Decoding of designations

All car owners must understand what is indicated on the engine oil marking. For the engine to work steadily and for a long time, it is necessary to use only a quality product. The oil designations on the tank help to understand how the characteristics of the lubricating fluid correspond to the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer.

Engine oil designation


In the production of automotive oils, a basic base is used, in which special additives are added. The basis is divided into several groups:


To obtain it, the synthesis of hydrocarbon compounds is used. The liquid has good viscosity characteristics.


It is obtained after distillation of petroleum products. The composition of the lubricant includes molecules with different structure and structure. The oil can only work at a certain temperature range.


A mixture of synthetics with mineral water in certain proportions. On their properties almost not different from synthetics. Has an affordable cost.

How foreign lubricants are designated

According to the SAE standard, all motor lubricants are divided into several classes, in which the main parameter is viscosity.


It is marked by the letter W. it is placed Before the figure, for example, 20W. If you subtract 20 from 35, get the value of the temperature at which a lubricant remains fluid and thickens. In other words, 35-20=15. That is, the temperature threshold is minus 15 degrees.


The abbreviation SAE is applied. Then write a figure showing the maximum value of the temperature at which the properties of the oil will remain unchanged. For example, SAE 50, the liquid can work normally at a temperature of plus 45 degrees.


Lubricant having the properties of the previous two classes. Denoted by summer and winter indicator, which are separated by a dash. For example, the designation 5w — 30, says that the liquid can be operated in the range from +25 to – 30 degrees.

ACEA standard marking

This classification takes into account the design of European engines, as well as their characteristics. According to the standard oils are divided into the following types:

Gasoline engines – A.
Cars – B.
For diesel and gasoline plants, equipped with exhaust catalytic Converter — C.
For heavily loaded diesel machines — E.

API marking

Takes into account the year of manufacture of the car, as well as the type of fuel. For gasoline power units adopted the following marking:

SC – vehicles manufactured before 1964

SD machine, released from 1964 to 1968

SE – for vehicles 1969-1972 year of manufacture.

SF – cars that came off the Assembly line in the period 1972 -1973

SG – for vehicles operating in very difficult conditions, released in 1989 – 1994

SH – for «graduates» 1995 – 1996, operated in extreme conditions.

SJ – for cars 1997 – 2000 release. The oil is distinguished by its energy-saving characteristics.

SL – modern cars made in the 21st century, characterized by an increased period of replacement of lubricating fluid.

Marking for diesel installations

CB – the fuel contains a large amount of sulfur. The car was manufactured until 1961.

SS – designed for power plants operating in extreme conditions. Can be used in machines manufactured before 1983.

CD – used on vehicles manufactured before 1990, running on fuel containing a large amount of sulfur.

CE – designed for turbocharged vehicles manufactured before 1990.

CF – for vehicles after 1990, equipped with a turbine.

CG-4 – is intended for machines, issued later 1994.

CH-4 – for highly toxic motors. It is used in vehicles manufactured after 1998.

CI-4 – used in the latest turbocharged engines.

In principle, the American engine oil designation system corresponds to the European marking. But in Europe, higher requirements are imposed on lubricating fluids. Very often, a lubricant that meets European standards is much better than the American one.