CAN YOU USE CAR OIL FOR A MOTORCYCLE?

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  • Dimo J
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    What oil does your owner's manual call for?

    I imagine that there are motorcycles out there that require some weirdly formulated extremely expensive "motorcycle" oil, highly engineered racing bikes. Then again, that may be the owners' imagination.

    I have used nothing by straight automotive dino juice. No motorcycle oil. No synthetics. Many years of reliable service. What counts more is not the oil, but changing the oil on a regular schedule.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Use what the manufacturer recommends.

    I always have.

    In every case, (except my HD) it's been a 10W40 motor oil.

    Over the years, the API Service rating letter has changed, but that's not a big deal as each new one equals and supercedes the last.

    HD specifies HD oil (or deisel engine oil), the Japanese cycles I had specified weight and rating.

    Motor oil is motor oil.

    What about shear and viscosity loss? It happens, which is why motorcycles have short oil change intervals.

    What about clutch slipping/damage? Won't happen if you use the recommended weight and rating. Get anything with an "Energy Conserving" label and you may have those problems. You'd be likely to have other problems as well from running a too light oil.

    Source(s): Running Castrol GTX 10W40 in all my import bikes. Live Free Or Die.
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes but...

    The ratings for motor oil have changed in that additives once found in automotive oils have changed or have been eliminated completely to make them compatible with catalytic converters. These are not typically found on motorcycles. the best oil to use, dyno or synthetic is an oil that is specifically meant for Motorcycles as it contains the proper additive package. Harley, Honda, Spectro, Castrol and more all have good oil for the pourpose. If you for some reason are not able to find motorcycle specific oill a good alternative is Shell Rotella T at any truck stop. It is meant for Diesel engines but does contain the proper additives for your bike.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It is not advisable to do so - as Polarbear said bike oils are '' built '' differently. As most bikes share transmission and engine lubricant using car oils can glaze the clutch plates causing them to slip.Having said that I use a multi purpose oil in my Harley that can be used in both my suv & bike - 15w50 synthetic without any friction additives.Only because I checked with the oil manufacturers technical advice service.It is actually the same oil they market for bikes in a different container & I can buy it in bulk for all my engines.

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  • 1 decade ago

    No. Oil for water cooled engines is different than oil for air cooled engines. In fact HD tells you that in an emergency, you should use oil for a desiel engine over oil for a gas water cooled engine.

    Source(s): 50 yrs of HD
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    not a good idea! Motorcycles [most] have a unitised motor meaning that the transmision is NOT seperate from the motor so your gears are in the motor oil.Therefore motorcycle specific oil has a higher shear resistance than automotive oils.In addition there are additives in motorcycle oils that are not allowed in automotive oils becuase they can harm catalitic converters. So auto oil doesnt have the shear resistance or additives that motorcycle oils have.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You shouldn't as the friction modifiers in most car oils will cause the wet clutch to slip. If you are stuck and this is all you have you could use it for a short time. Then as soon as you can, change the oil in the bike to the manufacturers specified type. ie a motorcycle speciic oil, they don't have friction modifiers in them.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It seems to me that all those saying "no" above don't even own a motorcycle. I have used car oil in my motorcycles for 35 years. Wet clutches (as most motorcycles have) are designed to run in oil!! Duuuhhhh!!!!

    • Glen Slb3 years agoReport

      Yes, I agree. Have been using SAE 30 for 40 years and never had a problem. Recently CarQuest @ $5 qt. Loving the smooth gear changes.

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  • 1 decade ago

    No, you can't(or shouldn't at the risk of engine damage),... the oil designed for motorcycles has a higher "shear tolerance"...(clings to spinning gears and keeps a coating on meshing gears). And has viscosity stabilizers, and additives to accept and disperse heat much more efficiently than automotive oil.

    If motorcycle oil is especially difficult to find in your area use something really tough like Rotella, or Mobil Delvac could be used on a temporary basis until you could get some bike oil...

    (edit)To the genius that has been using automotive oil for 35 years in bikes? That makes you a monumental idiot.... DUHHH

    Source(s): 40 years motorcycling experience
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  • Otto
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    You need to use the proper weight and specification designed for use in your bike. If you find a motor oil that works in cars but meets those requirements, it will be fine.

    Source(s): A mechanic for over 45 years.
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