Is It OK To Use Synthetic Or Motorcycle Oil In A Generator?

Motor oil plays a range of roles within the engine, which makes it an essential element in the operation of your generator.

With countless systems and components relying on oil to function properly, you should be concerned about the type of oil you use in your generator.

In this regard, Is It OK To Use Synthetic Or Motorcycle Oil In A Generator?

Well, while most manufacturers recommend using conventional motor oil in their generators, you can safely use synthetic oil in a generator as long as it meets manufacturer specifications. Synthetic oil has a high heat tolerance level, breaks down at a slower rate, and contains fewer impurities, which helps improve performance and length of performance, especially on small engines that run too hot.

See Also: Can You Use A Generator To Power A Mobile Home?

Is It Safe To Use Synthetic Oil In A Generator?

Oils are not created equally. That’s why most manufacturers go the extra mile to recommend oils for their engines.

You will find this information displayed as a chart in the user manual.

But what should you do if you can’t find the recommendations or know an alternative that can perform better?

While most manufacturers recommend against synthetic oil, it turns out that it is a perfect choice for generators as long as it meets manufacturer specifications.

Best of all, synthetic oil is safe for generators and is usually designed to address some of the limitations of conventional motor oil.

Synthetic oil is engineered to perform extraordinarily well under extreme temperatures.

Compared to similarly formulated conventional oil, synthetic oil lubricates the engine components and cleans them while in use, which can help the engine life.

However, when it comes to using synthetic or motorcycle oil in generators, it is imperative to ensure the oil you are using meets manufacturer specifications.

For instance, if your generator calls for 15W-40, you can use synthetic 15W-40, not other variations like 10W-40.

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Synthetic Oil VS Conventional Oil: Which Is Better For Generators?

Both synthetic and conventional oils do a great job of lubricating, cooling, cleaning, and even protecting components of your generator’s engine against corrosion. Even so, they differ in many ways.

Conventional oil is usually made using petroleum, which is naturally thick at low temperatures and thin at high temperatures.

While manufacturers use additives to adjust the thickness under extreme temperatures, conventional oil will break down readily at higher temperatures, compromising effectiveness.

On the other hand, while synthetic oil manufacturers are rather secretive about what their oils are made from, the oils are designed to handle extremely low and high temperatures.

In other words, synthetic oils maintain ideal viscosity irrespective of temperature.

This makes them a perfect choice for virtually all generators, especially those with small engines.

Small engines usually run significantly hotter, necessitating oil that handles the high temperatures.

Synthetic oil also has impressive cleaning power, which helps prolong your engine’s lifespan.

Here is why synthetic oil is preferred over conventional oil.

1. Cleans The Engine

Most people who have handled machines for a long time will tell you that oil cleans the engine from the inside.

Synthetic oil cleans your generator engine by removing rust and other contaminants from its inner parts and keeping them suspended for longer periods.

With synthetic oil, the particles remain suspended in the oil and will not settle on the surface of the engine parts.

With natural oil, the contaminants do not stray suspended for so long, meaning you will have to replace the oil and some engine parts more often.

Synthetic oil cleans the generator while running, making it simple to reserve the engine.

All you need is to change the oil after some time and replace it with new synthetic oil.

Ideally, if you want to clean an engine that had taken so long before it got serviced, you can simply put in synthetic oil and run it.

It will eventually start self-cleaning. If you opt for this cleaning method, remove the oil after a short period and replace it with another new oil that will service your engine for a long time.

2. Protects The Engine

Synthetic oil coats the engine and keeps it functioning smoothly.

With the coating aspect, synthetic oil helps protect the engine better than other natural oils. Using natural oil creates a film on the engine parts, making it gunky over time.

This state affects the overall operation of the engine.

Unlike natural oils, synthetic oils create a thin film. Additionally, the damaged pars and metallic flakes get suspended within the oil for a longer time.

3. Temperature Resistance

Synthetic oil is best when it comes to resisting both high and low temperatures.

You can comfortably run the generator from the morning when the temperature is extremely low to the afternoon when it gets to the hottest limits.

With its ability to function effectively in all temperature conditions, synthetic oil has replaced most types of oils used in generators.

Even when the engine runs to its maximum temperature, the oil does not deteriorate because its maximum temperature exceeds its maximum operating temperature.

4. Lower Consumption

A generator should be used to give an alternative power source in most industrial and home settings.

Therefore, you want to spend less on it, even though it is meant to give you essential service. One way to cut generator operation costs is by saving on oil.

Well, synthetic oil lasts longer than natural oils and is more burn resistant than natural oils.

By lasting longer, you will not be burdened with numerous oil changes, thus saving some little dollars.

Normally, the amount of oil used increases as the generator turns to create energy. However, this increase in consumption needs to be evident when using synthetic oil.

With the above benefits that come with using synthetic oil in a generator’s engine, you are sure to have your generator last long, and the engine maintained over a long period.


If you want your generator to serve your needs best, it is of great significance that you maintain it. One way of maintaining the generator is by using the best oil for its engine.

You can use synthetic oil if you want to save on maintenance costs and still get the generator to function optimally.

While it is ok to use motor oil in a generator, you better choose synthetic because of its protection and durability aspects.