Over the past decade, oil specification and types have become more complicated than ever

With industry and manufacturer specifications to consider such as viscosity, base oil, fuel economy, exhaust treatment systems and of course warranty, it is no wonder people are confused about what is the correct product to buy.
With many manufacturers demanding an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) approval to preserve new vehicle warranties, in this article Australia’s own Penrite Oil explains the importance of such approvals and how their ongoing development ensures the right product for the right application.

What is an OEM approval?
An OEM approval is a confirmation in writing that the vehicle manufacturer has approved a product for warranty use on a vehicle where that particular products meets and exceeds the manufacturer specifications that the OEM specifies.
For engine lubricants and coolants, this is extremely important as specifications change and are upgraded as new models are introduced. As such, Penrite warns an industry approval might not meet the requirements of the OEM and could jeopardise longevity, fuel economy and emission requirements.

Why are OEM approvals important?
Products that carry OEM approvals such as engine oils and coolants are important for maintaining a vehicle in prime condition. They are:
1) What the manufacturer specifies
2) Initial fill product
3) Compatible with OEM product
4) Meet manufacturers service intervals
5) Tested and approved for use by the vehicle manufacturer
6) They remove risk of a product that may not meet performance requirements
7) They can be used for warranty and non-warranty service
Penrite says lubricants and coolants that have OEM approvals can be superior to products with industry base claims as manufacturers set higher standards of performance for products used in their vehicles. This is why the vehicle manufacturers will encode product specifications with their own brand to distinguish its performance level instead of relying on the industry bodies to set the standards.
Australia has seen a significant change in the make up of the car parc over the past 10 years, as well as an increase in diesel engined passenger car and light commercial vehicles taking to the road. These vehicles require modern lubricants that assist the vehicle in meeting on-road regulatory compliances.
Both petrol and diesel powered vehicles are trending toward lower viscosity, fuel efficient and emissions friendly type lubricants.
Penrite Oil, in conjunction with its international trade partners, says it continues to produce an industry leading range of lubricants suitable for vehicles still covered by the manufacturer warranty. Penrite also has many oils that are API (American Petroleum Institute) industry licensed which it says ensures the products meet the latest industry standards.

How does Penrite obtain OEM approvals?
Penrite explains that it develops and blends lubricant products that meet – and often exceed – the performance requirements of the vehicle manufacturer.
The oil is then independently tested by the manufacturer. If it passes all tests, then the product may be provided an OEM approval by the vehicle maker for a particular specification. This may be for an engine oil, gearbox or transmission fluid or a coolant.
Once the manufacturer has approved the product, they will advise that the product is suitable for in-warranty service where that specification is required. The products will normally feature on their web based license registrations. This allows users to check that the product is approved or licensed for warranty service.

Why are OEM Approved products important to workshop and service centres?
Penrite says its OEM approved products remove the risk of the warranty being voided by the manufacturer should something go wrong with a vehicle during the warranty period.
The replacement cost of an item such as an engine in a European car can be upwards of $50,000. This cost does not consider mechanical work, hire car fees, inconvenience and bad consumer rapport for the service centre if such an occurrence happens.
Penrite warns that the service agent might think that the product they used met the manufacturer specifications when it does not, despite the claims of the oil company. Without an OEM approval on the product for the particular application or specification required by the OEM for a vehicle, the service centre could be responsible for a very large repair bill, it says.
Penrite says another reason to use its approved products is that they are guaranteed to meet the specifications required by the manufacturer. It says there are plenty of lubricants and coolants in the trade market that have unreal and unsubstantiated performance claims that cannot be chemically met by a single product and unlike in Europe, there are no governing bodies in Australia policing these claims.
As such, workshops and consumers need to be aware that the performance claims on a product may not actually be true and they risk damaging a vehicle by using these products.

Penrite says that something to watch out for are products that claim they can do every application. It says this is not chemically possible. Some examples of this are:
1) An oil that claims it is both ACEA A3/B4 and ACEA C3 specification. These two specifications cannot be met by the same oil in the current ACEA sequence (2016).
2) If an oil has an ACEA claim that it is A3/B4-04, then it is based on 2004 technology and not current additive technology – not really the product that should be used in a vehicle requiring a current 2016 ACEA grade oil.
3) An oil that claims it is API SN, ACEA A3/B4 and is an xW-30 grade or under. This is not chemically possible.
4) Oils that claim both petrol and diesel specifications for a major manufacturer.
5) Products that claim non-industry specification such as “Legacy Service Fill” or “Energy Conserving”. These are not recognised industry terms and a marketing exercise for the trader.
6) Oil companies that do not have recommendation guides for their products also feed off the ones that do which absolves them from issues should they arise as they have not actually recommended the product.
OEM or industry approvals do not just apply to the passenger car and light commercial automotive category. There are industry approvals for heavy duty engine oils, coolants, marine, agricultural and industrial sectors that use lubricants and coolants.
Penrite states its OEM approvals guarantee lubricant and coolant performance to ensure peace of mind for owners and service technicians.

To find out more about Penrite’s comprehensive range of approved products, visit or call 1300 736 748.