Can We Use Engine Oil for Chain Lube (2023 – 2024)? Expert Opinion!

Lubricants designed specifically for motorcycle drivetrains are called chain lubes. Wheels, chains, and sprockets make up the drivetrain. Your motorcycle will not move without these components working together. Lubricating the chain will keep it moving smoothly and reduce friction between it and other parts.

Engine oil is a lubricant that helps to protect your engine from wear and tear. It also helps to keep your engine cool and can improve fuel efficiency. There are different types of engine oil available, and the type you need will depend on your car’s engine.

The high ignition point of engine/motor oil makes it unsuitable for contact with the atmosphere, which will attract a lot of dust, dirt, and pollutants to the engine oil. Pollutants will abrade the chain, which is why engine oil should not be used to lubricate your motorcycle chain.

We still recommend using proper chain lube if you ride a motorcycle in a city where pollution and dirt are minimal. Don’t lubricate chains with engine oil if you’re off-roading.

Minor and major problems can be avoided by lubricating motorcycle chains. Your riding experience will be stable without being affected by an optimal chain condition. It is crucial to choose the right lubricant and maintenance intervals for your motorcycle chain to ensure long-term chain performance. Can we use engine oil for chain lube?

What is Chain Lube?

Motorcycle chain lube is a lubricant that is specifically designed to keep your bike’s drivetrain functioning properly. The drivetrain includes chains, sprockets, and wheels. All of these components must work together in order for your motorcycle to move. Chain lube helps to keep the chain moving smoothly and reduces friction between the chain and other components.

There are many different types of chain lubes on the market, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. There are both synthetic and petroleum-based lubes available. Synthetic lubes tend to be more expensive, but they last longer and perform better in extreme conditions. Petroleum-based lubes are less expensive, but they break down more quickly and can attract dirt and grime.

You should also consider the conditions in which you will be riding when choosing a chain lube. If you ride in wet or muddy conditions, you will need a lube that is designed to repel water. If you ride in dry or dusty conditions, you will need a lube that will not attract dust and dirt.

Can we use Engine Oil for Chain Lube or Is Engine Oil good for Chain Lube?

There are a few benefits of using engine oil as a chain lube:

  • Engine oil is designed to withstand high temperatures, so it will not break down as quickly as other types of lubricants.
  • Engine oil is also designed to cling to metal, so it will stay on your chain longer and provide better protection against rust and corrosion.
  • Engine oil is relatively cheap, so it can be a cost-effective option for lubing your chain.

What are the Drawbacks of using Engine Oil as Chain Lube?

Engine oil can be used as a chain lube, but there are some drawbacks. Engine oil is designed to lubricate engine parts, not chains. Therefore, it may not provide the best protection for your chain.

Chain lubrication with engine oil has the disadvantage of being prone to attracting dirt and debris because of its stickiness combined with exposure to the atmosphere. Oil is sticky because of its high viscosity and tolerance to high engine temperatures, as well as its high ignition point. 

In the event that proper maintenance is ignored, these small particles of debris will cause friction between the dirt particles and the motorcycle chain, resulting in more vibrations, chafing of the chain over time, damage to sprocket teeth, and a harsher gearshift. Using engine/motor oil to lubricate a motorcycle chain will lead to these problems.

How often Should you Lube your Chain?

A dry or poorly lubricated chain will wear out faster and can even damage other components on your bike. A properly lubed chain will actually last longer and also run quieter. Chain lube also helps to keep your drivetrain clean by repelling dirt and grime.

The key to a long-lasting chain is to use the right lube and apply it properly. The frequency with which you need to lube your chain will depend on the conditions in which you ride. If you live in a dry, dusty climate, you will need to lube your chain more often than if you live in a wet or humid climate. Likewise, if you do a lot of off-road riding, you will need to lube your chain more often than if you only ride on pavement.

In general, it is a good idea to clean and lube your chain at least once every week or every 200 miles, whichever comes first. If you ride in especially dirty or wet conditions, you may need to clean and lube your chain more frequently.

How to Lube your Chain with Engine Oil?

If you’re in a pinch and need to lube your chain with engine oil, here’s how to do it:

  • Clean your chain with a degreaser or petroleum solvent. This will remove any built-up grime and oil that could prevent the new lubricant from adhering properly.
  • Apply the engine oil to the chain, using a clean rag or brush to work it in.
  • Wipe away any excess oil, using a clean rag. Excess oil can attract dirt and grime, which can shorten the life of your chain.

Motorcycle Chain Lubes Alternatives?

If you’re looking for an affordable and effective chain lube, you might want to consider engine oil. This is a popular choice among cyclists because it’s easy to find and relatively cheap.

Since there are so many different types of oil, knowing how each one is used is essential before choosing which one to use.

Engine oils come in various types, but most contain several different substances. The most common of them is mineral oil, which many domestic engines use. The two most common types of engine oil are crankcase oil and gearbox oil. The latter type is meant to lubricate the transmission and other shafts, while the former maintains the oils in the engine itself. Most motorcycle oils will contain both types, with a combination of each.

Sandstone and shale deposits contain kerosenes, which are used to make mineral oils. Typically, mineral oil is used in engines. Approximately 25% of all car engines use this type of oil. Although it’s heavier than conventional motor oils, it’s perfect for critical parts that need lightness and robustness to operate properly.

Engine oil most commonly used is crankcase oil. In this type, the oil is often petroleum-based, making it as light as mineral oils. You should use this type of oil if your bike shop requires heavy-duty crankshafts. There are a variety of oils used in bike shops, each for a specific purpose.

