Do Motorcycles and Cars Use the Same Oil?

Both cars and motorcycles use combustion engines, run on the same gas, and are used for transportation but do they run on the same engine oil? This is a very important question that almost all of us motorcyclists ask the first time our bikes need their first oil change.

A car’s engine and motorcycle’s engine use different engine oil. While both use oil to lubricate their mechanisms, a motorcycle’s engine requires a thicker type of oil. There are various reasons why motorcycle engines need different types of oil.

The Key Differences Between Car Engine Oil and Motorcycle Engine Oil

Motorcycle Engine Oil

Motorcycles require a heavier type of oil to stay lubricated over an extended period because it runs at higher speeds, has smaller tolerances, and the engine’s parts are also more tightly packed together. The tighter engine parts can cause an issue because it does not allow for proper heat dissipation which could result in the breakdown or coagulation of motor oil. To avoid these issues, Honda decided that motorcycles should have thicker grades of oil than cars since cars have bigger spaces between their moving parts.

Car Engine Oil

On the other hand, car engines run at lower speeds with wider spaces between moving components. Engines in cars do not compress as much air, so the blow-by is not as high. As a result, car engines can handle lighter grades of oil than motorcycle engines. Car engine oils are less viscous than motorcycle engine oil because they run at lower temperatures and have more movement in their moving parts.

Driving Styles

Different driving styles also affect the viscosity of engine oil used for each vehicle type. If you drive your car or SUV to work every day, city traffic will cause more wear on the engine than if you take your motorcycle into town for errands instead. Although both vehicles use the same type of gas, cars are heavier which means that it takes way more energy to get them started or even move them forward. This makes it on their motors which need an oil that can withstand more heat and provide better lubrication.

Can I use Car Engine Oil in a Motorcycle Engine?

Though car engines and motorcycle engines use different types of oils, those who drive both must make sure they don’t pick up the wrong bottle. You should not switch between car and motorcycle oil as you will end up damaging your engine by doing so because the two different oils have a different viscosity – thus causing uneven movement of your engine parts resulting in engine failure. I’ve heard a lot of people trying to use car oil in their motorcycle to try and save a few bucks, this is ridiculous because you’ll end up spending 10x the oil cost on repairs for your engine.

What Motorcycle Engine Oil to Use?

It is best to use the proper grade of motor oil for your bike’s engine because each type of engine has its own tolerances and specifications that must be maintained. The different types of oils are designed to keep your engine lubricated properly while avoiding breaking down or coagulating under extreme conditions. Don’t let us mislead you, using the proper viscosity of the oil is not all there is to it. You’ll also have to make sure that the quality of your oil meets or exceeds what’s recommended for your motorcycle engine.

How much Motorcycle Engine Oil do I Need?

The amount of oil needed depends on the size and type of engine in your motorbike. A car engine needs about 4 liters, while a motorcycle requires around 1 liter because its space is limited by design. The average scooter has between 1.4-2 liters capacity so make sure you check your user manual just in case you’re unsure!

When Changing the Oil on my Bike, Should I Drain all the Used Motor Oil Out?

In order to obtain the best results from using motor oil for your bike’s engine, it is a good idea to drain out all of the old oil first. Old or used oil should be thrown away as it could contain particles that will harm your new oil. The additives in used oil can cause problems because they have already been activated and are not beneficial anymore.

To Sum Up

The thickness of car and motorcycle engine oils differ on purpose. Car engine oils are lighter but still provide proper lubrication while motorcycle engines need heavier grades of oil due to their tighter tolerances and more compact design. Driving styles also affect the type of viscosity required on each vehicle type! Motorcycle engines require less viscous motor oils than car engines do so follow your manufactures recommendations when it comes to the engine oil and whatever you do, don’t use car engine oil in your motorcycle.

About The Author

daniel and sarah on motorcycle

Want to Receive Exclusive Offers, Tips & Freebies