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What Does ‘SAE’ Stand For?

By Kimberlea Buczeke - March 30th 2017
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what does sae stand for
Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The Society of Automotive Engineers was created over 100 years ago to connect automotive engineers with each other, and quality information. This means nearly nothing to most people until they see SAE written on a bottle of oil, or on a tool.

Why is SAE Printed on Motor Oil?

Oil viscosity, also called ‘weight’ is the measure of how freely flowing a liquid is. The lower the viscosity of a liquid, the more free-flowing. Adversely, the higher the viscosity, the more an oil will attempt to remain true to a shape, and the more slowly it will flow.

Not only does the SAE grade oil by the characteristic of viscosity, but they create or approve oil designators to ensure that oil quality is universal. The ratings for your particular vehicle are found in the owner’s manual, however, a quick phone call to the dealer with your VIN will return the oil grade, type, and certifications necessary for your vehicle.

When looking for the certifications listed in your owner’s manual, you will find them in a circle labeled “SAE”, surrounded by the certifications that particular oil holds.

Why is SAE Printed on Tools?

The SAE system for sizing of tools has been disseminated worldwide but is used most right here in the continental United States. That is because the SAE system of tooling is based on fractional inches, where most of the planet bases all measurements on the much more simplistic metric system. The system of tooling sizes, however, was critical in manufacturing and repairing automobiles, because, without the SAE system, there would be no standardized bolt size. Could you imagine buying a wrench for every new bolt you needed to remove?

SAE continues to offer standardizing and practical improvements for the automotive manufacturer, consumer, and technician.


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