The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and major engine manufacturers have agreed on ambitious new goals for fuel economy and emissions in future medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. To meet these goals without any compromise in engine protection, a new generation of diesel engine oils is required. First licensing is December 1, 2016. 

What is PC-11?

PC-11 stands for Proposed Category 11. The new PC-11 Heavy Duty Engine Oils (HDEO), now called CK-4 and FA-4, due in December of 2016, will surpass current CJ-4 oil technology.

Why do we need a new oil standard?

Oil technology and engine technology go hand in hand. Changing regulatory limits challenge engine manufacturers to reduce emissions. As engine manufacturers begin to create a new generation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient diesel engines, they need a new generation of higher-performing diesel engine oils to protect them. And they need to know those oils will be available throughout the country to every diesel engine owner.

What’s the difference between CK-4/FA-4 heavy duty engine oils and current engine oils?

In order to meet goals for more fuel-efficient engines and fewer emissions, many next-generation engines will run at higher operating temperatures. This will require changes in engine oil composition, so they can withstand more heat without sacrificing engine protection.

It will also mean that instead of one category of engine oils, we’ll have two – CK-4 and FA-4. CK-4 engine oils will be a direct replacement for the engine oils you’re using now. You’ll be able to buy the same viscosity grades and oil types (conventional, full synthetic, synthetic blend) you’re using now, and they’ll be “backwards compatible” to ALL current vehicles. They’ll just also conform to the new PC-11 standards.

The new FA-4 engine oils will be offered in lower viscosity grades and are designed primarily for next-generation engines to help maximize fuel economy without sacrificing engine protection. These FA-4 oils may have limited backwards compatibility2 and would be labeled as such. Oil companies and OEMs are currently testing these products in a range of applications to demonstrate without sacrificing engine protection.

Here are other major differences you can expect to see in CK-4 and FA-4 oils.

Fuel Economy

As PC-11 engine oils get closer to arriving, you may hear the term High Temperature High Shear (HTHS) viscosity. CK4 oils are being referred to inside the industry as “High HTHS” engine oils, and FA-4 oils are being referred to as “Low HTHS” oils. These Low HTHS FA-4 oils are being designed to provide fuel economy above and beyond current CJ-4 and FA-4 oils through the use of thinner viscosity fluids.

Shear Stability

Shear stability is the ability of the oil molecules to resist shearing under severe stress inside the engine. Oil shearing results in a lower viscosity, and excessive viscosity loss could impact the ability of the oil to protect vital engine parts. The new PC-11 standards call for improvements in shear stability versus CJ-4 oils. New, more stringent shear stability test limits are being developed to validate that each oil’s shear stability meets the new guidelines.

Oxidation Stability

Oxidation is one of the primary causes of oil breakdown and is accelerated by higher operating temperatures. The next generation of engines are being designed to run hotter. So, PC-11 standards call for improved oxidation stability versus CJ-4 oils.

Download these materials to help you better understand the new category of heavy duty engine oils and what it can mean for your trucks and your business.

What Does PC-11 Mean For My Truck? 

Let’s cut to the chase: What’s in it for me?

Anticipated benefits from PC-11 engine oils could be different for every type of user. Pick what best describes your use and see how you may benefit:

Technology Behind PC-11 

Developing a new engine oil technology

The Shell Approach

Developing new engine oils to meet the requirements of a new category like PC-11 is a major undertaking. Which is why Shell has put the full resources of its global research centers at the disposal of the scientists and engineers responsible for these next generation diesel engine oils. In the years since PC-11 was initially proposed, Shell has actively explored and prototyped numerous formulations. This has meant running thousands of laboratory tests to identify new technologies for PC-11, and then stress testing the most promising ones through millions of miles of real-world field-testing across fleet, construction, agriculture and DPU applications. All to ensure that by the time you can buy them, the new engine oils will do everything you expect of them. Here’s a window into what Shell is doing to develop its new ROTELLA® PC-11 Heavy Duty Engine Oils (HDEOs).

Viscosity Facts

In severe conditions, such as extreme hot or cold, your engine oil plays a role in protecting your engine and delivering fuel economy.

Engine Oil viscosity is modified by temperature. If viscosity is too thick there can be a reduction in fuel economy due to increased effort to pump the oil. If viscosity is too thin there can be an increase in wear. The best way to protect an engine from these events is to follow OEM recommendations for fill and oil drain interval.

The table below illustrates the accepted OEM recommendations for heavy duty applications.

OEM 15W-40* 10W-30*
Caterpillar Yes Yes Yes
Cummins Yes Yes Yes
Detroit Diesel Yes Yes Yes
John Deere Yes Yes Yes
Navistar Yes Yes Yes
PACCAR Yes Yes Yes
Volvo Yes Yes Yes

Frequently Asked Questions:

* Always follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation for the oil type and viscosity grade.

** Still pending finalization.

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