This question is simple, but I can't find the answer.

It is not recommended to put automobile engine oil on a motorcycle because motorcycle is often run with much higher RPM, but what about the in reverse?

Can I use motorcycle engine oil on automobile? I can only find answer about motorcylce engine oil is often costly than automobile engine oil so it is not worth it but I would like to more in a view of mechanic.

  • 1
    I don't believe a mechanic would waste his time researching this one. Automobile oil is designed for automobiles. Why would anyone put something that wasn't designed for it in such an expensive investment? Oil is cheap compared to engine failure.
    – Jupiter
    Aug 15, 2020 at 12:56
  • I personally don't think it would be an issue to go either way. Motorcycles and cars both recommend a weight and type of oil, not a bottle with a picture of a motorcycle or car on it. As long as the weight and rating match the vehicle manufacture's recommendation, it should be fine. Sep 16, 2020 at 3:48
  • I have used car oil in bikes many times. Normal concern people have is the clutch, but rarely an issue.
    – Kickstart
    Sep 17, 2020 at 11:05

3 Answers 3


The main difference is that motorcycle oil are used for the engine, gearbox and clutch while automotive engine oils are "specialized" for the engine. Therefor the motorcycle oil needs certain additives (mostly wear protection) that the engine doesn't need, while the automotive engine oils contains more friction modifiers (low friction, optimizing fuel usage and heating) that are unsuitable on an motorcycle clutch, as a wet clutch needs a defined friction.

Bottom line: Use the right automotive oil for cars and use the right motorcycle oil for motorcycles


Back in the early 1980's I used motorcycle oil in my 1969 Plymouth GTX, never had a problem, Here is why, automotive engine oil was being regulated for heavy metals like copper and zinc, so they were reduced and eventually removed from auto oil, but not motorcycle oil, so I used that for improved friction protection in those days.

Now a days most automotive engines are using roller valve trains, that protection is not as critical anymore, but I still use Valvoline VR racing oil, which is loaded with zinc.

If you have any gas engine that is not a roller lifter type, you should at least be running a zinc additive in your oil.


A concern might be the additive package in the specific oil you use. Some of the additives that used to be common in auto oils affected the catalytic converter so the levels were heavily restricted. Motorcycle oils might well still have higher levels of these additives.

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