Engine oil glossary

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Do Engine Oil Additives Really Work?

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AAM - Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - Comprised of 10 North American manufacturers of passenger cars and light trucks. 
AOAP - Auto Oil Advisory Panel 
ACC - American Chemistry Council - A trade association representing North American chemical manufacturers 
ACEA - Association des Constructeurs Européens de l'Automobile - Association of European Automotive Manufacturers. 
ADDITIVE - Any material added to a base stock to change its properties, characteristics or performance. 
ADDITIVE COMPANY - A specialty chemicals business which produces ingredients which enhance the performance of base oils for specific purposes, such as lubricating passenger car engines. 
AERATION - Entrapment of air bubbles in a lubricant, which may lead to foaming and breakdown of the lubricant film. 
ANTIWEAR AGENTS - Additives or their reaction products, which form thin, tenacious films on highly loaded parts to prevent metal-to-metal contact. 
API - American Petroleum Institute - The primary trade organization representing the oil and natural gas industry. 
API LC - American Petroleum Institute Lubricants Committee - A group within API that is responsible for establishing Base Oil Interchange and Viscosity-Grade Read Across guidelines. 
ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials (now called ASTM International) - An organization involved in developing and publishing voluntary technical standards. 

BASE NUMBER - The amount of acid (perchloric or hydrochloric) needed to neutralize all or part of a lubricant's basicity, expressed as KOH equivalents. 
BASE OIL INTERCHANGE - Practice of testing in one base oil and extending the performance level achieved to additional base oils. Guidelines are established by API LC. 
BASE STOCK - The base fluid, usually a refined petroleum fraction or a selected synthetic material, into which additives are blended to produce finished lubricants. 
BIO FUEL - A fuel made from plant materials or refuse as opposed to petroleum. 
BMEP – Brake Mean Effective Pressure 
BOI - Base Oil Interchange 

CAFE - Corporate Average Fuel Economy 
CARB - California Air Resources Board 
CATALYTIC CONVERTER - An integral part of vehicle emission control systems since 1975. Oxidizing converters remove hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide (CO) from exhaust gases, while reducing converters control nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Both use noble metal (platinum, palladium or rhodium) catalysts that can be "poisoned" by lead or phosphorous compounds in the fuel or lubricant. 
CODE OF PRACTICE - ACC Petroleum Additives Product Approval Code of Practice - a set of practices that are used in the approval testing of an engine oil formulation. 

DEMULSIBILITY - A measure of a fluid's ability to separate from water. 
DETERGENT - A substance added to a fuel or lubricant to keep engine parts clean. In motor oil formulations, the most commonly used detergents are metallic soaps with a reserve of basicity to neutralize acids formed during combustion. 
DISPERSANT - An additive that helps keep solid contaminants in a crankcase oil in colloidal suspension, preventing sludge and varnish deposits on engine parts. Usually nonmetallic ("ashless"), and used in combination with detergents. 
DoD - Displacement on Demand - Shuts down cylinders when not needed typically during highway cruising. 

E85 - A mixture of base gasoline and fuel ethanol, containing 85% by volume of ethanol. 
EMISSIONS - The combustion of fuel leads to the emission of exhaust gases that may be regarded as pollutants. Water and CO2 are not included in this category but CO, NOx and hydrocarbons are subject to legislative control. All three are emitted by gasoline engines; diesel engines also emit particulates that are controlled. 
ENGINE DEPOSITS - Hard or persistent accumulation of sludge, varnish, lacquer and carbonaceous residues due to blow-by of unburned and partially burned fuel, or the partial breakdown of the crankcase lubricant. Water from the condensation of combustion products, carbon, residues from fuel or lubricating oil additives, dust and metal particles also contribute. 
EOLCS - Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System (EOLCS) - API's system that permits engine oil marketers that meet specified requirements to use the API Engine Oil Quality Marks. 
EPA - US Environmental Protection Agency - One function is measurement of vehicle fuel efficiency and exhaust gas discharge. 
ESCIT - Emission System Compatibility Improvement Team - An ASTM team responsible for establishing a method to minimize engine oil effects on emissions control systems. 

FE - Fuel Economy 
FFV - Flex Fuel Vehicle - A vehicle capable of running on a multiplicity of gasoline based fuels ranging from 100% gasoline to E85. 
FRICTION - Resistance to motion of one object over another. Friction depends on the smoothness of the contacting surfaces, as well as the force with which they are pressed together. 

GASOLINE - A volatile mixture of liquid hydrocarbons, containing small amounts of additives and suitable for use as a fuel in spark-ignition, internal-combustion engines. 
GASOLINE/ETHANOL BLEND - A spark-ignition automotive engine fuel containing denatured fuel ethanol in a base gasoline. It may be leaded or unleaded. 
GDI - Gasoline Direct Injection - A gasoline engine design that utilizes fuel injection directly into the combustion chamber. 

HCCI - Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition - Injection technology that improves gasoline fuel economy. 
HPR - High Phosphorous Retention - A property of engine oils measured by the Sequence IIIG engine test. 

