Choosing The Right Engine Oil

Choosing the right engine oil can be quite difficult sometimes. Honestly, most engine oil these days can be just good enough for your motorcycle but what you actually need to pay attention is not the brand, but the standard and its classification.

In this article, I will focus more on motorcycle engine but generally, the principle applies to most of the engines. You should always refer to your manufacturer’s manual to see what is the best for your engine. This write up is merely to provide basic guidelines in choosing the right engine oil.

Modern motorcycles usually have the same oil lubricating the engine and the wet clutch. For this purpose most of the time the regular friction modified engine oils are not good enough. To make sure that the right oil is used motorcycle manufacturers usually require the oil to meet one of the JASO standards explained below.

The motor oils that meet the JASO T 903:2006 standard can be classified into four grades: JASO MA, JASO MA1, JASO MA2 and JASO MB. The classification is based on the results of the JASO T 904:2006 clutch system firction test.

In order for a motor oil to meet any of the above mentioned JASO standards it must be at least of one of the following quality levels:

  • API SG, SH, SJ, SL, SM
  • ILSAC GF-1, GF-2, GF-3
  • ACEA A1/B1, A3/B3, A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3

Furthermore, the motor oil’s Dynamic Friction Characteristic Index (DFI), Static Friction Characteristic Index (SFI) and Stop Time Index (STI) should be within the following limits according to the JASO 904:2006 friction test:

The JASO MA range is further divided into 2 distinct ranges – the JASO MA1 and JASO MA2 ranges – as follows:

If all three properties of a JASO MA oil fall within the limits specified as MA1 then the oil can be classified as a JASO MA1 oil. If all its properties fall within the limits of MA2 then it can be classified as a JASO MA2 oil. If some properties fall within the MA1 subcategory but others in MA2 then the product is simply a JASO MA product.

Since Hyosung motorcycle is on a Wet Clutch, you should always use JASO MA, preferably MA2 standard.

Apart from JASO and SAE Grade, you should also pay attention on the engine oil API.

As per the image below, it is based on Car Engine oil but the API classification applies to motorcycle as well.

The API Classification is based on when the Car/Motorcycle etc are manufactured and the engine oil that you used has to alteast meet its minimum API classification requirement.

SN Introduced in October 2010 for 2011 and older vehicles, designed to provide improved high temperature deposit protection for pistons, more stringent sludge control, and seal compatibility. API SN with Resource Conserving matches ILSAC GF-5 by combining API SN performance with improved fuel economy, turbocharger protection, emission control systemc

SM Current For 2010 and older automotive engines.

SL Current For 2004 and older automotive engines.

SJ Current For 2001 and older automotive engines.

SH Obsolete OBSOLETE: For 1996 and older automotive engines.

SG Obsolete CAUTION: Not suitable for use in most gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1993. May not provide adequate protection against build-up of engine sludge, oxidation, or wear.

SF Obsolete CAUTION: Not suitable for use in most gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1988. May not provide adequate protection against build-up of engine sludge.

SE Obsolete CAUTION: Not suitable for use in most gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1979.

SD Obsolete CAUTION: Not suitable for use in most gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1971. Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.

SC Obsolete CAUTION: Not suitable for use in most gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1967. Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.

SB Obsolete CAUTION: Not suitable for use in most gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1951. Use in more modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.

SA Obsolete CAUTION: Contains no additives. Not suitable for use in most gasoline-powered automotive engines built after 1930. Use in modern engines may cause unsatisfactory performance or equipment harm.

Below are the recommendation for Hyosung engines and the minimum API that you should use is SJ.

Remember, regardless of what engine oil brand that you use, most of them provide sufficient protections for your engine. The main things that you need to take into consideration is the API Classification and JASO standards.

*Image credited to Zeirie Zack Mzy.

The SAE grade is secondary I.e. If you’re in South Eash Asia, you can use 10W40, 10W50, 15W50 and these are all based on your personal preferences and how aggressive you push your engine. If you’re riding in a hot weather and aggressively, you should consider higher viscosity grade oil.

If you’re not sure about the minimum or recommended requirement for Engine oil, you should always refer to your manufacturer’s manual.

On another note, use unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher for your Hyosung motorcycle. Unleaded gasoline can extend spark plug life and exhaust components life.

If you have any questions, drop them at the comment box below and feel free to share this article via the social buttons.


