W-16, to give you complete protection including unsurpassed wear protection, piston cleanliness, horsepower retention, performance in extreme temperatures and improved fuel economy benefit while still backed by our 10-year, 300K miles engine protection warranty.

5. I have no use for PP since you downgraded the additive package of Pennzoil Platinum to meet Low Speed Pre-Ignition (reduce Ca and increase Mg). Many Bitogers have the same concerns about this additive downgrade. Since the additive downgrade, I don’t even trust Pennzoil Platinum to go the full 10K Oil Climate Index on my Camry, which requires 10K OCI.

a. Changing detergent additive from Calcium to Magnesium has no effect in protection from wear or performance. We balanced our Pennzoil Platinum to give you complete engine protection and still backed by our engine protection warranty ( Warranty )


1. Would it benefit any manufacturers come out and change their specs…like VAG saying to use 504 00 instead of the previous 502 00?

a. Motor oil specification changes due to the demand created by newer engine technology, material changes and legislation. Thus, it follows that newer test methods and tighter limits are required. However, with most category changes, it also requires that these new oil specifications must be backward compatible for previous specification and protect older vehicles that are still on the road today.