Oil costs and change frequency - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Oil costs and change frequency

Been lots of great threads on the quality ratings and detailed viscosity specs for motor oil. Instead of reviving those great comments, thought I would ask a couple of basic questions.

Why the huge price spread between some of the synthetics? ($6 - $16/quart)

Trying to give business to a local shop vs. Wally World, I bought AMS 10W-40 MC synthetic last year at a price of $12/quart. Should I just use one of the more popular mass produced brands for half the cost?

What milage frequency do you change at?

If only putting on 2,500 miles per year, would you change at the end or the beginning of the season? I do sneak in an occasional winter ride.

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 10:13 AM
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I use valveoline 10/40 motorcycle oil . About $4.00 a quart at wal mart.I change it about 2500-3000 miles.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 10:22 AM
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I use the Rotella T6 5w40, also a "motorcycle oil" but synthetic and only about five bucks a quart. I change a 3k.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 12:01 PM
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I use Mobil1 15w-50 that I buy at Walmart for around $26 (5 qts), and I change oil & filter at 5K miles, 8 K kms. So whenever my odometer is divisible by 5000 (US) or 8000 (Canada) - it's time to change it.


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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 01:29 PM
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Preface: I'm not a chemical engineer.

Facts: There are many motorcycles (and cars) with 100K+ miles , that have never seen a drop of synthetic. Most people relinquish ownership WAYYY before they ever encounter any engine problem that would even be remotely related to wear-- that could be traced to oil quality problem, when oil was changed appropriately. Many motor problems are related to "other" mechanical issues that may cause wear due to: internal collision, improper oil flow, timing/cam chain issue, etc.... but not related to oil type (synthetic vs. non-synthetic).

Opinion: This boils down to opinion, like many other things. Without veering off course (too far), from your original inquiry, any good synthetic (with adequate specs/viscosity) should be fine for your described use. The 2,500 miles that you ride, should be no issue for an appropriately matched synthetic. Personally, I don't prefer to use any oil for more than 6 months due to the contaminants that collect, which is a totally other factor. Many of my current/recent motorcycles in past years have only required a little over 2 quarts to refill (oil change is relatively inexpensive anyway). I also ride less than 3,000k miles/yr, and have for many years-- busy guy! For my peace of mind (in normal operating conditions), my preference is to change every 6 months but wouldn't loose sleep if I waited up to 12 months (in normal operating conditions). I feel confident in this approach using non-synthetic and certainly would be confident in this approach with synthetic.

Some related info:
Time (not mileage) between oil changes | Passenger Car Motor Oil (PCMO) - Gasoline Cars/Pickups/Vans/SUVs | Bob Is The Oil Guy

Top 7 Urban Legends About Motor Oil


For an oil change that only requires a little over 2 quarts, only stays in bike for 12 months, and is proposed to use synthetic, my vote would also be the (cheaper) synthetic 5w/40 Rotella as waltermitty suggested-- even though the Rotella non-synthetic would probably protect just as well in the conditions that you describe.

Unrelated: A friend of mine owned a SR500 for close to 25 years and 70k miles. It's an air-cooled single-cylinder engine that shears/stresses oil. He rode the bike relatively hard, changed the oil once/twice per year, and used non-synthetic oil for the duration (whatever brand was handy). The bike still ran strong when he sold it. Just goes to show that it's important to change the oil periodically, but in 25 years of use, it's not necessary to use synthetic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rayj View Post
Been lots of great threads on the quality ratings and detailed viscosity specs for motor oil. Instead of reviving those great comments, thought I would ask a couple of basic questions.

Why the huge price spread between some of the synthetics? ($6 - $16/quart)

Trying to give business to a local shop vs. Wally World, I bought AMS 10W-40 MC synthetic last year at a price of $12/quart. Should I just use one of the more popular mass produced brands for half the cost?

What milage frequency do you change at?

If only putting on 2,500 miles per year, would you change at the end or the beginning of the season? I do sneak in an occasional winter ride.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 03:16 PM
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I'm a fan of full synth oils. Currently, I think I have some Mobil1 in there, got a good price at Pep Boys. Always been a fan of Motul, however. I change about every 3000 miles. Cheap insurance. If you only put about that your bike per season, it's best to change it at the end of the season and store the bike with clean oil. Then just fire it up come Spring!
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 03:46 PM
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Just remember, if you do go with synthetic you have to stay with it.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 04:41 PM
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No you don't. Urban myth.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Murph View Post
Just remember, if you do go with synthetic you have to stay with it.
That's simply untrue and, when you think about it, utter nonsense.

