Motor Oil: API Service Categories

SA – Utility Gasoline and Gasoline Engine Service (Obsolete)
For older engines operated under such mild conditions that the protection afforded by compounded oils is not required. This classification has no performance requirements, and oils in this category should not be used in any engines unless specifically recommended by the engine manufacturer.

SB – Minimum Gasoline Engine Service (Obsolete)
For older engines operated under such mild conditions that only minimum protection afforded by compounding is desired. Oils designed for this service have been used since the 1930s and provide only mild anti scuff capability and resistance to oxidation and bearing corrosion. They should not be used in any engines unless specifically recommended by the engine manufacturer.

SC – 1964 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service (Obsolete)
For gasoline engines in 1964 through 1967 models of passenger cars and some trucks, operating under engine manufacturers’ warranties in effect during those model years. Oils designed for this service provide control of high and low temperature deposits, wear, rust and corrosion in gasoline engines.

SD – 1968 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service (Obsolete)
For gasoline engines in 1968 through 1970 models of passenger cars and some trucks, operating under engine manufacturers’ warranties in effect during those model years. This category may also apply to certain 1971 or later models as specified (or recommended) in the owners’ manuals. Oils designed for this service provide more protection against high and low-temperature deposits, wear, rust and corrosion in gasoline for API Service Category SC and may be used when API Engine Service Category SC is recommended.

SE – 1972 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service (Obsolete)
For gasoline engines in passenger cars and some trucks beginning 1972 and certain 1971 through 1979 models operating under engine manufacturers’ warranties. Oils designed for this service provide more protection against oil oxidation, high-temperature engine deposits, rust and corrosion in gasoline engines than oils that are satisfactory for API Engine Categories SD or SC and may be used where either of these categories is recommended.

SF – 1980 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service (Obsolete)
For gasoline engines in passenger cars and some trucks beginning with 1980 through 1989 models operating under engine manufacturers’ recommended maintenance procedures. Oils developed for this service provide increased oxidation stability and improved anti-wear performance relative to oils that meet the minimum requirements of API Service Category SE. These oils also provide protection against engine deposits, rust and corrosion. Oils meeting this API Service Category may be used where API Engine Service Categories SE, SD, or SC are recommended.

SG – 1989 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service (Obsolete)
For gasoline engines in present passenger cars, vans and light trucks operating under manufacturers’ recommended maintenance procedures. Category SG oils include the performance properties of API Service Category CC, (Certain manufacturers of gasoline engines require oils that also meet the higher diesel engine Category CD.) Oils developed for this service provide improved control of engine deposits, oil oxidation, and developed for previous categories. These oils also provide protection against rust and corrosion. Oils meeting API Service Categories SF, SE, SF/CC, or SE/CC are recommended.

SH – 1994 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service (Obsolete)
Adopted in 1992 to describe engine oil first mandated in 1993. It is for use in service typical of cars, vans and light trucks operating under vehicle manufacturers’ recommended maintenance procedures. Engine oils developed for this category provide performance exceeding the minimum requirements of API Service Category SG, which it is intended to replace, in the areas of deposit control, oil oxidation, wear, rust, and corrosion. Oils meeting API SH requirements have been tested according to the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) Product Approval Code of Practice and may utilize the API Base Oil Interchange and Viscosity Grade Engine Testing Guidelines. They may be used where API Service Category SG and earlier categories are recommended.

SJ – 1997 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service
Adopted in 1996, describes engine oil first mandated in 1997 for use in gasoline engines passenger cars, vans, and light trucks operating under vehicle manufacturers’ recommended maintenance procedures. Oils meeting API SJ requirements have been tested according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC) product Approval Code of Practice and may utilize the API Base Oil Interchange and Viscosity Grade Engine Testing Guidelines. They may be used where API Service Category SH and earlier
categories are recommended.

SL – 2001 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service
Introduced July 1, 2001. It is for use in gasoline engines in passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks operating under vehicle manufacturers’ recommended maintenance procedures. Oils meeting API SL requirements have been tested according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC) Product Approval Code of Practice and may be utilize the Base Oil interchange and Viscosity Grade Engine Testing Guidelines. They may be used where API Service Category SJ and earlier categories are recommended. SL oils are designed to provide better high-temperature deposit control and lower oil consumption.

SM – 2004 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service
Introduced in 2004 for use in gasoline engines 2004-2010 (and older) passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks operating under vehicle manufacturers’ recommended maintenance procedures. SM oils are being designed to provide better oxidative control, deposit protection and improved fuel economy performance along with further reduction in sulfur and phosphorous levels. Some of these grades may also meet the latest ILSAC specification and/or qualify as Energy Conserving.

SN – 2010 Gasoline Engine Warranty Maintenance Service (Current)
Current category specification, introduced in 2010 for use in gasoline engines for passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks operating under vehicle manufacturers’ recommended maintenance procedures. SN oils are designed to provide improved high temperature deposit protection for pistons, more stringent sludge control, and seal compatibility. Some of these grades may also meet the latest ILSAC GF-5 specification and/or qualify as Resource Conserving combining API SN with improved fuel economy, turbocharger protection, emission control system compatibility, and protection of engines operating on ethanol-containing fuels up to E85.