Introduced in the 2003 Dodge Ram, the 5.7 Hemi V8 is still one of the most popular gasoline engines available, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s pretty reliable if taken care of, cheaper to own and maintain than any other “new” Hemi, and can rival the performance of the 6.4 Hemi with a bunch of mods.
Now, obviously, no internal combustion engine is perfect and the 5.7 Hemi is no exception. Over the years, 5.7 owners have noticed that these engines have a tendency to snap exhaust manifold bolts, the MDS sometimes doesn’t function properly, and lastly, some engines have the “Hemi tick”.
“Hemi Tick” & Why Good Oil is So Important for the 5.7 Hemi
Before we get into the meat of the article, there’s something that needs to be addressed first.
Some 5.7 Hemi owners had the misfortune of dealing with the infamous loud ticking noise that is known as the “Hemi Tick”. At first, it starts off as your 5.7 Hemi making a ticking noise at idle and as it gets worse, the engine starts to develop a misfire on hard acceleration and throws P0300, and P0308 fault codes. It basically eats up the camshaft lobes.
As of the time of writing this, little is known about the cause of this issue but some mechanics believe that the most likely culprit seems to be a lack of lubrication on the camshaft lobes and the roller lifter needle bearings at idle.
Bad quality engine oil with the wrong viscosity, cheap oil filters, long oil drain intervals, and most importantly – extended idling times, are likely to be major contributors to this issue. It may be the reason why so many police cars are affected by it.
Some mechanics say that because of the way that the lubrication system is designed in the 5.7 Hemi, the only time that the camshaft lobes and the roller lifter needle bearings are properly lubricated is when the engine is operating above idle, say 1500 RPM. For more information, check out this article.
Because of this, we highly recommend avoiding extended idling periods or raising the RPMs once in a while if you do have to leave the engine idling. In addition to that, frequent oil changes of 5,000 miles with premium quality full synthetic oil of the proper viscosity for your specific applications are extremely important.
Recommended Oil for 5.7 Hemi
According to Mopar, SAE 5W-20 grade engine oil that is API certified for gasoline engines, and meets the requirements of Chrysler Material Standard MS-6395 is recommended for all temperatures in the 5.7 Hemi.
Keep in mind that some vehicles equipped with the 5.7 Hemi require different viscosity engine oil, for example – Ram 2500/3500 that operate under a gross combined weight rating of 14,000 lbs or greater need SAE 5W-30 engine oil for all operating temperatures.
Always consult the owner’s manual of your specific vehicle for the right engine oil recommendation.
With that being said, we’ve done the research for you and have reviewed the five best synthetic engine oils for 5.7 Hemi.
The 5 Best Oils for 5.7 Hemi
Best OverallShell Rotella Gas Truck Full Synthetic 5W-20
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True Full-SyntheticPennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-20
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Best ValueValvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage 5W-20
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German PrecisionLiqui Moly Special Tec AA Fully Synthetic 5W-20
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Best Fuel EconomyMobil Super Synthetic 5W-20
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1. Shell Rotella Gas Truck Full Synthetic 5W-20 – Best Overall
Shell Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 takes our top pick for a few key reasons. It meets the requirements of the most recent API SP and ILSAC GF-6, is GM dexos1 Gen 2 licensed, and most importantly, is approved for Chrysler MS-6395 – a major requirement by Chrysler for use in their 5.7 Hemi.
Lubrication & Protection
Shell pride themselves for being one of the best heavy-duty diesel engine oil brands in North America, and for a good reason – their Rotella T4, T5, and T6 oils have a cult following and are being used in everything from semi-trucks, sports cars, and even motorcycles.
Now, diesel engines see extremely tough conditions and extremely long idling times, therefore Shell’s experience in keeping heavy duty diesel engines on the road certainly transferred into the Shell Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 Full Synthetic. Actually, it’s one of the main selling points.
