International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC)

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA) and the American Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (AAMA), Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, work together through an organization called the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC). Under ILSAC, this group jointly develops and approves ILSAC GF-x performance standards for engine lubricants for use in spark-ignited internal combustion engines. Development and use of ILSAC specifications began in the 1990s. Lubricants conforming to ILSAC specifications display the API Certification Mark, also known as the ILSAC Starburst.

While the Starburst remains the same for engine Lubricants complying with ILSAC, the specification upgrades are identified by GF-x codes (i.e. current GF-5). These codes are often referred to in product label text or in printed product data sheets in order to communicate the version of ILSAC specification with which a product conforms. Older ILSAC specifications become obsolete as newer ones are developed and the performance defined by newer specifications is acceptable for applications where older versions are specified. Many ILSAC members only specify engine lubricant requirements by ILSAC specification or the starburst. API specifications are often no longer even quoted in owners’ manuals.

Another unique feature of the ILSAC system is that its performance requirements are limited to 0W-xx, 5W-xx, 10W-xx engine lubricant viscosity grades that actually pass the ILSAC requirements. So there can never be an ILSAC approved 15W-40 as this grade is not included in the ILSAC definition. So where a manufacturer recommends an ILSAC approved engine lubricant they are not only specifying engine performance, but also restricting the viscosity grades of lubricant used to those specified by the latest ILSAC definition.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the ILSAC standard, it is the lubricant marketer’s responsibility to be aware of and comply with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements on substance use restrictions, labeling, and health and safety information when marketing products meeting ILSAC GF-x standard. It is also the marketer’s responsibility to conduct its business in a manner, which represents minimum risk to consumers and the environment.

Diesel engine lubricants are not covered; under current ILSAC specification, but may be the topic of future discussions between ILSAC and groups representing diesel engine builders.