Can I put car oil in a motorcycle engine? Things you should be aware of!!

Car engine oil
Car engine oil

Engine oil helps to keep the motorcycle engine smooth and friction-free. Thus, it is a crucial habit to change the engine oil in the right interval of time. But sometimes, because of some situation, you may need to put the car oil in your motorcycle. Here is what happens even if you use car engine oil in a motorcycle.

So, Can you use car oil in a motorcycle? You can use the car engine oil on a motorcycle If you are left with no other option. But Car engine oil will not provide smoothness and performance to your motorcycle in spite of it, it can damage the engine and reduce its performance in long run. Thus, you should not use car oil in your motorcycle more frequently.

Using the car oil in a motorcycle engine is not a good decision because it can harm the motorcycle engine and reduce efficiency. Thus, only use motorcycle oil for your engine.

Now one question must have arisen to you that, “what’s the difference between car and motorcycle engine oil?” In the below section I have discussed the differences in detail. 

Difference between Car oil and Motorcycle oil

So, What is the difference between a motorcycle and car oil? The most basic difference between a car and motorcycle oil is the viscosity profile of both. Motorcycle engine oil viscosity becomes thin in cold for an easier start and thick in hot to maintain the temperature. While car oil contains viscosity modifiers and lubricity agents that can damage the wet clutch in a motorcycle.

Car Oil and its properties

The car oil’s main purpose is to lubricate the moving parts in the engine. Car oil has a different viscosity profile than motorcycle oil. It is mainly used to lubricate the car engine and provide better fuel efficiency and a smoother ride. The car contains different fluids to protect the different key areas of the car engine like transmission fluids.

As cars are usually slower than the motorcycles, thus its engine doesn’t heat up that fast like motorcycles. Thus, its oil also travels slower than the motorcycle engine oil.

Nowadays, modern cars require lower viscosity oil and that will not able to protect the motorcycle gear properly which can lead to gear failure.

Also, the car oil contains friction modifiers which can result in slipping and acceleration loss in a motorcycle.

Motorcycle oil and its properties

Motorcycle engine oil does more than just lubricating the engine and making it function smoothly. It has other crucial functions like maintaining the temperature.

The oil sump size of a motorcycle is notably smaller than the car. So, it is a clear sign that motorcycle needs less oil than a car.

The motorcycle consists of a lot of rotating interlocking and sliding parts in the transmission which requires oil to work faster and harder than the car oil. Motorcycle oil has a more difficult job than car oil because they have a smaller sump. Motorcycle oil not only includes lubricating but also protecting the other important parts of the engine.

Since the motorcycle engine is too smaller as a car, thus it becomes important that the oil must protect the engine against oxidation, wear, friction, and deposit formation similar to car oil.

Apart from this, the motorcycle oil has another tougher job to cool the engine parts that can be hotter than the car engine parts.

Because the motorcycle engine is so closely packed the oil must be formulated to travel through the narrower pathways.

Summary of Difference of Car oil and Motorcycle oil

  • Car oil viscosity has a different profile than the motorcycle engine needs. So, it’s not a good idea to use car oil for a motorcycle engine.
  • The motorcycle engine is more closely packed than the car engine. Thus the oil must be formulated to travel through smaller and narrower pathways. And, if you are using car oil in a motorcycle it may cause the oil to not move freely because of the viscosity difference.
  • The engine is the most vital part of the vehicle either it is a car or motorcycle. Engineers are crafting the engine to help meet the fuel efficiency and emission requirements.
  • The motorcycle oil sump is typically smaller than the car oil sump. Thus, their oil volume is also small. It’s another reason you should not use car oil in your motorcycle. 

Here is what will happen, if you put too much engine oil in a motorcycle.

  • Motorcycles run at higher rpm and speed than the car, and because of the closed pack, the engine becomes too hot in less time. That’s where motorcycle engine oil comes into its function. Car oil can’t cool the temperature in an effective way like a motorcycle engine.
  • Car oil contains friction modifiers if used in motorcycle engines can result in slipping and acceleration loss.


Car and motorcycle oil are not interchangeable and should not be used vice-versa. Although, if you are left with no other option than using car oil, in case your engine oil is dirty then you can use the car oil. Because it is better to use oil than having no oil.

Using car oil in motorcycle engines should not be repeated as it is not good for the engines and gearboxes. Thus, make sure you use only motorcycle engine oil for your motorcycle engine and car oil for your cars.


Can I use car engine oil in my 4-stroke motorcycle?

Using car engine oil in a 4-stroke motorcycle doesn’t change the fact that it is a motorcycle. It needs a different viscosity profile than a car oil provides. Thus, using car engine oil in 4-stroke or 2-stroke will not be beneficial. A rider should avoid using the non-prescribed oil than the recommended one by the motorcycle manufacturers and service manual. For more information read my post where I have explained it in detail.

Can you use motorcycle oil in a car?

Motorcycle engine oil should not be used in a car because it has a different viscosity profile than the car engine needs. Although, if you are left with no other option then you can go with motorcycle oil for the first time. But, you should make sure to not use motorcycle oil in a car regularly. Or car oil in a motorcycle engine.

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