Choosing the right motorcycle oil is important because the wrong oil can wreck havoc with your motorcycle’s engine, clutch and transmission. Cost normally isn’t a factor due the fact our motorcycle’s are one of our most prized possessions.
One question that often comes up is, can you use automotive oils in a motorcycle? It’s not advisable to do this because of the different additive package used to formulate motorcycle oils. Automotive oils have had to reduce the amount of zinc and other anti–wear additives because of the adverse affects they cause to catalytic converters.
Motorcycle oils are permitted to add significant amounts of anti–wear additives and you should always take advantage of this. Motorcycle oils will run hotter then car engines therefore are producing more friction. To keep wear to a minimum you will need the extra protection that motorcycle oils provide.
There really isn’t much of an argument anymore on the benefits of synthetic lubricants. Anyone still choosing to use petroleum oil in their motorcycle are really going to see a drop in performance. No matter what the cost, synthetics are a far better investment. Given the fact that synthetics lower operating temperatures this benefit alone is worth the extra cost.
There is also no truth to some motorcycle dealers telling you that you have to run their branded version of oil in your bike. Running an oil other than their branded version will not void your factory warranty. Do not get caught up in all the hype over private label oils. Do you really think a certain motorcycle manufacturer actually makes their own oil? Of course not, it’s put out for bid and the cheapest bidder wins so be careful using these types of oils.
If your dealer insist that you use their oil while your bike is under warranty and you want to use another brand all you have to do is this: If you want to use brand x in your motorcycle and your dealer tells you no you can’t, then politely ask them to put it in writing. Federal Laws state that no warranty can be voided by verbal instruction only, it must be in writing.
First of all no dealer will ever do this because legally they know they can’t. If however they did then according to the Magnuson-Moss Act you are entitled to their branded oil for free. Keep that in mind the next time your dealer tries to force you into using their brand of oil.
What should you look for in a motorcycle oil? Your biggest concern should be reducing operating temperatures. This is especially true of air cooled bikes that don’t have the added advantage of being liquid cooled. Of course you always want to be certain your oil meets the proper specs listed in your owners manual. The corresponding specs can be found on the back of the motorcycle oil bottle.
Getting advice from other motorcycle owners that have done their own experiments is a great way to help you determine which oils work best. Talking with experienced motorcycle mechanic is one of the best way to determine which oil to use because they see first hand what oils do on the inside of an engine. Running a few simple test yourself can narrow your selection down fairly quickly. Stick with the synthetics because comparing petroleum oils will be a waste of time.