ILMA - Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association - A trade organization that represents independent American lubricant manufacturers 
ILSAC - International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee - Established the "GF" series of passenger car engine oil specifications. ILSAC is composed of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). 
ILSAC/OIL - An entity of ILSAC, responsible for development and introduction of lubricant specification requirements.  ILSAC/OIL includes representatives from ILSAC, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and oil industry organizations including, the American Petroleum Institute (API), and the American Chemistry Council (ACC). 
INHIBITOR - Additive that improves the performance of a petroleum product by controlling undesirable chemical reactions, i.e. oxidation inhibitor, rust inhibitor, etc. 
ISO - International Organization for Standardization www.iso.org 

JALOS - Japan Lubricating Oil Society JALOS English page 
JAMA - Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Inc. www.jama-english.jp 
JASO - Japanese Automotive Standards Organization (JASO) – English version 

LSPI – Low Speed Pre-Ignition - Uncontrolled combustion that takes place in the combustion chamber prior to spark in gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines. 

MULTIGRADE OIL - Engine or gear oil that meets the requirements of more than one SAE viscosity grade classification, and that can be used over a wider temperature range than a single grade oil. 
MY - Model Year - The year of manufacture for a vehicle. 

NEUTRALIZATION NUMBER - A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of an oil. The number is the mass in milligrams of the amount of acid (HCl) or base (KOH) required to neutralize one gram of oil. 
NHTSA - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Controls matters relating to safety on North American highways.  Also responsible for regulation of CAFE (fuel economy) standards. 
NVH - Noise, Vibration and Harshness - A general term which covers undesirable noise and vibration experienced by vehicle occupants. 

OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer - A company which produces passenger vehicles or major components of those vehicles such as the engines, transmissions, etc. 
OIL - An industry group comprised of the oil marketers and additive manufacturers. The OIL part of the ILSAC/OIL Committee. 
OIL MARKETER - A business dedicated to the development and marketing of lubricants for commercial and consumer equipment. Oil marketers and their additive company partners work closely with OEMs to develop lubricants which allow equipment to function. 
OXIDATION - Occurs when oxygen attacks petroleum fluids. The process is accelerated by heat, light, metal catalysts and the presence of water, acids, or solid contaminants. It leads to increased viscosity and deposit formation. 
OXIDATION INHIBITOR - Substance added in small quantities to a petroleum product to increase its oxidation resistance, thereby lengthening its service or storage life; also called antioxidant. 
OXIDATION STABILITY - Resistance of a petroleum product to oxidation and, therefore, a measure of its potential service or storage life. 

PAPTG - Product Approval Protocol Task Group - A committee from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) that reviews new lubricant test procedures and proposed performance limits. This group also administers the Product Approval Code of Practice. 
PCEOCP - Passenger Car Engine Oil Classification Panel 
Petroleum Additives Panel - ACC group of active developers, manufacturers and marketers of performance enhancing chemicals for use in automotive and industrial lubricants. 
PHOSPHOROUS - A chemical element used extensively in motor oil additives to protect the engine. Volatile phosphorous which escapes from the engine into the emissions control system shortens its useful life. Improving emission system durability is an important part of GF-5 requirements. Ensuring phosphorous is retained in the engine is the subject of a new Sequence IIIG test. 

ROBO TEST - An oil oxidation bench test for assessing the low temperature viscosity of the oil after it has been "aged". 
RUST PREVENTATIVE - Compound for coating metal surfaces with a film that protects against rust. Commonly used to preserve equipment in storage. 

SAE - Society of Automotive Engineers 
SEAL COMPATIBILITY - Ability of a lubricant formulation to not influence the physical dimensions and/or properties of any elastomer seals it comes in contact with. 
SEQUENCE IIIG TEST - A standardized engine test for measurement of the high temperature performance of engine oils. 
SEQUENCE VID TEST- A standardized engine test under development for measurement of the fuel efficiency effects of engine oils. 
SLUDGE - A thick, dark residue, normally of mayonnaise consistency, that accumulates on nonmoving engine interior surfaces. Generally removable by wiping unless baked to a carbonaceous consistency, its formation is associated with insolubles overloading of the lubricant. 

TEOST - A bench test for assessing the tendency of an oil to form high temperature deposits. 
TGDI - Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection 
TURBOCHARGER - A mechanical device on the engine for boosting the intake air volume and therefore the power output of the engine. 

VARNISH - A thin, insoluble, non-wipeable film occurring on interior engine parts. Can cause sticking and malfunction of close-clearance moving parts. Called lacquer in diesel engines. 
VCR - Variable Compression Ration 
VCT - Variable Cam Timing 
VISCOSITY - A measure of a fluid's resistance to flow. 
VISCOSITY INDEX (VI) - Relationship of viscosity to the temperature of a fluid. It is determined by measuring the kinematic viscosities of the oil at 40° and 100°C and using the tables or formulas included in ASTM D 2270. High viscosity index fluids tend to display less change in viscosity with temperature than low viscosity index fluids. 
VISCOSITY-GRADE READ ACROSS - Practice of testing in one viscosity grade and extending the performance level achieved to additional viscosity grades. Guidelines established by API LC. 
VGRA - Viscosity-Grade Read Across 
VISCOSITY MODIFIER - Lubricant additive, usually a polymer, whose function is to provide beneficial rheological properties to lubricating oils, such as reducing the tendency of an oil's viscosity to change with temperature. 
VVT - Variable Valve Timing 

ZINC, ZDP, ZDDP - Commonly used names for zinc dithiophosphate, an antiwear/oxidation inhibitor chemical.