As we’ve discussed above, according to some mechanics, the 5.7 has a tough time lubricating the camshaft lobes and the roller lifter needle bearing at idle – this is where Rotella Gas Truck really shines. It’s designed to perform especially well in stop & go driving, as well as extensive idling – things that “Gas Trucks” do a lot of. The additive technology inside the Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 provides excellent sludge control in both extreme hot and cold temperatures, maintaining viscosity and providing maximum lubrication at all times.
If this sounds too good to be true, then don’t worry – Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 has the approvals and the licenses to prove it.
Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 meets the requirements of the most recent API SP and ILSAC GF-6A. These API categories were introduced in May 2020 and have the strictest requirements yet. In order to meet them, engine oil manufacturers had to improve their engine oil formulas to provide protection against Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI), improved timing chain wear protection, improved high temperature deposit protection, and a more strict sludge and varnish control.
Apart from using the right viscosity engine oil, the second most important requirement by Chrysler is to use high quality engine oil that meets the Chrysler Material Standard MS-6395, which is exactly what Shell Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 is.
Correct oil viscosity is especially important for the 5.7 Hemi – you just can’t get away with using anything other than what the owner’s manual of your specific vehicle recommends, which is SAE 5W-20 in most cases. Failure to use proper viscosity engine oil will most likely result in poor operation of the Multi-Displacement System and may increase the likelihood of your engine developing the “Hemi Tick” and eventually, flattening the cam lobes.
Other than that, Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 has the API certification mark to be used in gasoline engines, which is the final requirement by Chrysler.
Shell Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 is an excellent choice for the 5.7 Hemi. It meets all of the requirements of Chrysler and is approved for the most recent and toughest API engine oil categories. However, that’s not even the best part.
Some buyers even saw major improvements from switching to Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 Full Synthetic, going as far as making the notorious “Hemi Tick” go away completely.
All of that, combined with Rotella Gas Truck 5W-20 Full Synthetic being one of the most affordable oils on our list, is the exact reason why it’s our top pick for the 5.7 Hemi.
2. Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-20 – True Full Synthethic
Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-20 is probably the most popular choice for the 5.7 Hemi. At the time of writing this, it exceeds the requirements for the most recent API-SP and ILSAC GF-6A (datasheet available here).
It’s been popularized further by “Project Farm” on YouTube, who does independent product tests, for showing similar performance to Amsoil at almost half the price.
All of that, combined with Pennzoil being the factory fill for both Ram and Dodge, is the reason why so many 5.7 Hemi owners stay true to Pennzoil.
Lubrication & Protection
Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-20 is made using their patented PurePlus Technology, which converts natural gas into a very pure full synthetic base oil.
The main advantage of using natural gas over crude oil is that natural gas contains fewer impurities at the molecular level – this provides a purer and clearer base oil that is 95.5% free from impurities. Actually, this is one of the main reasons why synthetic oils outperform conventional – they have significantly purer and more uniform molecules.
Because it’s been derived from natural gas, Pennzoil’s Ultra Platinum 5W-20 was able to meet and exceed the requirements for the most recent API-SP, API-SP Resource Conserving, and ILSAC GF-6A. Again, API SP and ILSAC GF-6A have been introduced in mid-2020, and have the toughest requirements yet.
Engine oils that meet API SP and ILSAC GF-6A requirements provide improved protection against Low-Speed Pre-Ignition, timing chain protection, improved high temperature deposit protection, and stricter sludge and varnish control.
A more stringent sludge and varnish control is extremely important for the 5.7 Hemi because sludge buildup could be a significant contributor to the ‘flat camshaft lobe and stuck lifter roller’ problem. These critical lubrication points need every last drop of oil that they can get.
As far as compatibility with the 5.7 Hemi goes, Pennzoil’s Ultra Platinum 5W-20 is a perfect match.
First off, Pennzoil is the factory fill for both gasoline Ram and Dodge – there’s really nothing else that needs to be said.
The Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 5W-20 Full Synthetic meets the viscosity requirements of 5W-20, although you should always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the correct viscosity as they do vary sometimes. It obviously meets the requirements of Chrysler Material Standard MS-6395 and is API certified for gasoline engines.