9 Responses

  1. Chris (Administrator) says:

    Hi Hylife,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. IMHO, I and thousands of other Hyosung users has been using the mixture of RON 95 & 97 without any issues. RON 91 is not available at our country and some of us already on this machine for almost 10 years and never had any issues with the engine using RON 95 etc.

    • Hylife says:

      [quote] I and thousands of other Hyosung users has been using the mixture of RON 95 & 97 without any issues .. [/quote]
      In line with UN standards for over a decade now, all motor vehicles made by UN member countries for export must be designed to run on standard 91RON fuel.
      Because of this, the Hyo ECU is tuned for 91RON. It can run quite efficiently on higher octane fuels with the corrected ECU mapping but it simply has an ECU mapped for 91 because that is what 99% of the world is legislated to use.
      Higher octane fuel does NOT produce more energy over lower octane fuel unless you can force more oxygen into the combustion process such as with a turbo or hypercharger. Octane ratings are a measure of resistance to detonation under pressure.
      If 91RON is available, use it. If you choose to waste your money buying higher octane fuel that is of course your perogative.
      However, I do understand that for politcical reasons in support of local agriculture, some countries (South America, Ex Soviet States) choose to import or use low grade oil to produce low octane fuel which is then blended with locally produced ethanol to raise the octane levels to an acceptable level for general use.
      All petroleum fuels over 91RON are ethanol blends.
      Without getting into a debate about the pros and many would say the severe cons of ethanol on small displacement engines, I would suggest that you ask your importer to obtain from Korea the “non-standard fuel” ECU map for 95RON and have your dealer re-flash your ECU.
      Once the ECU stops trying to self correct for the inefficient high octane mixtures, it will eliminate the lean running and you will love the smoother and higher power delivery.

      • Chris (Administrator) says:

        Thanks for your feedback, if you have any other suggestions, please click on the Contact Me section and drop me an email. We will share more and hope others would benefit from it.

    • Hylife says:

      Of course if you have an old carburetted Hyo engine (pre 2009) then I would hope that your dealer would naturally have manually re-tuned the carbs for the non-stndard fuel before it was released to the original purchaser.
      The point of my discussion is towards the more modern EFI engines which have no such manual adjustments and which rely solely on a fixed ECU map which then makes corrections to the fuel injector open times based on voltage readings from an array of sensors on the engine, cooling and exhaust systems.

      • Chris (Administrator) says:

        Please click on the Contact Me section and drop me an email. We will share more and hope others would benefit from it.

  2. Chris (Administrator) says:

    Hi Hylife,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. IMHO, I and thousands of other Hyosung users has been using the mixture of RON 95 & 97 without any issues. RON 91 is not available at our country and some of us already on this machine for almost 10 years and never had any issues with the engine using RON 95 etc.

  3. Hylife says:

    …. On another note, use unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher for your Hyosung motorcycle. Unleaded gasoline can extend spark plug life and exhaust components life…..
    That is not quite correct. You must ONLY use Unleaded 91RON fuel in your EFI Hyosung as that is what the ECI is programmed for.
    Use of leaded fuels will permanently damage the catalytic converter in the exhaust and render the machine unroadworthy as it will no longer meet emissions laws.
    Use of higher octane ratings without forcing more oxygen into the combustion chamber by use of a turbo will result in unburnt fuel exiting the exhaust and then the ECU will shorten the injector open times resulting in a hot and lean running engine which other than carboning up your top end will void your warranty.
    Don’t wast your money on anything other than 91RON.

    • Chris (Administrator) says:

      Hi Hylife, many thanks for your feedback, is good the receive such detailed explanations. Unfortunately in my country, they don’t sell RON 91 and we have been using RON 95 and above more than a decade.

  4. Hylife says:

    …. On another note, use unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher for your Hyosung motorcycle. Unleaded gasoline can extend spark plug life and exhaust components life…..
    That is not quite correct. You must ONLY use Unleaded 91RON fuel in your EFI Hyosung as that is what the ECI is programmed for.
    Use of leaded fuels will permanently damage the catalytic converter in the exhaust and render the machine unroadworthy as it will no longer meet emissions laws.
    Use of higher octane ratings without forcing more oxygen into the combustion chamber by use of a turbo will result in unburnt fuel exiting the exhaust and then the ECU will shorten the injector open times resulting in a hot and lean running engine which other than carboning up your top end will void your warranty.
    Don’t wast your money on anything other than 91RON.

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