New Generation Of Motor Oil Mandated For 2011 Cars

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
new generation of motor oil mandated for 2011 cars

[Update: Ooops; I didn’t notice that Sajeev already has a post questioning these oils’ testing regime. In case you missed it, or just want the heads up before you join that discussion, here it is, in the less-controversial version]

Few subjects stir up more controversy than motor oil. Now it’s time for the latest perpetual changing of the current required new oil for new cars. AutoNews reports that GM, Ford and Chrysler are making the switch to a new generation of oils for their 2011 vehicles, known by their grading as GF-5, SN, or in GM’s case, Dexos 1. Be aware: using any oil other than one of these may void the powertrain warranty. (I might have thought GM would have retired the “Dex” moniker).

As usual, the new grade are designed to help engines run more efficiently, protect from wear, handle heat associated with turbocharging, and extend oil change intervals. The difference between GF-5 and Dexos? Testing. GF-5 is an American Petroleum Institute (API) testing protocol, while Dexos, a GM licensed-brand, uses parts of the European ACEA testing protocol. Dexos has to meet Mercedes’ as well as Opel’s requirements.

The new GF-5 oils are available in both conventional and synthetic formulations, but the Dexos1 is only made as a synthetic. There are already certain oils on the market that meet the new GF-5 and Dexos1 designation, like Pennzoil Platinum and Quaker State Ultimate Durability.

Longer oil change intervals are part of the equation. GM doesn’t give a specific interval recommendation other than the oil-monitor’s, or specific driving conditions. Ford says 10k mile intervals are now ok. Somebody please let Jiffy Lube in on this.

And it’s ok to new use the new oils in older cars, just in case you were wondering.

Join the conversation
3 of 64 comments
  • William442 William442 on Oct 20, 2010

    My local Honda dealer changes the oil once a year for nothing, so I don'care what they put in it. The AMG gets Mobil 1 every 10,000 miles, and never needs oil between changes. Maybe motor oil is just motor oil. Sorry Sigmund.

  • TR4 TR4 on Oct 20, 2010

    On a recent trip to the Tampa area I was down a quart. The only oils at the gas station I was at were rated SA and SB i.e. non-detergent. Makes me wonder what kind of cheap crap the quick change places use.

    • Nikita Nikita on Oct 20, 2010

      Usually, if there is a brand sign on the place, the oil in the tanks is genuine. Shell (owner of Pennzoil/Quaker State) has a program to make sure shops with a Pennzoil sign actually have Pennzoil in the bulk tanks. They do take legal action if that is not the case.

  • Analoggrotto Too much of the exterior is shared with the Grand Highlander. Toyota/Lexus is clearly over extended here as this was rushed in direct response to the Kia Telluride which has decimated RX sales. Lexus was not such a major offender of just changing the front and rear end caps on a lesser Toyota model (this worked for LX / Land Cruiser as the latter is already expensive) but for such a mass market vehicle, buyers will notice and may just go to Toyota (or Kia) for their big SUV.
  • Crtfour I'm a BOF SUV fan. In my opinion it's certainly not a looker (but what is these days). But it does look the part and should be great off road. Plus kudos to Toyota for retaining actual shift levers. So I give it a thumbs up.
  • Theflyersfan UX Hybrid, NX, NX Hybrid, NX Plug-In Hybrid EV, RZ, RX, RX Hybrid, RX 500h, GX, LX, and now the TX. (source: the bloated section of the Lexus SUV site) It's looking like the Taco Bell menu over there - the same dozen ingredients mixed around to make a lineup. I'm waiting for something like the WX to compete with the Chevy Trax and maybe the LXXXL to compete with the Hummer EV and maybe a four row crossover in 2025 and a lower-cased line like the rx or nx to compete with the German CUV-"coupes" and their slashed tops and cargo areas. C'mon Lexus, there are more micro-niches to be filled! Gather your boardroom committees together and come up with another plan! And careless parent alert: shouldn't that kid be in a booster seat? I mean in my age, we sat in the way back of station wagons on the flat floor and bounced around with every curve, but these days you gotta deck your kid out in 50 pounds of pads and bubble wrap before they leave the driveway, so get that child seat in the way back right now!
  • 28-Cars-Later Nice minivan, just add the sliding doors and quit living in denial.
  • Zerofoo You will own nothing....