How Do I Choose the Best ATV Oil?

Lori Kilchermann

You must consider several different aspects of an oil when choosing the best oil for your all-terrain vehicle (ATV). You might want to investigate an oil's ability to withstand heat since so many ATVs are air-cooled. The air-cooled engine is typically forced to operate at temperatures greater than a similarly-equipped liquid-cooled engine. You may also wish to choose an ATV oil that offers protection for very high revving engines. The typical ATV operates, much of the time, at extreme revolutions per minute (RPMs), requiring ATV oil that will not break down under such conditions.

ATV oil is often designed specifically for the type of riding that a person engages in.
ATV oil is often designed specifically for the type of riding that a person engages in.

The ATV has become synonymous with outdoor lifestyles such as hunting, fishing and camping. Other outdoor activities that commonly use an ATV are trail riding, ranching and other types of outdoor recreation. Most manufacturers recommend a specific weight of ATV oil, such as 20-W50, however, the manufacturer does not typically recommend a specific manufacturer's oil. If you are searching for the best ATV oil to use in you ATV, you might want to begin your search by speaking with several ATV owners, getting their opinion on different oils. You may also want to research different ATV oil manufacturers online to become familiar with their oil offerings.

ATVs are air-cooled, so ATV oil should be able to withstand high temperatures.
ATVs are air-cooled, so ATV oil should be able to withstand high temperatures.

You will want to find an ATV oil that is designed specifically for the type of riding that you commonly engage in. This is important to ensure that your ATV is properly lubricated at the speeds it is typically operated at. You would not want to use a high-speed racing oil in an engine that seldom sees use above half-throttle. Likewise, you will not usually want to put a slow-speed, trail riding-type of oil in an engine that you commonly operate at full throttle for long periods. By matching the oil to your riding style, you can usually be assured of a long-lasting and well-lubricated ATV engine.

Many ATV engines use a pressurized oiling system, similar to the oil system used in the typical automobile. You will want to change the oil filter when you change the oil in an ATV such as this. You should make certain that you use an oil filter that is compatible with the oil you are using. This becomes especially important when you choose to use a synthetic type of ATV oil in your engine. You might want to settle on an ATV oil, filter and air cleaner that are available from the same manufacturer. This helps to ensure that you are purchasing compatible products for your ATV.

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Discussion Comments


I don't know a whole lot about different types of oil, but do know that my husband uses different weights of oil for his four wheeler depending on how he is using it.

In the summer when he is riding on trails for a big part of the day he uses a different type of oil than in the winter.

During the winter months when he uses the four wheeler he does a lot more stopping and starting. He takes this with him when he goes hunting and only uses it for short periods of time during the day.

I don't know if it depends of the temperature outside or how hard he runs the ATV, but know he keeps different weights around for different purposes.

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