Mobil 1™ motor oils provide outstanding LSPI protection.

Low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI): 4 things you should know

Today’s engines are smaller, more efficient, more advanced and more powerful. But those engines, especially turbocharged gasoline direct-injection (TGDI) engines, also create extreme operating conditions, which make them more susceptible to something called LSPI.

1. LSPI can damage your turbocharged engine. But Mobil 1™ motor oils can help prevent engine damage by providing outstanding LSPI protection.

LSPI creates excessive pressure within the engine’s cylinders, which can cause permanent damage to cylinder walls, pistons, piston rings, connecting rods and spark plugs. The internal engine damage caused by LSPI can also lead to catastrophic engine failure.

Outstanding LSPI protection: Mobil 1™ motor oil
Piston head damaged by LSPI and one without damage

2. LSPI involves abnormal combustion.

LSPI is not something your engine was designed to do. LSPI or “super knock” is an abnormal combustion event that can occur in TGDI engines. This event can take place when the air-fuel mixture ignites before the spark plug fires.

LSPI typically occurs when an engine is under high load at low rpm (i.e., driving slowly and then rapidly accelerating). LSPI is caused by particles or droplets of fuel and oil that ignite in the combustion chamber. Unlike the engine knocking sound associated with bad spark plugs, ignition timing issues or by using the wrong type of fuel, LSPI is known to create a distinctively loud bang.

Inside the engine: LSPI vs. Normal combustion
Animation of normal engine combustion and LSPI abnormal combustion

3. API SP was developed to help prevent LSPI.

The oil formulations for API SP are specifically designed to help prevent LSPI in TGDI engines. API SP represents an improvement on API SN, an oil category developed in 2010.

Learn about GF-6, the newest ILSAC engine oil performance standard.

4. Mobil 1 motor oils are so advanced they met the API SP performance standard since 2010.

Many Mobil 1 motor oils met the API SP performance standard before the licensed start date, making those full synthetic oils more than 10 years ahead of their time for providing protection against LSPI.

Today, the following motor oils fulfill the API SP specification: