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Proper Motorcycle Oils Are Important


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Choosing an Oil for Your Motorcycle

There are a few special problem areas for motorcycle oil. Most motorcycles have wet clutches, which means the motor oil runs through the clutch. If the motor oil has too much molybdenum in it, there are fears that the clutch can start slipping. No one I know has ever actually had this happen to them, but the warnings are all over your owners' manual and the oil companies' web pages. On the back of all certified oil cans is a circular stamp with the certification. Avoid oils that say "energy conserving" in the bottom half of the donut. These oils contain friction modifier additives that could cause clutch slipping over time. Essentially all 0w-20, 5w-30 and 10w-30 oils are energy conserving, and should not be used in your motorcycle.

Some motorcycles run the engine oil through the transmission, and the transmission gears are very hard on the oil's VII package. This means that over a couple thousand miles, the oil's viscosity can break down. Standard car oils are only good for typically 1500 miles before they've lost about half of their viscosity. Remember, 10w-40 oils contain a lot of VIIs which tend to shear in your transmission, so I believe 10w-40 oils should be avoided. You can't use 10w-30 because of the friction modifiers. This doesn't leave much. Commercial 15w-40 oils are a good choice, because they have relatively few VIIs which are the more expensive shear-stable sort. Synthetics typically don't contain much of a VII package, so shear is not as big an issue with them.

Some people use their motorcycles only sporadically. This means the oil can all drain completely into the sump, leaving no protective film on the bearings. The first start after a long period of non-use can be particularly hard on an engine. Film strength is very important if you're a sporadic rider.

There are several key advantages to using Synthetic Oils:

Synthetic oils have a higher viscosity index than mineral base oils. Synthetics have better resistance to thinning at high temperatures and thickening at low temperatures. Since synthetics have little or no VIIs, synthetics last longer in service without radical changes in viscosity.

Synthetics have a much higher film strength than petroleum oils, so it takes a lot longer for the oil to drain completely off your bearings and into your sump.

Diester synthetics are polar molecules with solvent properties which dissolve residues and combustion byproducts

Synthetic oils can be used in motorcycle motors right from the begining without the fear of break in problems contrary to many peoples opinions. Harley Davidson uses synthetic oils in the screamin' eagle bikes right from the factory, so this should answer a few questions about this.

Do NOT use car oil in your motorcycle.. You will NOT save money by putting automotive oil in your motorcycle.. While many people have done just that for many years, it is crazy to do it today.. Research has enabled the oil companies to develop motorcycle oils (Spectro, Belray, Kendall etc) that last 2500 to 3000 miles or more in a motorcycle engine. If you use automotive oil in your motorcycle the polymers in that type of oil will be broken down within 800-900 miles..
Automotive oils are NOT designed for use in air-cooled engines.. If you insist on using an automotive type oil in your motorcycle, you may loosen up debris in the sludge trap that debris may ruin the rod bearing when it starts circulating through the oiling system.

Although, you won't notice the difference right away, Running worn-out oil will lead to earlier deterioration of vital engine components. The money you think you are saving on cheap oil will end up being spent, plus some on engine service and replacement parts.