ATIEL position on claims made against retired ACEA Sequences
ATIEL provides this position statement as a service to its members. It is based upon its understanding of the ACEA European Oil Sequences; only ACEA can give an authoritative interpretation.
The ACEA European Oil Sequences have been in use since the mid-1990s and, during that time, there have been many changes to engine and bench testing requirements as the sequences, and specifications contained within them, have evolved. This has resulted in the retirement and withdrawal of some sequences.
Some sequences are updated as testing requirements evolve but the severity of the particular sequence has not been changed. For example, ACEA A3/B4 has evolved over time but is backwards compatible with all previous versions of the ACEA A3/B4 sequence (i.e. ACEA A3/B4 from ACEA 2016 is backwards compatible with all previous versions of ACEA A3/B4).
But where a sequence is retired, ACEA does not provide an indication as to which current sequence is to be used as a replacement. For example, ACEA A1/B1 was withdrawn with the introduction of ACEA 2016 but there is no indication in the ACEA 2016 Sequences of which sequence replaces ACEA A1/B1. It requires detailed knowledge of the sequences to understand what could be used in its place.
For several years ATIEL has provided guidance on its website on how oil marketers should handle retired ACEA claims. This is because the handbooks of many vehicles recommend an engine lubricant for a sequence that has been retired, leaving the end-user or even garage/workshop unsure of what to use as a substitute. Even though the required Sequence is obsolete, it is still fit for purpose for changing the engine oil if this is a requirement in the vehicle handbook.
ATIEL’s advice to markerters is that, to make a claim against a retired ACEA sequence, the claim must be made against the last time the sequence was published in the ACEA Sequences and that all testing requirements for that sequence must be met. For example, ACEA A1/B1 can still be claimed as long as the testing requirements in ACEA 2012 have been passed. It is not acceptable to claim ACEA A1/B1 against previous versions of the ACEA Sequences such as, but not limited to, ACEA 2010 or ACEA 2008.
Another example is ACEA E2, which last appeared in ACEA 2007 as E2-96 issue 5. In this case, in order to meet the requirements of ACEA E2, the formulation must pass all the requirements of the sequence from the ACEA 2007 issue. If the tests are no longer available, older formulations are likely to be valid, but no new formulations meeting E2-96 issue 5 can be brought to the market as the testing requirements cannot be fulfilled.
The full ATIEL advice can be found here along with further details on making the correct ACEA claim on product labels and marketing material.