Regular synthetic motor (auto) oil?

Hey there, all.

Looking for a bit of advice, and hoping to find some "tips" that may allow for me to save some money during the oil change process.

I was wondering :) if anyone out there uses regular, synthetic automobile oil such as Mobil 1 for the motorcycle oil changes?

I know that that Mobil and many other brands offer synthetic 4-stroke, motorcycle specific motor oils, but I also recognize the increase in price :D in those products from regular automobile synthetic oil. In addition, I've been told (and I think I understand :D) that the needs of the two different machines are slightly different, what with our bikes having a wet clutch and all. I've read the manual, and am very familiar with what Yamaha recommends, but am really asking the question in hopes that I can get some "real world" experience from those that have tried this process. I'm really looking to see what's worked, and what's not worked for people over the years.

I'm quite sure that some of you have done this in the past. It's your experience that I'm hoping to learn from, whether the experience was good or not. I'd really appreciate, if anyone responds, if you could let me know how long you've been using and what effect the oil has had on the performance and longevity of the engine and clutch parts.

Thanks in advance for your comments and advice :D.

Do a search, its been debated to 15/50 :)

Thanks for the "15/50" search advice :).

Still wondering if people are having long-term success with the car-based synthetic oils. I can assume due to the lack of "counter points" to the car-based side of the argument that it must not be damaging the engines or clutches. Would love to have a couple people comment:

"Yeah, been using it for 2 years and no problems with the clutch!!"... or something like that. A little reassurance from some of the veterans out there is nice for us novice/newbies, that's all.

Found a few bits on information once I looked back within the last year. Found Mobil's motorcycle oil website, not sure if it's a bunch of marketing hype or not, they obviously want folks to buy the motorcycle specific oils.

If you want a true answer instead of opinions, do some research. Find the MSDS (material safety data sheet) for the oils your interested in and compare what the differences are. I can understand being leary about the term "motorcycle oil" as a marketing ploy but then again the term "synthetic" is also. For the most part (minus true synthetics) the base stock is the same, it the additives that make the difference. Telling someone what oil to run is like telling them what bike to ride, that's up to you. The only suggestion I will make is to use something for 4-stoke motorcycles. I did run car oil in my old bike, it developed problems later in life. People that I know and trust suggested that the car oil was most likely the cause, thats all it took for me to switch.

I have no problem with car oil. I run 20W50 Valvoline and change it every 200 miles. I dont seen the need for expensive additives if you change it frequently. Your tranmission/clutch likes regular oil without friction modifiers. :)

DesertChris and Indy WR450,

Thanks for the responses. I understand the whole "opinion" thing, and I appreciate your sharing your personal experience - that's what I'm looking for most :).

Seems like it may just be best to find a decent 4-stroke motorcycle oil and stick with it instead of some fancy automobile synthetic that may gum-up the clutch internals.

Anyone else have "opinions" or "real world" experience, don't hesitate to chime in!!

Thanks again - happy riding. :D

It's my understanding that regular auto motor oil lacks zinc, which is a lubricant that is contained in motorcycle-specific oils. Hell, I've ran regular oil in my bikes in the past, but now that I've learned this I'm reluctant. :)

ColoradoXR is on the right track. Zinc in a great lubricant for high shear items like piston rings and cam lobes. Zinc has been greatly reduced in automotive oils due to to fact that it collects on the O2 sensor and catalitic converter on emmision controlled cars.

I recently reviewed an article in MCN that compared car VS motorcycle oils. Even Mobil 1 15/50 has pretty much the same additive mix as the other car formulas. In a nutshell Amsoil motorcycle synthetic was in the top two or three in all tests. Mobil 1 motorcycle performed well along with the other moto synthetics. THe big thing to note is Amsoil was on the inexpensive end of the synthetics and it consistantly performed better than all other oils.

If you want to go a cheaper route Diesel oils such as Chevron Delo 400, Shell Rotella, Mobil Delvac 1.... do not have the Moly component that causes clutch slippage.

THe only damage you are likely to recieve from any oil is clutch slippage as long as you change it regularly. If you don't want to go through clutches don't use auto oils.

I use Mobil 1 15-50 in my Suzuki Bandit 1200 street bike, but since I only have 10,000 miles on the bike I can't really form an opinion. However I have a friend that has a 1986 Ninja 1000 that has 50,000 miles on it and has been using Mobil 1 15-50 since new. We inspected the clutch plates last year and they are still within spec for thickness. This bike has been over 160 MPH on many occasions. The transmission looked like new inside. Oil changed every 2000 miles. I don't use it in my dirt bikes because I change every 100 miles. I use Pennzoil 10-40 motorcycle oil at about $1.75 per quart.

Plain and simple. DO NOT use regular synthetic motor oil in your motorcycle. If you are hard or your bike you will find your clutch will start slipping and will eventually need to be replaced.

Some people say they havent had any problems, but trust someone who has made the gamble and lost. I bought a new suzuki gsxr-750 and put regular Mobile 1 oil in my bike after break-in. about 2500 KM of high revs and the clutch was toast from the oil. I am not hard on clutches either.

Not worth the risk my friend.

I have been using Mobil 1 auto oil in my WR400 ever since i bought it [ 3 years ago ] and in my Honda goldwing GL 1500 and it has over 100,000 miles on it and i have never had any trouble with the clutch . 15 w 50 in the wr and 5 w 30 in the wing

This debate is not as clear as I once thought it was :)

This article was written almost 10 years ago, some things have changed as to how much I don't know. I did find this though.........

Okay. Let's start with Mobil 1 MX4T. What does it offer that Mobil 1 for cars doesn't?

Mobil 1 MX4T is designed for sport bikes. Most of these bikes have multi-cylinder/multi-valve engines and use a common sump, which means the engine oil lubricates the engine, transmission and wet clutch. So unlike Mobil 1 for cars, Mobil 1 MX4T has no friction modifiers, which could lead to clutch slippage.

The motorcycle oil also has more phosphorus/zinc for enhanced wear protection at high engine speeds and high loads. Remember, most bikes don’t have catalytic converters, so higher levels of phosphorus are not a problem.

In addition, Mobil 1 MX4T uses different dispersant/detergent technology for better high-temperature performance and engine cleanliness. Mobil 1 MX4T is also offered in a different viscosity grade than Mobil 1 for passenger cars.

Looks like mobile 1 for cars has friction modifiers!

Exxon Mobile Material Safety Data Sheets

zinc dithiophosphate

Mobil 1 15w-50 .94%

Mobil 1 MX4T 1.08%

Looks like facts do support some of the claims.

So are you using this?

Results? And how much for a QT?


My bike is broke in now I think I will give the Mobil 1 MX4T a try. I have been using Mobil 1 10w-30 in my '97 car since the first oil change (now at 133,000 miles) with good results. Looks like its around $9 a quart and sold at Walmart and convience auto part stores.

Hey, The March additon of Motorcross Action had a great article on oil and viscosity. It's worth reading. :)

Fantastic!! :)

Just the sort of range of experiences and responses I was looking for. Thanks to all of you for contributing - it's really helped me make my decision. :D

I think I'm going to go with the Amsoil motorcycle semi synthetic. Anyone have any suggestions for where to buy this in the least expensive manner (I live in San Diego)?

Check out for $20 a year you can become a prefered customer and get their products at wholesale price. :)

Muchas Gracias, Senor!! :)

Will sign up for this deal, looks like it can't be beat.

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