Pennzoil is the factory fill for a reason – it’s a very pure full synthetic oil that exceeds API SP and ILSAC GF-6A requirements. And it’s not that expensive either.
Depending on the time of year and if you use a rebate, you can get the Ultra Platinum 5W-20 Full Synthetic for a very low price. To that end – Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 5W-20 is one of the best oils you can get for your 5.7 Hemi.
3. Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage 5W-20 – Best Value
Valvoline’s High Mileage 5W-20 is jam-packed with extra anti-wear additives and detergents.
It’s a great choice for high mileage engines, but more importantly – extra anti-wear additives and detergents might be exactly what you need for optimum protection against worn camshaft lobes and lifters in the 5.7 Hemi.
Lubrication & Protection
The reason why we chose Valvoline’s Full Synthetic High Mileage over the regular Advanced Full Synthetic is mainly due to it having a stronger additive package, without affecting its price too much.
Now, even though your 5.7 Hemi might not be considered high mileage, it would still benefit from the extra anti-wear and sludge control additives. Still, little is known about the camshaft and the lifter problem, however, if what some mechanics are saying is true, then the camshaft and the lifters inside the 5.7 need all the anti-wear additives that they can get (obviously).
Apart from having extra anti-wear additives and better sludge control, which helps maintain optimal oil flow and lubrication, Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage 5W-20 contains special seal conditioners. It’s no secret that rubber seals become brittle over time due to grueling heat cycles and age, eventually shrinking and allowing oil to seep through.
Seal conditioners are special oil additives that swell worn rubber seals, increasing their size back to original and stopping oil leaks.
Lastly, Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage 5W-20 is approved for the most recent API SP, proving that it meets the toughest industry standards. API SP approved engine oils are designed to protect against Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI), have improved timing chain wear protection, better sludge and varnish control, and improved high temperature deposit protection.
Because it’s also approved for API Resource Conserving, Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage 5W-20 is also approved for ILSAC GF-6A. What this actually means is that the oil provides improved fuel economy and is compatible with ethanol-containing fuels up to E85.
Like all full synthetic engine oils on this list, Valvoline’s Full Synthetic High Mileage 5W-20 meets all the requirements in order to be used in the 5.7 Hemi.
It meets the requirements for Chrysler MS-6395, which is the second most important requirement for use in the 5.7 Hemi.
It has the recommended viscosity of 5W-20, which is not the same for all vehicles, for example – Ram 2500 and 3500 may require 5W-30. Luckily, the 5W-30 grade Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage is also API SP and ILSAC approved.
Lastly, it’s API certified for use in gasoline engines. Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage 5W-20 is also licensed for GM dexos1 Gen2, at the time of writing this.
Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage 5W-20 is an excellent choice for both high mileage and regular 5.7 Hemis.
It’s approved for the most recent and toughest industry standards, like the API SP and ILSAC GF-6A, but most importantly – it contains extra anti-wear and sludge control additives, which are especially needed to keep the camshaft lobes and roller lifter bearings properly lubricated and protected from wear.
And it’s also priced almost the same as the regular Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 5W-20, which is already very affordable!
4. Liqui Moly Special Tec AA Fully Synthetic 5W-20 – German Precision
Liqui Moly Special Tec AA 5W-20 is one of the more expensive full synthetic oils on this list but in this case, the performance justifies the price.
A bunch of buyers, including 5.7 Hemi owners, have noticed a difference when switching to Liqui Moly Special Tec – their engines started running quieter and smoother than before.
And it’s not that surprising – European engine oil manufacturers tend to make higher quality oils, since Europe has much tougher requirements for engine oil.
Lubrication & Protection
Liqui Moly is best known for their oil additives, mainly – MoS2 Anti-Friction Engine Treatment. It’s first been used in WW2 fighter planes as an emergency lubricant in order to help the engine run longer in case of an oil leak. It worked tremendously and is still used to this day.
Because of their unique experience in manufacturing oil additives, Liqui Moly is one of the few engine oil manufacturers that still create and use their own oil additive packages.
