Why European Vehicles Require Specialized Lubricants

black European cars in line

European vehicles are known for their high performance and advanced technology, which requires specialized lubricants to maintain optimal function. As the market share of European vehicles has steadily grown since the turn of the century, owners of these vehicles have become high-value customers who are willing to invest in premium products and services. Most European vehicle owners prefer to visit a service center for maintenance rather than attempting to do it themselves, ensuring that their vehicles receive the specialized care they require.


Modern European vehicles are equipped with sensitive emissions-control devices that demand specialized lubricants for optimal performance. These vehicles require strict lubrication specifications with advanced motor oil technology that is predominantly synthetic based. Additionally, European vehicles have longer recommended drain intervals, making it crucial to use oil with unique properties to ensure proper operation of the emissions-control devices.

What are SAPS?

SAPS stands for Sulfated Ash, Phosphorus, and Sulfur, which are essential components of motor oil additives. These additives are responsible for improving the performance and emissions properties of the oil, including protection against wear and oxidation, as well as detergency. However, the required SAPS content varies depending on the type of engine, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Sulfated Ash, Phosphorus, and Sulfur are all important components in oil additives. Sulfated ash is the residue left behind when these additives burn, and they play a crucial role in maintaining the health and performance of an engine. Total base number (TBN), antioxidancy, antiwear, cleanliness, and soot handling are all benefits provided by these additives. Phosphorus is particularly important for its anti-wear properties and antioxidancy, while sulfur contributes to antioxidancy, anti-wear properties, and engine cleanliness.

Manufacturers Specify SAPS

In Europe, the ACEA sets standards for lubricants used in automobiles, much like the API does in the United States. However, the ACEA acknowledges that European engines have unique designs and operating conditions that differ from those in the U.S. As a result, European vehicle manufacturers often have their own specific requirements for motor oil performance in addition to the ACEA standards. These manufacturer-specified SAPS ensure that the lubricants used in their vehicles are optimized for their engines and operating conditions.


To meet the needs of modern European vehicles, it's important to use lubricants that are specifically designed for their sensitive systems. AMSOIL Synthetic European Motor Oil family offers different oils with varying SAPS content, which is important for European vehicles. However, since most consumers may not be familiar with SAPS, AMSOIL focuses on labeling their products based on specifications. The key factor in selecting the right oil for your vehicle is to match the specifications listed in the owner's manual. This ensures that you are using the correct oil that meets the requirements of your vehicle.

Importance of Formulation

Formulation is crucial when it comes to creating engine oils for European vehicles in North America. These vehicles often have sensitive emissions systems and turbochargers that generate high levels of heat, leading to oil oxidation. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider the SAPS content and other factors when formulating engine oils for these vehicles to ensure optimal performance and longevity.


AMSOIL Synthetic European Motor Oil is a high-performance oil that uses synthetic base oils and top-quality anti-wear additives to provide exceptional protection in extreme temperatures. Its thermally stable formulation resists deposit formation and cools turbochargers, ensuring reliable performance for extended drain intervals recommended by European manufacturers. With excellent detergency properties, it prevents sludge and varnish deposits, reduces oil consumption, and improves engine performance and longevity. Available in EZT, AFE, EFO, AEL, AFL, and EFM varieties. These oils come in three different options: full-SAPS, mid-SAPS, and low-SAPS, each tailored to meet the unique needs of different engines. All these oils are formulated to meet the strict specifications of European manufacturers, providing top-notch performance in all seasons, improved fuel efficiency, and superior protection for turbochargers and engine cleanliness.


While SAPS additives can provide many benefits to oil, it's important to note that higher concentrations of SAPS may not always be better. In fact, high levels of SAPS can harm expensive exhaust devices like diesel particulate filters and catalytic converters. So, it's important to find the right balance of SAPS in your oil to ensure optimal performance and protection for your engine and exhaust system.


Choosing the right motor oil can be a confusing task, especially when it comes to SAPS levels. European motor oils come in three different SAPS levels, and even the same viscosity motor oil can be available in low-, mid-, and full-SAPS variants. This can leave technicians and motorists unsure of which option to choose. It's important to understand the differences between these levels to ensure that you're using the correct motor oil for your vehicle.


When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, it's important to have knowledgeable technicians and service centers that understand the differences in products. This value-added service not only helps to earn trust but also ensures future business. To determine the right oil specifications for your vehicle, it's recommended to check the owner's manual provided by the manufacturer. Additionally, the Product Guides offer a quick and easy way to find the right AMSOIL products for your specific vehicle.


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