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Scooter Oil 201 – Helping to Choose the Proper Scooter Oil

6 June 2010 116,589 views No Comment

Some of what you read here may be repetitive if you have already read Scooter Oil 101

Remember, there are two main types of motors is scooters – 2 stroke and 4 stroke. Almost all modern scooters above 50cc engine size are 4 stroke but many vintage scooters are 2 stroke even in the larger engine sizes.
Once your scooter is past the initial break-in period, it’s a good idea to pick one brand of quality oil and stick with it. This will avoid the potential screw-up of mixing and matching oils such as standard (dinosaur oil), synthetic, or semi-synthetic.

2 stroke scooter oil

2 strokes engines run on a mix of oil and gas and get lubrication from the oil which is mixed with the gas as combustion occurs in the cylinder. Most vintage 2 strokes and some modern high performance 2 strokes require the oil to manually be premixed with the gas (just like you would do for a chain saw or weed whacker).

Older 2 strokes such as the vintage Vespas were designed to burn large quantities of 2 stroke oil – in the range of 8 – 10 ounces per gallon. This made for quite a trail of blue smoke and a smelly machine that was not environmentally friendly. Newer 2 strokes have much more efficient designs and can burn as little as 1 ounce per gallon – not as environmentally friendly as a 4 stroke, but pretty darn good compared to the scooters of yesteryear.

Most modern 2 strokes simply require you to fill an oil reservoir in the scooter and the oil is mixed with the gas automatically. Since 2 stroke scooters burn the oil and you are always replenishing the reservoir, they do not require oil changes like a 4 stroke scooter. Check this oil reservoir every couple of fill ups and, if you can, carry a bottle of 2 stroke oil with you under the seat. We recommend wrapping it in a Ziploc bag as an extra precaution against spillage.

Today’s 2 stroke oils are very advanced and designed specifically for certain applications and uses. Make sure you use a 2 stoke oil that is specifically designed for a scooter, not oil that is meant to be used in chainsaws,  lawnmowers, and the like. (Even motorcycle 2 stroke oils may not be formulated to optimize the performance of a 2 stroke scooter engine).

Again – make sure you are not using motor oil designed for a 4 stroke in a 2 stroke. Pick a high quality oil and stay with it. Some of the better, scooter specific oils cost a little more but it is cheap insurance. Brands like AMSOIL,  IPONE, Golden Spectro, Motul, and  Repsol have several scooter-specific 2 stroke oil formulations. Most are low odour-low smoke and IPONE even makes a strawberry scented oil. Modern oils can actually bond to the metal to build up a lubricating film over time (a good thing). Constantly changing oils or brands may keep this from happening.

4 stroke scooter oil

Four stroke motors are lubricated by an oil bath covering all the motor’s moving parts. 4 stroke scooter engines require oil changes since they are constantly recirculating the same oil rather than burning it. During the break-in period, this is especially important. Most scooter brands recommend using a non-synthetic during the break-in period and then you can change after that. Do not mix and match oils. If you are topping up your oil, make sure you know what is in your scooter and stick with it. (Not only, standard, synthetic, synthetic blend, but also the same brand if possible.)

Follow your manufacturers recommendations closely for both the type of oil to use and the oil service intervals. Being a bit anal about regular oil changes is cheap insurance for your scooter.

Common Questions about Scooter Oil

Which type of oil should I use, synthetic, semi-synthetic (synthetic blend) or mineral?

This may sound like a cop out, but check your manufacturers recommendations and then go to the internet and do some research on what people are saying in the various groups about the best oil recommendations for your particular scooter model. Remember, if you have done performance modifications, that can affect your choice of lubricants and frequency of oil changes. Don’t mix and match, even though there are some forums out there that say this may be an OK thing to do.

There are so many types of synthetic scooter oil – What is the difference?

Synthetic oil can be made to match the specific requirements of certain applications. Some are made to pre-mix, some can be used in both injector of pre-mix situations, some are specifically for pre-mix, some are low smoke, low odour, some are even scented. Other synthetics are made specifically for the demands of racing and high performance engines.

I want to switch to a synthetic oil, what should I do?

2 strokes

When you switch to a synthetic oil you should drain your oil tank if you have a injector bike – run your bike low on fuel if you are pre-mix – then start using the new oil. Be light on the throttle for the first tank so you can build up a film, but remember to stay with the same brand after you make the switch.

4 strokes

Warm up your scooter by riding around for 10 minutes or so. Remove the drain plug to drain all oil and also replace the oil filter. Fill up with the new oil and carefully check the level. Gently ride for a few minutes and then recheck the levels and look for any leaks around the filter or drain plug.

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged.

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