The Special Tec AA 5W-20 was specifically developed for Asian and American vehicles like the Honda Accord and is recommended by Liqui Moly for vehicles that require the following specifications: Chrysler MS-6395, Ford WSS-M2C 930-A, Ford WSS-M2C 945-A, Ford WSS-M2C 945-B1, GM 6094 M, and GM dexos Gen 2.
It’s been recently certified for the most recent API SP and ILSAC-GF6A, however, being a German-manufactured oil, it might be quite difficult to find the recently made API SP and ILSAC-GF6A batches.
Liqui Moly ticks all the right boxes when it comes to compatibility with the 5.7 Hemi.
It’s recommended by Liqui Moly for vehicles where Chrysler MS-6395 is required – again, one of the major requirements by Chrysler for the 5.7 Hemi.
It’s also a SAE 5W-20 grade engine oil, which is recommended for all temperatures by Chrysler (except for RAM 2500 and 3500).
Liqui Moly is a very popular choice overseas but is quite difficult to find in North America. However, most people that do get their hands on Liqui Moly, come back to it for another oil change and soon swear by it.
Special Tec AA 5W-20 Fully Synthetic meets all the requirements for 5.7 Hemi and is a great choice thanks to its unique additive package.
5. Mobil Super Synthetic 5W-20 – Best Fuel Economy
ExxonMobil is a respected oil industry giant and their Mobil 1 line engine oils are extremely popular, however, many people don’t realize that Mobil 1 line engine oils don’t meet the requirements for Chrysler MS-6395.
Obviously, ExxonMobil would never neglect the Chrysler fanbase – that would be a bad marketing decision. This is where their Mobil Super line of engine oils comes into play.
The Mobil Super Synthetic 5W-20 is a bit more expensive than the regular Mobil 1 5W-20 we’re so accustomed to, but it meets or exceeds the requirements of Chrysler MS-6395.
Lubrication & Protection
In this case, the main selling point of Mobil Super Synthetic 5W-20 is that it meets or exceeds the requirements of Chrysler MS-6395, but how does it perform and how is it different from the regular Mobil 1 Advanced Full Synthetic 5W-20?
First off, Mobil Super Synthetic 5W-20 meets the requirements for the most recent API SP, API SP Resource Conserving, and ILSAC GF-6A – it really doesn’t get better than that, as far as API certifications go.
If you need a refresher, API SP and ILSAC GF-6A have been introduced in May 2020 and have the toughest requirements yet. Engine oils that fall into the API SP category provide protection against LSPI, protection against timing chain wear, improved high temperature deposit protection, and more strict protection against sludge and varnish.
Because Mobil Super Synthetic 5W-20 also meets the requirements for API SP Resource Conserving and ILSAC GF-6A, it is able to provide improved fuel economy, better emission control system protection, and protection of engines that operate on ethanol-containing fuels.
As for how the two compare against each other – they’re both very similar. Mobil 1 5W-20 Advanced Full Synthetic also meets the requirements of API SP, API SP Resource Conserving, and ILSAC GF-6A, however, it does have a better pour point than the Mobil Super Synthetic 5W-20 at -43 °C.
Mobil Super Synthetic 5W-20 meets or exceeds all of the requirements to be used in the 5.7 Hemi.
It features the API “For Gasoline Engines” certification and is in the correct viscosity of SAE 5W-20 which is recommended for all operating temperatures (in most cases).
Last but not least, it meets or exceeds the requirements of Chrysler Material Standard MS-6395.
If you swear by ExxonMobil, then Mobil Super Synthetic 5W-20 is the obvious choice for your 5.7 Hemi.
It meets or exceeds the requirements for the toughest-yet API SP and ILSAC GF-6A categories, proving its excellent performance.
However, it would be nice if the Mobil Super Synthetic 5W-20 would be a bit cheaper, especially considering that the regular Mobil 1 5W-20 Advanced Full Synthetic is cheaper and performs even better in some aspects.
The Best Oil for 5.7 Hemi Buyer’s Guide
Conventional vs Full Synthetic for 5.7 Hemi
Conventional oil (also known as mineral oil) has been protecting internal combustion engines since the day they were invented, but nowadays, virtually not a single modern engine uses conventional oil and there is a good reason for it.
