Oil classifications

The current and previous API Service Categories are listed below. Vehicle owners should refer to their owner’s manuals before consulting these charts. Oils may have more than one performance level.

For automotive gasoline engines, the latest engine oil service category includes the performance properties of each earlier category. If an automotive owner’s manual calls for an API SJ or SL oil, an API SM oil will provide full protection. For diesel engines, the latest category usually – but not always – includes the performance properties of an earlier category.

GASOLINE ENGINES
 Category
 Status Service
SM Current
For all automotive engines currently in use. Introduced in 2004, SM oils are designed to provide
improved oxidation resistance, improved deposit protection, better wear protection, and better
low-temperature performance over the life of the oil. Some SM oils may also meet the latest ILSAC
specification and/or qualify as Energy Conserving.
SL Current
For 2001 and older automotive engines.
SJ
Current
For 2001 and older automotive engines.
SH Obsolete For 1996 and older engines.
SG Obsolete For 1993 and older engines.
SF Obsolete
For 1988 and older engines.
SE
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1979.
SD
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1971.
Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.
SC
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1967.
Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.
SB
Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1951.
Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.
SA
Obsolete
CAUTION: Contains no additives. Not suitable for use in gasoline-powered automotive engines built
after 1930. Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.

Note: API intentionally omitted “SI” and “SK” from the sequence of categories.

 

DIESEL ENGINES
 Category
 Status Service
CJ-4 Current
Introduced in 2006. For high-speed, four-stroke engines designed to meet 2007 model year on-highway exhaust emission standards. CJ-4 oils are compounded for use in all applications with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 500 ppm (0.05% by weight). However, use of these oils with greater than 15 ppm (0.0015% by weight) sulfur fuel may impact exhaust aftertreatment system durability and/or oil drain interval. CJ-4 oils are effective at sustaining emission control system durability where particulate filters and other advanced aftertreatment systems are used. Optimum protection is provided for control of catalyst poisoning, particulate filter blocking, engine wear, piston deposits, low- and high-temperature stability, soot handling properties, oxidative thickening, foaming, and viscosity loss due to shear. API CJ-4 oils exceed the performance criteria of API CI-4 with CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4 and CF-4 and can effectively lubricate engines calling for those API Service Categories. When using CJ-4 oil with higher than 15 ppm sulfur fuel, consult the engine manufacturer for service interval.
CI-4  Current Introduced in 2002. For high-speed, four-stroke engines designed to meet 2004 exhaust emission standards implemented in 2002. CI-4 oils are formulated to sustain engine durability where exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is used and are intended for use with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 0.5% weight. Can be used in place of CD, CE, CF-4, CG-4, and CH-4 oils. Some CI-4 oils may also qualify for the CI-4 PLUS designation.
CH-4  Current Introduced in 1998. For high-speed, four-stroke engines designed to meet 1998 exhaust emission standards. CH-4 oils are specifically compounded for use with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 0.5% weight. Can be used in place of CD, CE, CF-4, and CG-4 oils.
CG-4 Obsolete
Introduced in 1995. For severe duty, high-speed, four-stroke engines using fuel with less than 0.5% weight sulfur. CG-4 oils are required for engines meeting 1994 emission standards. Can be used in place of CD, CE, and CF-4 oils.
CF-4 Obsolete
Introduced in 1990. For high-speed, four-stroke, naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines. Can be used in place of CD and CE oils.
CF-2 Obsolete Introduced in 1994. For severe duty, two-stroke-cycle engines. Can be used in place of CD-II oils.
CF Obsolete
Introduced in 1994. For off-road, indirect-injected and other diesel engines including those using fuel with over 0.5% weight sulfur. Can be used in place of CD oils.
CE Obsolete
Introduced in 1985. For high-speed, four-stroke, naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines. Can be used in place of CC and CD oils.
CD-II Obsolete Introduced in 1985. For two-stroke cycle engines.
CD Obsolete Introduced in 1955. For certain naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines.
CC Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in diesel-powered engines built after 1990.
CB Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in diesel-powered engines built after 1961.
CA Obsolete
CAUTION: Not suitable for use in diesel-powered engines built after 1959.