ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) explained

ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) was introduced in 1996 and acts as the European counterpart of API. API engine oil specifications explained


ACEA (Europeans) have a different approach to the categorization of the engine oil classifications than API (Americans). In Addition to API, ACEA also evaluates the emissions control system compatibility, oil drain intervals, fuel efficiency and high temperature/High shear rate viscosity (HTHS) performance of the engine oil. Therefore, it is preferred to have both API and ACEA oil categories present on the label of the engine oil being used, especially if it is for a recent model vehicle with a high performing engine. ACEA created the following three categories for engine oil specifications:


1. Petrol and light-duty diesel engines.

This specification for petrol (A) and light-duty diesel (B) engines can be identified by the letters A/B followed by a number which indicates the performance level.


This category has the following performance requirements:

Soot handling, wear protection, resistance to sludge formation, piston cleanliness, resistance to oxidation and fuel economy.

2. Petrol and light-duty diesel engines with exhaust after-treatment devices.

The specification for petrol and light-duty diesel engines with after-treatment devices can be identified by the letter “C” and will be followed by a number which indicates the performance level.


These oils are all formulated with low to medium SAPS (Sulphated ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur) levels to enhance protection of all modern types of emission control devices on vehicles. Some of these Categories may be unsuitable for use in certain Engine Types – consult the vehicle OEM owner’s manual/handbook in case of doubt.


This category has the following performance requirements: Soot handling, wear protection, resistance to sludge formation, piston cleanliness, resistance to oxidation, fuel economy and after treatment compatibility.

3. Heavy-duty diesel engine oils.

The specification for heavy-duty diesel engine oils can be identified by the letter “E” followed by a letter indicating the performance level.


This category has the following performance requirements: Piston bore protection, soot handling, wear protection, resistance to corrosion formation, piston cleanliness and resistance to oxidation.


When you’re unsure about which oil to purchase, please consult a qualified salesperson, or purchase the latest specification oil, because they are all backwards compatible.

Contact us for more information:

Email: info@oily.co.za

Phone: +27 021 410 8720


Click here to learn how to read an oil can label.


Written By Henco Booysen


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