Conventional oil is refined from crude oil, which was pumped out of the ground. The process of refining crude oil into conventional is relatively simple and inexpensive, therefore the end product is very cheap. Unfortunately for conventional engine oil, cheap price is the only advantage.
Now, the biggest drawback of conventional oil is that it’s not as chemically stable as synthetic oil. Because it’s been refined from crude oil, it has more impurities at the molecular level such as sulfur, and it oxidizes and acidifies relatively fast.
On the other hand, full synthetic engine oil is synthesized in a chemical plant and contains much fewer impurities. Because it’s pretty much made in a lab, chemical engineers have full control over it and are able to get the synthetic base oil close to perfection, which translates into significantly better protection and performance. For example – 10 times better high-temperature oxidation stability.
The only argument against full synthetic engine oil is the higher price. Synthetic oil is much more difficult and time-consuming to manufacture – this is the main reason why its more expensive.
As for the 5.7 Hemi, synthetic oil is not required, according to the owner’s manuals. However, full synthetic engine oil provides much better protection against wear, better shear stability, better oxidation stability, and keeps engines clean. To that end, full synthetic oil is a clear winner.
Use The Right Viscosity Oil
While there are no strict requirements on whether you should use conventional or synthetic oil, the requirements for viscosity are mandatory and should be followed.
The tolerances between moving parts and the parts themselves are designed with a specific oil viscosity in mind. Using a “thinner” or “thicker” engine oil than recommended by the vehicle’s owner’s manual can and probably will damage the engine over time.
While you might have come across some people advocating on using thicker oil to quiet down the “hemi tick”, such advice will only do more harm than good in the long run.
A thicker (higher grade) oil than required is harder to pump and is too thick to quickly reach the critical lubrication points. It won’t form a consistent film and will not reliably protect against friction. To further add to that, thicker oils don’t transfer heat as well, which would lead to higher operating temperatures and harmful sludge deposits.
As for the right viscosity for the 5.7 Hemi – SAE 5W-20 is recommended for all temperatures, but some vehicles like the Ram 2500 and 3500 require SAE 5W-30. The only way to find the right viscosity requirements for your specific vehicle is in the owner’s manual, which can be found on Mopar’s website here.
Oil API Standards & Chrysler MS-6395
Along with using the correct viscosity, Chrysler and Mopar require you to only use engine oils that are API certified for use in gasoline engines and also meet the requirements of Chrysler Material Standard MS-6395.
In short, the requirements for Chrysler Material Standard MS-6395 are very tough (they can be found here), and only premium quality engine oils have a chance to meet them. However, the main takeaway should be that people have noticed that using engine oils that meet the requirements for Chrysler MS-6395 make the engine run smoother, quieter, and eliminate the ticking noise that some 5.7’s have.
As for the API standards – they are probably the easiest way to judge the quality of the oil. Let’s take the most recent API categories, for example. The API SP was introduced earlier this year, and engine oils that fall into this category are specifically designed to provide protection against Low-Speed Pre-Ignition – a common issue in direct injection gasoline engines. API SP engine oils also provide timing chain wear protection, improved high temperature deposit protection, and more strict sludge and varnish control.
No Additional Oil Additives Are Needed
Chrysler strongly recommends against the use of oil additives and oil flush products, and as technicians – so do we.
More often than not, oil additives do more harm than good. Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, using oil additives will only mess up the ratio of the already existing additive package inside the oil (which is always more than enough if you’re buying good quality oil) and cause further problems in the long run.
No additives are needed when the engine is working fine and even if the engine is showing signs of wear, nothing inside a bottle will fix it.
5.7 Hemi Oil Change How-To
Tools you’ll need for the job:
- 13mm socket or wrench
- Oil filter removal tool (if the oil filter is too tight)
- Torque wrench (optional)
- Oil drain pan.
