Ask The Best And Brightest: Can We Talk About Dexos1 And API Testing Standards?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
ask the best and brightest can we talk about dexos1 and api testing standards

We smell a trademark fight

This Autoweek article gave me a college flashback: when UT Austin’s Petroleum Engineers offered me a scholarship, but the Mechanical Engineers said no dice. Mostly because high tech, high mileage oil talk is rather boring. Much like discussing a cutting edge, long-life coolant before the Dex-Cool fiasco. So let’s open a can of worms for the Best and Brightest, and hit the high points of General Motor’s Dexos1, a somewhat revolutionary engine oil with a distinct lack of testing from the American Petroleum Institute. As per Autoweek, matters stand like this:

The main difference between Dexos1, which is a GM-licensed brand, and GF-5 oils is testing. To be certified as GF-5, the oil needs to pass a variety of chemistry and engine tests set by the American Petroleum Institute.

But GM’s testing for Dexos1 uses some tests mandated by the ACEA, the European automobile manufacturers association, in place of the American Petroleum Institute tests. For example, Dexos1 oil has to pass Mercedes-Benz’s sludge and fuel-economy tests and Opel’s test for the ability to work under foaming conditions, known as aeration.

I wonder if Dexos1 shall pass VW and Toyota’s sludge tests. I mean, those two gotta have some standards by now. But I digress.

GF-5-certified oils that do not undergo the same tests are subjected to the American Petroleum Institute’s equivalent to be certified.

Right. So should we even care about API’s GF-5 test? I think I know GM’s answer. And I can hear lawyers foaming at the mouth, formulating their (hyped) class-action lawsuits already. Conversely, everybody loves (GM’s awesome blend of) synchromesh much like our love of the TV show starring Ray Romano. Perhaps we won’t know the real truth without 5 years of real world testing under our collective belts.

Government regulations that call for lower exhaust emissions and higher fuel economy are the drivers behind the new generation of engine oil. GM’s powertrain fuel and lubrication engineers began working on Dexos1 in 2006. The goal was to set an oil specification that met the requirements of all GM vehicles and powertrains globally.

So why bother with regional oil certifications? As platforms consolidate globally, engineering standards should (could?) combine the extreme needs of all continents. Then again, according to my wrench-turning sources, the original Opel/Cadillac Catera’s heat-averse timing gear would beg to differ. One size fits all is a scary proposition.

Have at it, Best and Brightest. We want to hear your slickest comments.

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  • Contrarian Contrarian on Oct 19, 2010

    The more recent generations of Candains are mostly converted to metric. Peoples' heights are one exception, but most of them (unless they spend time in the US or live near the border media) don't know inches and Fahrenheit. 20C is a nice day in the Big Smoke these days. Many Canadians are of recent immigrant status who also come from metric countries. Because of my personal history, I'm "fluent" in both.

  • Mikey Mikey on Oct 19, 2010

    Last week,while in the U.S. I had a sixteen ounce aluminum bottle at four dollars U.S.? This week, in my own country I have to settle for 341ml glass bottle at 4.25 CDN. With the exchange at par....I prefer the American system.

  • Redapple2 Why does anyone have to get permission to join? Shouldnt the rules to race in a league be straight forward like. Build the car to the specs. Pay the race entry fee. Set the starting grid base on time trials.?Why all the BS?I cant watch F1 any more. No refuel. Must use 2 different types of tires. Rare passing. Same team wins every week. DRS only is you are this close and on and on with more BS. Add in the skysports announcer that sounds he is yelling for the whole 90 minutes at super fast speed. I m done. IMSA only for me.
  • Redapple2 Barra at evil GM is not worth 20 mill/ yr but dozens (hundreds) of sports players are. Got it. OK.
  • Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?
  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
  • SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?