Motorcycle Engine Oil

Editor@Throttle|Updated: May 24, 2018 9:19

Motorcycle engine is the most important component of a motorcyle.It is basically a set of parts bound together in such a way that they convert the energy from fuel into mechanical force. That further helps to rev a motorcycle to the limits described by the manufacturer.


Engine parts are made from metal and their action brings loss to each other through friction. This is the point where engine oil comes into action and saves the engine.  Engine oil prolongs the life of your motor and also  helps your bike run smoother and cleaner each and every time. The oil inside the crankcase is definitely the lifeblood of the motor.


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Bike Engine Oil Types


There are three types of engine oils available for every motorcycle.




Mineral Bike Engine Oil


Mineral oil has a basic profile and does not include additions in the form of complex chemical compounds. They have lesser efficient molecular bonding and using them in extreme conditions can lead to engine’s loss. Mineral oil is preferred for commuter motorcycles as they have ideal running conditions and lower operating speeds. Also, companies use mineral oil for the run-in period as it helps to brush the parts properly before the use of other grade of oil.




Semi-Synthetic Bike Engine Oil


This type of oil is a right blend of natural as well as chemical products. It is used in motorcycles that run more than usual everyday. The high operating time enables the rider to keep the engine secure with higher heat resistance of the semi-synthetic oil.


For those who use their motorcycle for shorter commute, it is hard to distinguish between both of them and sometimes, better oil turns evil by restricting performance due to better viscosity. No more than 30 percent of synthetic oil is blended into the mineral oil for making a semi-synthetic oil.




Synthetic Bike Engine Oil


High performance motorcycles use synthetic engine oil for its superb lubrication property and high temperature resistance. It is the most expensive type of engine oil. One should consider using synthetic oil for a person who burns a full fuel tank everyday on the highway.


It is also recommended for those staying in areas with extreme temperatures. Both cases require extra engine care and synthetic oil does that for the rider. A regular rider with 30 kilometers of daily riding will not need this oil as they will reach their destination before the actual benefit of the oil starts.


These three oils have a vast difference in cost and their usability decreases as the price goes up. As majority of buyers in the Indian automotive market go for commuters, consumption of mineral oil is much higher than the synthetic oil.

Still, high end bikes need synthetic oil as standard as using mineral oil will maximize the damage due to their higher temperature operations. Manufacturers claim that mineral engine oil is good for an everyday rider as it is the same oil at which they have tested their bike before its launch for a long distance (approx. 1,00,000 kms).


Bike Engine Oil Grades


Let us move on to the grades of oil in use. You must have came across different grade of oils like 5W20, 10W40 and many more. Let us understand what these numbers mean. The value that comes before the W symbolizes the viscosity of oil when the engine is cold. The numbers have no direct relation to any unit such as temperature. It would be false to consider 10W30 good for cold start at 10 degrees.


It is actually a relative number, which shows that 5 at the front will bring better cold start than 20. W stands for winter. Larger the number after W, the more is the oil capable of holding its actual position at higher temperature.


This means it won’t breakdown easier if it is a big number. Still, manufacturers know what conditions arise and they decide a multi-grade oil by keeping all of that in mind. Experts believe that buyers should keep the same oil as directed by the manufacturer for almost first 15,000 kms.


This includes almost 6 services that average rider will complete in almost 12-15 months. Getting an engine flush after that and using an oil that best suits your need is the best plan that one could make after the given period.


This gives enough time to the engine to get as smooth as butter flowing on a hot pan. What comes next is for the purist. If you plan your first trip from North to South right after your run-in period, do remember to take your own pack of synthetic oil when visiting the dealership.


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Tips to change engine oil


Changing the engine oil cannot just single handedly help you attain a perfect service as replacing oil filter, cleaning the air filter and getting your injector cleaned at regular intervals will help you enjoy the best ever riding experience.

  1. Always follow the drain intervals in your service manual. If you use mineral-based oil, you should chain the oil at least every 3200 kms. If you’re running full synthetic, change the oil every 8000 or 9600 kms on average.
  2. Always change the oil filter when you change the oil. You can save a bit of money by changing the oil filter less often, but if you’re going to pour expensive synthetic oil in your engine, make it a point to spend a couple more to change the oil filter. If you’re a sporty rider and you want to extract every ounce of performance from your motor, you should change the filter every time you change oil.

It  is always best to follow the recommendations in your service manual.

  • Always install a fresh drain plug washer when you remove the drain plug. This is cheap insurance against gruesome oil leaks.
  • Make sure to remove the old washer before installing a new one. This simple maintenance tip will save the threads in your oil pan because it will take less torque to tighten the drain plug.
  • If you are planning the change the oil yourself, it is best to start the engine and let it warm up for about 10 minutes before draining the oil. Always wear proper safety gear when handling used oil.
  • Some riders prefer to use additional additives after an oil change, but this is not necessarily economical or beneficial in the long run. Additives will only cost you more money, and using additives together with your synthetic-blend oil  will not necessarily give better performance.


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Engine oil quantity varies with engine size and design of the motorcycle. The cost multiplies with every liter and seasoned riders keep a spare pack with them when going on longer expeditions. Topping up is a necessary part for slightly older engines and also for those bikes which have surprisingly long service intervals.


To keep warranty under check, do consider getting your engine oil changed at prescribed intervals. Along with engine oil, gear-less machines have a different grade of oil that is commonly known as gear oil. It has completely different properties and difference in drain intervals.