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Most people are aware that machines, particularly vehicles, require certain fluids to work properly. Oil is one of the main fluids that vehicles use.
If you own a motorcycle, you’ve probably changed the oil a few times throughout your ownership. During my first years of riding, I was often curious if a motorcycle could use engine oil from a car.
Can a motorcycle use engine oil from a car? You can temporarily use it in your motorcycle if there is no alternative or you accidentally used it. It shouldn’t ever be used regularly. You should change your motorcycle oil sooner than the normal oil change intervals if car engine oil is used.
Through my research and my background in engineering and mechanics, I’ve gained a good understanding of the chemistry behind the practice of interchanging oil. If you’ve used car engine oil in your motorcycle or are planning on using it, there are several things you should know.
It’s okay to use car engine oil temporarily
There have been several instances I’ve heard from family and friends where they’ve accidentally grabbed the wrong bottles of oil either from their garage shelf or the shelf in the store and put it in their motorcycle without realizing what they had done.
Some people find themselves in instances that require them to put car engine oil in their motorcycle because they’re left with no choice either because they’re stranded or placed in an emergency situation that called for it. A certain type of oil is better than none or too much oil.
Surprisingly, it’s actually quite alright if you’ve put car engine oil in your motorcycle. There is a distinction between motorcycle oil and car engine oil, which we will discuss later. But there are enough commonalities that your motorcycle will be able to run for a few days.
The primary function of engine oil is to protect everything that’s inside. After car engine oil has been put into a car, the oil is pulled from the oil pump and delivered to the oil filter. The oil is then transported through oil passageways that lead to important engine parts, such as the bearings and pistons.
These parts move so quickly that oil must provide lubrication. Otherwise, they could heat up and cause so much friction that they eventually weld together or break.
The motorcycle engine functions in the same way as a car engine. A motorcycle’s oil reserve contains oil that is used to filter the oil and then it is delivered to the critical parts of the bike. Because the two units are one, oil flows through the transmission when you have motorcycle engines.
Because of the similarities in their function, using car engine oil in a motorcycle isn’t detrimental to it. If the oil is used for too long or too often, the differences can cause problems with the engine, which could eventually lead to more serious issues.
What’s the difference between car engine oil and motorcycle oil?
Though it is okay to temporarily use car engine oil in a motorcycle, it’s not okay to consistently use it. There are differences between oils. A motorcycle that is constantly using the oil will begin to lose some of its essential components and may eventually stop functioning.
Though a car engine and it’s transmission are connected, they each are their own separate entity and require their separate kinds of oils to lubricate the insides. The transmission oil cannot be used with the engine oil and vice versa.
As I mentioned before, a motorcycle’s transmission and engine are also connected. However, they are both open to one another, which means that they share the same oil for lubricating the insides. Motorcycle oil is basically used to lubricate both the engine as well as the transmission.
Motorcycle oil is more flexible in terms of lubrication and other additives needed to enable the transmission to work properly. The main difference between motorcycle oil and car engine oil is the fact that motorcycle oil doesn’t have the additional friction additive and lubrication characteristics that motorcycle oil needs to function properly.
What Happens if You Use Too Much Car Engine Oil in Your Motorcycle?
While car engine oil for motorcycles can be used to patch up minor problems, it should not ever be used regularly or for prolonged periods. This poses a lot risk.
You run the greatest risk if your transmission doesn’t get enough lubrication. Lack of lubrication can lead to transmission problems down the line.
You could also experience engine issues. You can get small metal shavings if your transmission suddenly stops working or is damaged by lack of lubrication.
The transmission and engine are connected on a motorcycle so that the same oil travels through the engine. This allows the engine to receive the metal shavings. This can lead to irreparable damage. The engine and transmission are two parts of a motorcycle. If one fails, the other is likely to fail. In this case, you might need to replace the entire unit.
You will need to replace the oil that you used in your motorcycle’s engine with motorcycle oil. Don’t plan on using car oil for a long period of time in your motorcycle.
The right oil to use in your motorcycle
It is usually quite simple for consumers to find the right oil for their vehicle. Most motorcycle oils will specifically say on the bottle that it’s meant for a motorcycle so we don’t mistake what kind of oil we’re purchasing.
With that being said, you can’t simply walk into the auto store and grab any oil bottle that has a picture of a motorcycle on it. Every motorcycle needs a specific viscosity oil. You can tell which type of oil your motorcycle needs by either reading the oil cap, reading the owner’s manual, or looking it up online.
You should know what type of viscosity you motorcycle needs. Also, be aware of the oil type you require with certain additives or materials. There are three types.
Mineral oil, or MO, is the first type of motorcycle oil. This is the most basic type of oil and is recommended for smaller capacity motorcycles or motorcycles that don’t have large engines. This type of oil is typically the most affordable and is considered to be more generic.
Semi-synthetic oil, or SS, is the second type. Semi-synthetic oil, also known as SS, is a mix of mineral oil and fully synthetic oil. This oil can be used on motorcycles with smaller capacity but is still used daily for your daily commute to work.
The third type is fully synthetic oil, or FS. This type of oil is best suited for high performance motorcycles that are under extreme stress. This oil can be used on super bikes and race machines. This oil is the highest quality and most expensive.
Some of these oils are interchangeable with the motorcycle you have, but you’ll need to be careful with how you do that. Synthetic oil can be used on smaller motorcycles with little to no problems, while mineral oil may have some issues.
What is the average time it takes for motorcycle gas to go bad? A motorcycle with unstabilized gasoline can begin to go bad within 30 days. Exposure to oxygen eventually alters the gas’ chemistry, which can cause gum and varnish deposits. If gas has been stored for more than six months, it should be thrown away. Stabilized gas should be stopped being used after six to twelve months. You can click here to read the full article.
Can you use motorcycle oil inside a car? It is possible to use motorcycle oil inside a car engine, similar to how you would use car engine oil on a motorcycle. You should not use this oil as a permanent solution until you have the correct oil. Otherwise, it could lead to engine failure.