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ACEA ACEA Engine Oil Sequences

About ACEA

The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (or Association des Constructeurs Européens d'Automobiles in French, hence the ACEA abbreviation) is an organization that represents the 15 most important European motor vehicle manufacturers. It's the successor of CCMC (Comité des Constructeurs du Marché Commun). According to their statement, ACEA is an advocate for the automobile industry in Europe, representing manufacturers of passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses with production sites in the EU.

Among many other activities ACEA defines specifications for engine oils so called ACEA Oil Sequences. The sequences are usually updated every few years to include the latest developments in engine and lubricant technology. ACEA itself does not approve the oils, they set the standards and oil manufacturer's may make performance claims for their products if those satisfy the relevant requirements.

The first ACEA oil sequences were introduced in 1996 when they replaced the former CCMC specifications. New ACEA oil specifications were issued in 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. The 2014 sequences have not yet been introduced. According to ACEA's website they are "delayed" but since it's already 2015 the new sequences will probably not be called 2014 sequences any more. Each version of the ACEA oils sequences has or had a life cycle:

The following table defines the relevant dates for the ACEA sequences that were introduced so far:

Issue year First allowable use Mandatory for new claims Oils with this claim may be marketed until
1996March 1, 1996March 1, 1999March 1, 2000
1998March 1, 1998March 1, 2000March 1, 2002
1999September 1, 1999February 1, 2003February 1, 2004
2002February 1, 2002November 1, 2005November 1, 2006
2004November 1, 2004November 1, 2005December 31, 2009
2007February 1, 2007February 1, 2008December 23, 2010
2008December 22, 2008December 22, 2009December 22, 2012
2010December 22, 2010December 22, 2011December 22, 2014
2012December 14, 2012December 14, 2013...

ACEA Timetable for Oil Sequences

Every ACEA specification is made of a letter or letters that indicate the class (e.g. E stands for the heavy duty class) and a number that defines the category (e.g. the 9 in E9). There are separate categories for oils with different purposes or for different applications within the same class. If the ACEA sequence's implementation year is specified then it follows the spec's name after a dash (like ACEA E9-12).

There are ACEA specifications for passenges car motor oils (the A/B class) for catalyst compatible motor oils (the C class) and for heavy duty diesel engine oils (the E class). The classes are further devided into categories to meet the requirements of different engines. The A/B class's A1/B1 and A5/B5 oils have lower HTHS viscosities, which means that they provide better fuel economy but they may not provide adequate protection in engines that are not designed for them. ACEA A3/B3 and A3/B4 on the other hand require oils with higher HTHS viscosities that may not provide as good fuel economy as an A1/B1 or A5/B5 oil but may offer better engine protection in certain engine designs. The categories within the C class are devided along SAPS limits and along HTHS viscosities. C1 and C4 are low-SAPS oils, while C2 and C3 are mid-SAPS oils. On the other hand C1 and C2 oils have lower HTHS viscosities, while C3 and C4 oils have higher HTHS viscosities. In case of the E class the SAPS content and the drain interval make the difference. E4 and E6 oils offer longer drain intervals where the engine manufacturer allows it while E7 and E9 are designed for medium drain applications. E6 and E9 have limited SAPS content so they can be used in engines that require this including Euro VI engines.

Below we are presenting the ACEA categories in "Consumer Language".

A/B: gasoline and diesel engine oils

ACEA A1/B1 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use at extended drain intervals in gasoline engines and car & light van diesel engines specifically designed to be capable of using low friction low viscosity oils with a high temperature / high shear rate viscosity of 2.6 mPa*s for xW/20 and 2.9 to 3.5 mPa.s for all other viscosity grades. These oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

ACEA A3/B3 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use in high performance gasoline engines and car & light van diesel engines and/or for extended drain intervals where specified by the engine manufacturer, and/or for year-round use of low viscosity oils, and/or for severe operating conditions as defined by the engine manufacturer.

ACEA A3/B4 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use in high performance gasoline and direct injection diesel engines, but also suitable for applications described under A3/B3.

