Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Can I use Oil intended for a car in my bike?

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' at netrider.net.au started by Lachlan56, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Hey guys,

    I was planning to ride to work tomorrow for the first time, anyway I went out to my bike and noticed it had leaked some oil and it reminded me to check the oil level. Anyway I peered into the sight window and couldn't actually see any oi. So Obviously it needs topping up. I had a look under the house and all I found was half a bottle of Shell Helix 20/50 oil intended for use in cars.

    Now, If I used this oil to top my bike back upto safe oil levels, then rode it until the weekend where I would do a full oil and filter change using proper motorcycle oil, is this going to be ok? I mean its still oil right? In theory I would only be adding a little, just to top it back up again. And it would be used for 3 days or so.

    Is it ok to mix it in with the current oil in the bike?
    If its a huge no no and theres a high chance of damaging my engine by doing so well then I will take the car tomorrow and get some oil in the afternoon but I was really hopeing to ride tomorrow.

    So....ok or not ok?
  2. Mind elaborating at all?
  3. NO.


    Run a search, but in a nutshel.. almost all car oils have friction modifiers with are fine for cars, but not for bikes, mainly because the engine oil is also for the clutch with a bike. These friction modifiers can cause clutch issues.
  4. Im actually reading through a few threads now on the matter, one interesting post from "The Oil Controversy Thread" states the following:

    From what I can gather is that I MIGHT get a bit of clutch slippage if the oil used did contain these 'friction modifiers"
    And that this problem would go away anyway as soon as I did a full oil change.

    Sounds to me like I would probably be ok topping my bike up with car oil.
    Unless I am missing something major?

    Don't get my wrong, I am not trying to ignore your advice, infact I value it, however It seems to me like there would be no real harm in using at most half a litre (probably only like 100ml) of car oil just to make sure my bike is topped up.

    If I am missing something obvious I am happy to be told about it though. :p
  5. can we assume you had it on the centre stand or at least took it off the side stand?
  6. Yes, bike was on center stand. Granted I was using a torch to light my way (will check it again tomorrow in daylight)

    Im guessing the previous owner (only got the bike Saturday) didn't take very good care of the bike. Leaks oil and the oil is low. Who knows how long since its been changed. Pity you only find out these things AFTER the purchase. But oh well, I am still happy with it. I might move forward my plans and do a full oil/filter change tomorrow after work.
  7. Were you checking it on the sidestand? Sounds like you were. Bike needs to be upright to check the oil level properly.
  8. Errm I'm assuming the car oil you're talking about is the right type (eg. SG, AE, whatever) and correct temp range. Also, shouldn't mix oils if you can avoid it at all. Also, bike oil is specifically designed for bikes.. it would make sense that they would be of higher quality since car engines are more robust and less stressed.

    I'm interested to know whether you can really use car oil in a bike without any difference at all. But until I know that for sure, with documented (from many sources) proof, I'll keep to using motul 5100.
  9. The shell you have there has no friction modifiers. It will be fine.

    Without knowing exactly what oil is in the bike already, it is difficult to say whether they will mix well, but the greater chance is that there will be no issue, particularly if you are dumping the oil on the weekend.

    As mentioned, friction modifiers have not been used in Aus for some time, after billions lost due to glazed bores. The latest, greatest is moly (molybdium disulphide) which seems to be present in any Royal Purple, ULX110, and a good deal of other oils meeting the latest SL classification. I have read moly is compatible with wet clutches, but am cautious. Anyway getting off track.

    98% sure you will feel no ill effect.
  10. Thanks guys.

    I will top the oil up tomorrow before work, not sure how low it actually is.
    If it needs more than say 150ml to be at the right level then I might just take the car, pickup fresh oil and filter on the way home and do it in the afternoon.

    I just REALLY wanted to ride to work tomorrow is all, otherwise I would wait.

    Who knows, it might be raining tomorrow anyway and I decide to take the car.
    I will update with what I ended up doing, if my bike dies on my halfway home tomorrow, well I can't say I wasn't warned. I think I should be ok though.
  11. I'd just take the car to work, then do the service when you get home...How do you know the previous owner used a similar oil to the type you want to top it up with?
  12. Sounds to me like you'd be better off doing the service, then riding the bike. It might be a good idea to fix the oil leak while you're at it. :)
  13. Personally, I'm not all that fussed on motul 5100 anymore. I have done about half a dozen or more services with the stuff and I think it doesn't have a very long life. The Shell VSX seems to last a bit longer, but bugger paying $65/4l.

    On advice from the oil controversy thread I'll be trying rimula X next service.
  14. oil oil oil eh... a bees dick wont cause an issue if you are going to change it in two days or so.. just change it all and be happy and go. friction modification is inertesting isnt it...and oils aint oils.
  15. I saw 5100 for $66/4ltrs in the bike shop last week. Who do Motul think they are?
  16. Car oil's better than no oil.

    Since Andy's coments on the oil controversy thread, I run Delo 400 diesel truck oil, $30/4 litres. The bike seems very happy.
  17. ZZR = GTX3 as approved by Kwaka themselves.
  18. He tried to talk me into using that as well, but I just can't get my head around putting diesel oil in my bike as I've discussed with him.

    I just bought 5ltrs of Repco's own brand of oil 10-40w for $25. The Repco sales assistant told me the Repco branded oil is repackaged Mobil oil.


  19. Diesel oil is simply a high detergent oil. A lot of oils are now classified for petrol and diesel use, as petrol oils have come a long way in controlling deposits, varnish and sludge.