Can You Lube a Motorcycle Chain with Engine Oil?
It’s oil, right? And it’s a lubricant. So can you use motor oil to lubricate a motorcycle chain? … Well yes, you could lube a motorcycle chain with engine oil, but it’s not a great idea.
What Does Motorcycle Chain Lube Do?
Motorcycle chain lube serves a couple of purposes. First, the chain itself has moving parts, and it keeps the contact points between these parts lubed to reduce friction.
A well-lubed chain is protected from stretching by reducing friction that prevents the chain from moving freely. Reducing friction prevents wear, and helps increase performance by lowering the resistance between the parts that can take power away from the motorcycle.
Can Engine Oil Be Used as Chain Lube?
You could use engine oil to lube a motorcycle chain, but there are things that oil will (and won’t) do that make this a bad idea. First off, because motor oil is designed to work in the high-heat environment inside an engine, it has a higher viscosity than chain lube.
This viscosity hurts the motorcycle chain in two ways. For starters, the higher viscosity acts as an adhesive for dirt and grime, which you don’t want on your bike's chain. Second, the higher viscosity prevents the oil from penetrating the rollers on the chain and from acting as a proper lubricant between the moving parts on the chain.
There are unsealed chains that require more upkeep, and there are sealed chains like O-, X-, and Z-ring chains. Make sure the lube you use is right for your bike’s chain type. Hint: It’s NOT engine oil.