ACEA A5/B5 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use at extended drain intervals in high performance gasoline engines and car & light van diesel engines designed to be capable of using low friction low viscosity oils with a High temperature / High shear rate (HTHS) viscosity of 2.9 to 3.5 mPa.s. These oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

C: Catalyst compatibility oils

ACEA C1 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use as catalyst compatible oil in vehicles with DPF and TWC in high performance car and light van diesel and gasoline engines requiring low friction, low viscosity, low SAPS oils with a minimum HTHS viscosity of 2.9 mPa.s. These oils will increase the DPF and TWC life and maintain the vehicles fuel economy. Warning: these oils have the lowest SAPS limits and are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

ACEA C2 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use as catalyst compatible oil in vehicles with DPF and TWC in high performance car and light van diesel and gasoline engines designed to be capable of using low friction, low viscosity oils with a minimum HTHS viscosity of 2.9mPa.s. These oils will increase the DPF and TWC life and maintain the vehicles fuel economy. Warning: these oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

ACEA C3 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use as catalyst compatible oil in vehicles with DPF and TWC in high performance car and light van diesel and gasoline engines, with a minimum HTHS viscosity of 3.5mPa.s. These oils will increase the DPF and TWC life. Warning: these oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

ACEA C4 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use as catalyst compatible oil in vehicles with DPF and TWC in high performance car and light van diesel and gasoline engines requiring low SAPS oil with a minimum HTHS viscosity of 3.5mPa.s. These oils will increase the DPF and TWC life. Warning: these oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

E: Heavy Duty Diesel engine oils

ACEA E4 Stable, stay-in-grade oil providing excellent control of piston cleanliness, wear, soot handling and lubricant stability. It is recommended for highly rated diesel engines meeting Euro I, Euro II, Euro III, Euro IV and Euro V emission requirements and running under very severe conditions, e.g. significantly extended oil drain intervals according to the manufacturer's recommendations. It is suitable for engines without particulate filters, and for some EGR engines and some engines fitted with SCR NOx reduction systems. However, recommendations may differ between engine manufacturers so Driver Manuals and/or Dealers shall be consulted if in doubt.

ACEA E6 Stable, stay-in-grade oil providing excellent control of piston cleanliness, wear, soot handling and lubricant stability. It is recommended for highly rated diesel engines meeting Euro I, Euro II, Euro III, Euro IV, Euro V and Euro VI emission requirements and running under very severe conditions, e.g. significantly extended oil drain intervals according to the manufacturer's recommendations. It is suitable for EGR engines, with or without particulate filters, and for engines fitted with SCR NOx reduction systems. E6 quality is strongly recommended for engines fitted with particulate filters and is designed for use in combination with low sulphur diesel fuel. However, recommendations may differ between engine manufacturers so Driver Manuals and/or Dealers shall be consulted if in doubt.

ACEA E7 Stable, stay-in-grade oil providing effective control with respect to piston cleanliness and bore polishing. It further provides excellent wear control, soot handling and lubricant stability. It is recommended for highly rated diesel engines meeting Euro I, Euro II, Euro III, Euro IV and Euro V emission requirements and running under severe conditions, e.g. extended oil drain intervals according to the manufacturer's recommendations. It is suitable for engines without particulate filters, and for most EGR engines and most engines fitted with SCR NOx reduction systems. However, recommendations may differ between engine manufacturers so Driver Manuals and/or Dealers shall be consulted if in doubt.

ACEA E9 Stable, stay-in-grade oil providing effective control with respect to piston cleanliness and bore polishing. It further provides excellent wear control, soot handling and lubricant stability. It is recommended for highly rated diesel engines meeting Euro I, Euro II, Euro III, Euro IV, Euro V and Euro VI emission requirements and running under severe conditions, e.g. extended oil drain intervals according to the manufacturer's recommendations. It is suitable for engines with or without particulate filters, and for most EGR engines and for most engines fitted with SCR NOx reduction systems. E9 is strongly recommended for engines fitted with particulate filters and is designed for use in combination with low sulphur diesel fuel. However, recommendations may differ between engine manufacturers so Drivers Manuals and/or Dealers should be consulted if in doubt.

You can find more information about ACEA and the ACEA Engine Oil Sequences on ACEA's website.