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SAE GRADES (Society of Automotive Engineers U.S.A.) FOR MOTOR OILS​

Classify oils exclusively by their viscosity. The W degrees (W = Winter) for the maximum pumping temperature and viscosity at -18º C and 100º C, and the normal degrees for their viscosity at 99º C. Each SAE number covers oils of different viscosities (0W, 5W, 10W, 20, 30, 40, 50). The tests are carried out according to the SAE J-300 standard.

SAE GRADES (Society of Automotive Engineers U.S.A.) FOR GEARS

The SAE grade scale for gear oils differs quite a bit from those for motor oils, although it also classifies oils exclusively by their viscosity (75W, 80W, 90, 140, 250). These oils are tested in accordance with SAE J-306.

API CLASSIFICATION (American Petroleum Institute)

Classify both motor and transmission oils, according to the type of service for which they are intended (this is the Third Classification edited by API):


  • SD · 1968 – 1971 Severe Service.
  • SE · 1971 – 1972 Severe Service.
  • SF · 1980 Severe Service.
  • SG · 1989 Injection or turbocharged.
  • SH · 1992 EC (Fuel saver).
  • SJ · 1996 EC and low contamination.
  • SL · 2001 EC and low lubricant consumption.
  • TC · For air-cooled 2-stroke gasoline mixing engines.


  • CD · Supercharged and diesel with high sulphide content.
  • CE · Supercharged and Severe Services. SHPD.
  • CF · Supercharged, Severe Services and high speed SHPD.
  • CF-4 · Exceeds CE at high revs, in low sulphide diesel.
  • CG-4 · Heavy duty in low sulphide diesel and hydraulic injection pumps.
  • CH-4 · Exceeds CG-4 with new piston deposit and oxidation tests..
  • CF-2 · For 2-stroke Diesel engines.


  • GL-4 · For hypoid type gears. Severe Services. Low load and no high speed or high load and low speed.
  • GL-5 · For hypoid type gears. They are the most used today in the automotive industry. Severe Services. E.P. (Extreme Pressure).

MIL-SPEC CLASIFICATION: L (North American Military Specifications)

Issued by USAF. Due to their care and development and excellent quality, they have been imposed throughout the world and especially in the countries belonging to NATO.

CLASSIFICATION CCMC (Committee of Builders of the Common Market)

Classify oils according to their quality and behaviour in servce. They are divided into three series or groups followed by a number (1, 2, 3, …) that indicate the level of protection and use:

  • G · Series of standards for petrol engines.
  • D · Series of standards for Heavy Diesel engines.
  • PD · Series of standards for Diesel Passenger Car engines.

ACEA CLASSIFICATION (Association of European Automobile Manufacturers)

Since 1996, they also establish three groups of standards, differentiating their use and quality level. In 98, all ACEA standards were improved and renamed, incorporating greater requirements aimed at saving fuel:

  • A · Series of standards for petrol engines.
  • B · Series of standards for Diesel passenger car engines.
  • E · Series of standards for Heavy Diesel engines.

PDF, Especificaciones de los aceites.

PDF, Oils specifications.