The day you purchase a new motorcycle is pretty exciting. With the sale agreed and your favourite motorbike gear ready, it’s time to hit the open road! However, the thrill of riding means riders might forget an all-important component to their bike maintenance – engine oil. As the months roll on and the seasons change, it’s important to get schooled on engine oil, what particular one you should be using, and at what time. We discuss what engine oil you should use according to your weather below!
What is in motorcycle engine oil?
Motorcycle engine oil is a lubricant used to ensure the safe running and maintenance of your bike’s engine and gearbox. It differs from car oil in that it is uniquely created with balanced friction to offer protection to the engine and gears. Car engine oil uses friction modifiers and additives, as these can damage a motorcycle over time, it’s strongly recommended not to use car oil in your motorcycle.
Why is it important?
Engine oil is the lifeblood of your motorbike and is one of the most important elements to maintaining your pride and joy. Engine oil keeps the engine lubricated, stopping friction and contact between metal parts. Engine oil allows for your bike to run cleaner and smoother, thus prolonging its life span. Clean oil also results in fewer pollutants in the motorcycle’s tailpipe, therefore resulting in your bike being more environmentally friendly.
Different types of engine oils
When it comes to motorcycle engine oil, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. There are a few different types of oil available and it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with them all. Here are some of the most common ones on the markets.
Mineral Oil – The most basic and affordable oil, mineral oil offers high protection and is suitable for smaller capacity engines. It does however require frequent changes.
Semi-synthetic oils – A mixture of synthetic and mineral oils, semi-synthetic offers protection but also more power.
Fully synthetic oil – Known to be the direct opposite of mineral oil, it contains no natural ingredients and is designed for high performance and powerful engines. As the artificial ingredients don’t break down as quickly, synthetic oil goes the distance, literally.
Understanding grading and viscosity
When it comes to motorcycle engine oil, viscosity means the fluid’s resistance to flow. Different temperatures affect the viscosity of motor engine oil, this is where choosing the right oil for different weather conditions becomes very important. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is the oil grading system used in Australia. Oil is graded with a number, the letter W, followed by another number like this: 10W-40. W stands for ‘winter’ and the 10 represents the lowest point that oil will hold its viscosity. The number 40 denotes the consistency of the oil, the higher this number is, the thicker the oil.
These are important guidelines to follow, in particular during extremely hot and particularly cold conditions as the temperature will impact the viscosity and in turn, the effectiveness of the oil. Cross-checking an SAE chart with the number on your oil bottle is a great way to ensure you have the most suitable oil for your weather conditions.
Signs your motorcycle needs an oil change
Along with adhering to the SAE chart, keeping an eye out for common signs of oil issues is also a good habit to get into. The rule of thumb is that oil should be replaced at least once a year, again depending on if you move to different temperatures and weather conditions. Watch out for issues such as:
- Gritty or black oil.
- Louder sounds coming from your engine.
- Warning lights on your motorbike’s dashboard.
- The oil level is below the minimum mark on the gauge.
The importance of doing your research
What works for a Kawasaki engine may not work for a Harley Davidson motorcycle, therefore you need to be careful that you are selecting the right type of oil for your bike. Not only is researching the correct engine oil important but knowing how to actually change the oil is also paramount. The best rule of thumb is to follow the manufacturer guidelines and speak to your motorcycle dealer for advice.
To chat to motorcycle experts for the right engine oil for you, or to explore motorcycles, motorcycle tyres and motorbike gear visit the team at peterstevens.com.au