- A rag to clean up
Before changing the oil, make sure the engine is warmed up. That way you’ll achieve a much better flush when the oil is warm and more fluid. Be careful not to scald yourself and park the vehicle on a level surface, with the shifter in park or in gear, and the handbrake on.
- Prepare to Drain the Oil. Start off by unscrewing the oil fill cap in order to help the oil drain faster, and place the oil drain pan underneath the drain plug.
- Undo the Drain Plug and Carefully Drain the Oil. In case the drain plug is stuck tight, use more leverage or try hitting the wrench with the back of your palm. Once the drain plug is loosened, use your hands to unscrew it and as soon as you’ll see oil seeping out and feel that the drain plug is free, quickly move it away to the side and let the oil drain into the drain pan.
- Screw the Drain Plug Back In. Once the oil has drained, use a new copper washer to prevent leaks and screw the drain plug back in. Make sure you don’t over tighten it, make it nice and snug, or if you have a torque wrench, torque it to 25 ft/lbs.
- Undo the Oil Filter. Use the oil filter removal tool, or your hands if the filter is not too tight, to undo the oil filter to the point where oil starts running from the top. Let the oil fully drain before you completely remove the oil filter – that way you won’t make a mess.
- Remove the Oil Filter. Once the oil has drained from the top of the filter, go ahead and remove it. Use a rag or a shop towel to clean the oil filter housing – this is the perfect time to check if the old rubber gasket from the old filter isn’t stuck to the filter housing.
- Fill the New Oil Filter With Fresh Oil. If the new oil filter isn’t already filled with oil, the oil pump will have to fill the filter up first and only then will start building enough pressure to reach critical lubrication points. By filling it with fresh oil, we make sure that the engine gets lubricated immediately. Make sure you also lubricate the rubber gasket on the new oil filter with oil. This will help it slide along the surface of the oil filter housing and will make sure it stays in place, thus minimizing the chance of oil leaks.
- Install the New Oil Filter. Tightening the filter with your hands is enough, but if you don’t feel comfortable with that, you can also use the oil filter removal tool to tighten it a bit further.
- Wipe Down the Oil Plug and the Oil Filter. By making sure that the underside of the engine is clean, you’ll make it easier to tell if there’s an oil leak later on.
- Fill the Engine With Fresh Oil. The 5.7 Hemi takes around 7 quarts of oil including the oil filter change. Be sure to take it slow and monitor the oil level using the dipstick – you don’t want to overfill!
- Start the Engine. Let the engine run for a few minutes. Look underneath the vehicle for any oil leaks and make sure that the oil pressure warning light isn’t on.
- Check the Oil Level Again. After you’ve let the engine run for a bit, shut it off and wait 5 to 10 minutes for the oil to flow back into the oil pan. Check the oil level and refill if necessary.
- Reset the Oil Light. For the 4th gen RAM, scroll to the truck symbol > oil life > hold the same right arrow button until “confirm reset” shows up > ok. And you’re done!
Eddie is the co-founder of CarCareCamp.com, and the site’s primary contributor.
Under his belt, Eddie has a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Electronics Engineering and almost a decade of experience working as a semi-truck technician (specializing in electrics).
2 thoughts on “The Best Oil for 5.7 Hemi Tick – Top 5 Reviewed (Buyer’s Guide)”
Thanks for the interesting and useful information. In any of your testing did you test any of the NAPA Full Synthetic oil or the Walmart Brand Super Tech Full Synthetic?
Sorry to disappoint you, but we did not do any tests with NAPA Full Synthetic or Walmart Super Tech Full Synthetic. However, from what I’ve heard, most people didn’t have any issues using them and actually have a positive opinion on both. I believe Valvoline makes NAPA Full Synthetic, so that’s a good sign. The Walmart Super Tech is actually really good like most Walmart brand oils.
The thing is, additive packages are only sold by a few manufacturers, and all brands (even the major ones) have no other choice but to buy from them. This means that even the lesser-known brand oils use pretty much the same stuff as any other major brand. To that end, I believe that both NAPA and Walmart oils are pretty decent at the very least.
Thanks for your question, hope my answer helped.