Motorcycles usually use synthetic oil as their oil type. Petrochemical sources are used to make synthetic oils, which contain additives that stabilize and improve engine performance. Moreover, they can reduce friction levels between moving parts and are far more durable. As the standards for synthetic oils become more rigorous, they’re gaining more attention among motorcycle owners.

In dispersant oil, contaminants are broken down into smaller pieces. Particles cannot bind together in these oils and slip out of moving parts because these oils contain elements that prevent them from binding. Besides being used in cars, these liquids are also used in bike shops.

In order for new engines to break in properly, break-in oils are used. Liquids like these help lubricate moving parts with mineral or synthetic oils. During the engine’s first few hundred miles of use and break-in, these oils also contain additives to ensure proper lubrication.

When you put your motorcycle on the ground for sale, you should drain out another liquid in addition to the oil. For each engine, you can buy a specific type of drain oil for cleaning turbocharger components.

Chains and rollers can be lubricated with gear oil. 75W-90 grade oils are thicker and won’t splatter as much. Its high lubricative properties prevent rust on inner-outer plates, rollers, and chains as a whole. If you clean your motorcycle chain every 300 miles / 500 kilometers, your gear oil will last longer.

Other alternative chain lubes include WD-40, baby oil, and dish soap. These options will also lubricate your chain and keep it running smoothly. However, like engine oil, they can attract dirt and grime. So be sure to clean your chain regularly if you use any of these alternatives.

The best Oil for Chain Lubrication?

There are many different types of chain lube on the market, and it can be difficult to choose the right one for your bike. In general, there are three main types of chain lube: wet, dry, and wax-based.

Wet lube is best used in wet or muddy conditions, as it helps to prevent dirt and grime from build-up on the chain. Wet lube is also a good choice for long rides, as it helps to keep the chain lubricated throughout the ride.

Dry lube is best used in dry conditions, as it does not attract dirt and grime as wet lube does. Dry lube is also a good choice for short rides or for riders who do not want to worry about reapplying lube frequently.

Wax-based lube is best used in dry conditions, as it forms a protective barrier on the chain that helps to prevent dirt and grime build-up. Wax-based lube is also a good choice for long rides, as it will keep the chain lubricated for an extended period of time.

Related Guide: Explained: Can you Use Vaseline as Bike Grease (2023 -2024)? [Expert Opinion]

What Does Chain Lube Exactly Do To Motorcycles Chain?

The sprocket and wall wear less when chain lube is used. Additionally, it protects the chain from corrosion by forming a layer between it and the outer atmosphere. Regular application of chain lube will prevent drying of seal rings (e.g. O-rings, X-rings), around rollers, inner-outer plates, and chains overall.

Modern motorcycles come with grease per pack from the factory. Chain lubricants are responsible for lubricating and penetrating the chain. It is known that the roller’s inner part is already greased and sealed with seal rings (O-Rings, X-Rings, Z-Rings), so the chain lube doesn’t need to penetrate or lubricate these parts. 

It is definitely possible to reduce wear and abrasion of the chain by applying lube evenly on it. Your motorcycle’s chain might rapture if it’s dry and not lubricated, so follow healthy maintenance of your chain to enjoy your smooth rides.

Which Motorcycle Chain Cleaner Is Right For You?

One of the worst mistakes a rider can make is to occasionally clean their chain with a cleaner that is not suitable for their motorcycle. It is also crucial to choose the right chain cleaner. Here are some tips for choosing the right motorcycle chain cleaner.

Water-based chain cleaners work by going soft and removing dirt and grit quickly, while the chemicals work to soften dirt and grit. Degreasers can damage seal rings because they are too harsh on them. The main active ingredient in most chain cleaners is plain kerosene.

Don’t overspray kerosene on the chain until it’s dripping if you’re going to use it as a chain cleaner. Let the chain sit for a few minutes, then clean it. The spot-cleaning technique can be used to clean your chain if it is still dirty (apply a little brush to the dirty spot and clean it). 

Kerosene may seep through seal rings if too much is used on the chain. Kerosene is a fantastic chain cleaner when used properly, so be careful.

Chain cleaners that have not been properly tested should be avoided. A cheaper and less known product may damage the seal rings, allowing the grease inside the roller to leak out, compromising the chain’s fluid movement.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is chain oil the same as engine oil?

No, it is much more viscous and will stay where it needs to be better than motor oil. Motor oil tends to ling off and your chain will overheat and stretch.

2. Can we use brake fluid as chain lube?

It might clean it up well, but all brake fluid mineral and DOT type are hygroscopic which means it absorbs water so not what you want sucking moisture inside the links. You’d be better with used engine oil as the carbon in it will help prevent rust.

3. Can I use WD-40 as chain lube?

WD-40 is a great bike chain lube water-based lubricant and will not only lubricate the chain well but will also keep it rust and corrosion free. It also minimizes the accumulation of dirt which reduces the wear and tear of the chain.


First, engine oil is designed for a different purpose than chain lube. It’s thicker and designed to protect metal components from high temperatures and friction. That means it will likely be too thick for your chain and will attract more dirt and grime.

Second, engine oil is not as durable as dedicated chain lube. It will need to be reapplied more often, and it won’t stand up to wet or dirty conditions as well.

No matter what type of chain lube you choose, it is important to apply it correctly. The best way to do this is to clean your chain before applying the lube. This will remove any dirt or grime that could prevent the lube from performing properly. Once your chain is clean, simply apply the lube according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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