If I can catch Valvoline 4T 10W-40 synthetic for a nice price at Walmart.com, I'll grab a six-bottle box and have it shipped free to the WM neighborhood store a few min from my house. I use that every 4k miles (factory service interval) in the FJR since it's still under warranty and it's a JASO2 certified oil. After that, I may start using Rotella or stick with the Valvoline 4T since the bike shifts smoothly with it.

Currently I'm running Rotella dino oil in the Versys since I had enough left in a 2.5 gallon jug to do the customary change right after buying a used bike. One of my riding buds has had a Bandit 1250S for several years. He rides it hard and fast. Rotella dino is the only oil he's ever used in it (every 3-4K miles). That bike has over 125,000 miles on the odo with zero engine problems.

The biggest issue for wet clutch high performance bikes is shearing of the oil which leads to a breakdown in viscosity. The change interval varies from bike to bike depending on the nature of the engine (typical revs and stresses) and the oil capacity. A good example of this is the Triumph Rocket III. It takes a bit over 6 quarts of synthetic oil with a factory-recommended change interval of 10,000 miles. I had mine for two years and never quite put enough miles on it to become due for an oil change.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayj View Post
Been lots of great threads on the quality ratings and detailed viscosity specs for motor oil. Instead of reviving those great comments, thought I would ask a couple of basic questions.

Why the huge price spread between some of the synthetics? ($6 - $16/quart)

Trying to give business to a local shop vs. Wally World, I bought AMS 10W-40 MC synthetic last year at a price of $12/quart. Should I just use one of the more popular mass produced brands for half the cost?

What milage frequency do you change at?

If only putting on 2,500 miles per year, would you change at the end or the beginning of the season? I do sneak in an occasional winter ride.
i change out mid season, i see no point leaving fresh oil in over the winter season, i like to feel the difference new oil brings generally i change out when i feel the bike requires it, the vibes the engine noises and look at the speedo tells the story.

i am also more friendly to my bike in the first part of the riding season and like to give it some love.

semi syn blend is good enough for the versys
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayj View Post
Trying to give business to a local shop vs. Wally World, I bought AMS 10W-40 MC synthetic last year at a price of $12/quart. Should I just use one of the more popular mass produced brands for half the cost?

What milage frequency do you change at?

If only putting on 2,500 miles per year, would you change at the end or the beginning of the season? I do sneak in an occasional winter ride.
I would use any JASO motorcycle rated oil. Personally I use fully synthetic, but that's really a carryover from my car habits. Fully synthetic supposedly wets the metal better and stays there after shutdown better than non-syn or semi-syn oils. Since most wear occurs at startup if the parts are dry, I like the synthetics.

This may be where a real tribologist steps in and says that is all marketing spoo. Idk, but for the minor cost difference I like the peace of mind with fully synthetics.

But you should be just fine with any JASO rated oil as long as you take care of the bike, which it sounds like you do.

I change at 500 miles, then again at 1000-1500 miles. New filters, too. Thereafter the bike gets a change every 3000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.

Generally I change the oil just before putting the bike away for the winter. That way there are no acids or other contaminants sitting still corroding parts all winter.

Those are my theories, perhaps not based on anything more than what I've heard and read.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by turn8a View Post
I use valveoline 10/40 motorcycle oil . About $4.00 a quart at wal mart.I change it about 2500-3000 miles.
I too use the Valvoline MC oil...I can get it at the local auto parts store for about $5 but they usually have a buy three get one deal.

I really don't do Walmart but that's another thread.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 09:21 PM
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I use Shell's Rotella T and change every 5000 miles or 12 months.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-16-2016, 07:29 AM
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Rotella 15W-40 every 3,000 miles
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 05:36 PM
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I get whatever automotive synthetic I can get and change it every 12,000kms (7500 miles). I had been using Chevron as I coudl get it in Costco, but they no longer carry it, so the last two oil changes have been done with Autozone European Formula synthetic; it's certified for use in BMW, VW and MB, so it's good enough.

The manual says 12,000kms with regular dynosaur oil, 12,000kms with synthetic is already on the safe side. Bike has 54,000kms and I've never added any oil in between oil changes. Last oil change was done after going from Mexico City to La Paz, riding the whole baja to San Diego, then to San Francisco, Las Vegas, 4 corners, Cortez, Rosswell, Albuquerque, Laredo and back to Mexico City.

Oh, and I've always used Bosch 3300 filters that I also get at Autozone.
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Last edited by Süsser Tod; 02-17-2016 at 05:39 PM.
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Süsser Tod View Post
I get whatever automotive synthetic I can get and change it every 12,000kms (7500 miles). I had been using Chevron as I coudl get it in Costco, but they no longer carry it, so the last two oil changes have been done with Autozone European Formula synthetic; it's certified for use in BMW, VW and MB, so it's good enough.

