Ask MO Anything: The Ongoing Oil Debate Goes On

Dear MOron Sir,

Good morning. Thanks to sharing your nice information about steering head bearings. I want to know after how many kilometers I have to change/drain the lubricant? My bike brand is Hero Honda Splendor 100, year 2000 model. Normally I’m using castrol SAE 20W40, last week I put in Gulf 4T Plus SAE 20W40. The manufacturer has written “Up to 10,000 km” can run this lubricant oil.

So, kindly  inform me what is the standard cycle for oil changing?

Thanks in advance.

Shahin

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Dear Shahin,

Here in the U.S., we have developed a technology for plugging black holes in outer space by filling them with people’s opinions about what kind of oil to use and how often to change it. The best answer, in my opinion, is to follow the recommendation of the people who built your motorcycle. It seems like they would know best. In the case of your Hero, it’s easy to Google up and go to Heromotocorp.com, and once you’re there it’s easy to find the Maintenance Guide section of the site and plug in your specific model, ie, Splendor 100, which gives us this page.

If your bike’s a Splendor + (there are a few Splendors), the guide says you should use 10W30 made by Tide Water Oil Co., Savita Oil, or Bharat Petroleum Corp. In the U.S., we ignore all the brand naming and look for the grade of oil, which is also specified on the same page: SJ Grade, JASO MA is what Hero says your Splendor takes. JASO is Japanese Automotive Standards Organization, which was formed to ensure that whatever brand of oil you put in your bike, it will meet certain requirements: The SJ means the oil meets the specified lubrication specs, the MA means it’s approved for bike engines that share oil with a wet clutch. Those two requirements met, your Splendor will be happy.

The same page tells you to do the first oil change at 500 to 750 kms (there are a lot of tiny bits of metal and clutch material when an engine is brand new so be sure to clean your bike’s oil screen and centrifugal filter also), then every 6000 kms (3728 miles) after that.

Beyond those manufacturer suggestions, it’s really every man for himself. You might be able to leave Gulf 4T in there for “up to” 10,000 km if that’s what the manufacturer specifies (many current Hondas have 8000-mile intervals, or 12,875 km, and the new Triumph Street Cup specs a 10k-mile oil change interval), but those bigger Twin-cylinder engines don’t stress their oil nearly as hard as your 100cc Single.

If you ride more than 6000 kms a year, you might consider using synthetic oil, which is more expensive but lasts longer: You could probably safely stretch it to 8000 km with synthetic oil in your bike. Just try to use the specified weight, and look for Grade SJ and JASO MA.

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Direct your motorcycle-related questions to AskMoAnything@motorcycle.com, though some say we’re better at non-motorcycle-related ones…

 

  • Mahatma

    Personally I like changing the oil.I like the smoother gear change on my honda hawk.I usually change it every 2000 miles,but I may be a bit anal about it.

    • Blake Newton

      When the parts store I worked at had a rep from Pennzoil/ Quaker State come in, we had a primer on this. A point that I remembered was oil gets dirty long before it wears out. Oil does a myriad of tasks. Lubrication, detergency, cooling and in a motorcycle usually the oil also does double duty in the transmission (automotive fluids often do only one). Include in this motorcycles can scream to heights that is unseen in the automotive world save for Formula 1. Then there are designs that are aircooled like Harleys, 2 valve Ducatis and some BMWs for instance. The stresses on motorcycle oil is absolutely mind blowing. I might halve the oil changes and would never go any further than 3000 miles even if the dealer was OK with far longer service intervals.

      • Blake Newton

        By my comment that automotive fluid only does one, I meant it usually is not used anywhere other than in the engine itself, unlike most motorcycle transmissions.

  • Starmag

    Nice little super practical bike. 100cc Honda designed engine, crash bars,(have you seen the vids of traffic in India?), luggage rack, enclosed chain drive, mag wheels, even a little cafe fairing and it’s not styled like some sort of manga nightmare. We take a lot for granted in the west.

    From Wiki:

    As of 2009, Splendor models were selling at a rate of one million per year.[1]

    • ZoMbiE

      It was my first bike! One of the most Cheapest motorcycles to run and maintain. I was getting a mileage of 75kmpl (Euro II Model)!! Good Old Memories 🙂

  • JMDGT

    Motorcyçles use oil?

  • DickRuble

    Shell Rotella synthetic for diesel engines.

    Here’s a primer on motor oils and their uses

    https://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Oils1.html

  • Jason M.

    For me it’s every 5,000 miles and before wintering (though that’s rare).

  • Andre Capitao Melo

    My rule of thumb is checking the mileage in the manual and make it half of that. Oil is one of the cheapest maintenance items, no need to risk it.