The manual says 12,000kms with regular dynosaur oil, 12,000kms with synthetic is already on the safe side. Bike has 54,000kms and I've never added any oil in between oil changes. Last oil change was done after going from Mexico City to La Paz, riding the whole baja to San Diego, then to San Francisco, Las Vegas, 4 corners, Cortez, Rosswell, Albuquerque, Laredo and back to Mexico City.

Oh, and I've always used Bosch 3300 filters that I also get at Autozone.
Careful. Many automotive oils (synthetic, dino and blends usually labeled "energy saving") have what are called "friction modifiers" added to them to help cars/truck get a slightly higher MPG and reduce some engine wear. These should not be used in wet clutch bikes like the Versys.

Here's what Castrol has to say about it -

Castrol does not recommend using passenger car motor oils like Castrol GTX in motorcycles. In 1996 the American Petroleum
Institute (API) upgraded the performance standards of motor oil from SG to SJ (currently SN). This upgrade impacted the friction modifiers and zinc and phosphorus levels to address the fuel economy, catalytic converter and emissions issues of passenger cars. For motorcycles, the additional friction modifiers can affect wet clutch performance, and these engines typically require a higher level of the anti-wear additives (zinc and phosphorus).
Passenger car oils use friction modifying additives to reduce friction in specific areas of the engine such as the valve train and piston ring/cylinder. Friction modifiers react with metals forming a molecular layer that reduces friction between moving surfaces. In a typical motorcycle engine with an oil immersed clutch (wet clutch), friction modifiers may be absorbed on the clutch plates rather than on the metal surfaces. This can reduce the friction coefficient of the clutch plates and as a result the clutch will start slipping causing a loss of power transfer to the back wheel, overheating and increased wear.
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 02:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayj View Post
Been lots of great threads on the quality ratings and detailed viscosity specs for motor oil. Instead of reviving those great comments, thought I would ask a couple of basic questions.

Why the huge price spread between some of the synthetics? ($6 - $16/quart)

Trying to give business to a local shop vs. Wally World, I bought AMS 10W-40 MC synthetic last year at a price of $12/quart. Should I just use one of the more popular mass produced brands for half the cost?

What milage frequency do you change at?

If only putting on 2,500 miles per year, would you change at the end or the beginning of the season? I do sneak in an occasional winter ride.
I change the oil in my 2003 VW Golf once every 16,000km/10,000miles with synthetic as recommend by owners manual. With 250,000km on the odometer the engine does not use oil between changes.

My point is the 3000 mile change interval often perpetrated on the internet is a myth and does nothing but waist money and oil. A non synthetic motor oil is all you need to drive your bike 3000 miles a year and change it annually. I believe the Kawasaki manual recommends 7500 mile oil changes although I would use a synthetic oil for this interval. 3L or quarts is all that is required.

The main difference between diesel truck and motorcycle oils is truck oils use a thinner base oil to provide better flow characteristics in freezing cold start conditions while motorcycle oils use a thicker base oil to work better in the combined sump of a motorcycle. Diesel oils also use a different additive package than gasoline oils as soot control is an issue in diesel engines while gasoline engine oils function in an engine where the fuel is not a lubricant too, unlike diesels.
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Last edited by twowheels; 02-18-2016 at 03:18 AM.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 05:27 AM
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Careful. Many automotive oils (synthetic, dino and blends usually labeled "energy saving") have what are called "friction modifiers" added to them to help cars/truck get a slightly higher MPG and reduce some engine wear. These should not be used in wet clutch bikes like the Versys.
I'm well aware of it, none of the automotive oils I've used in my Versys, or my other bikes, have been energy conserving. I've been riding daily for the last 12 years, I haven't had a car for the last 6, and I have yet to have a clutch issue. Only oils you have to be carefull with are the very thin ones, like 5W-30, 0W-20, etc; those are usually energy conserving while 0W-40 (the one I use) are not, you just have to make sure the bottel does not have the "Energy Conserving" legend.

Current prices right now a quart of Motul 7100 is twice as much as 1 quart of Autozone European Formula Synthetic (I don't know if this oil is available in the USA), for the price of the Autozone I can only get 1 quart of Motul 3100, a mineral oil. Well, I rather use the Autozone synthetic instead of the mineral Motul. My Versys already has more miles than most Versys will ever see and it has yet to have an oil related problem.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 05:35 AM
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Blackstone labs will do an oil analysis for about $30.00 . They will even ship you the kit for free.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 06:58 PM
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I went with this oil. Canadian Kawasaki Motors Inc.



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