Long-term oil test

Table of contents


Long-term oil test

Long-term oil test
Oil control

In an extensive long-term test with five brand-new motorcycles, MOTORRAD examined whether and how different oil qualities affect performance, wear and tear and oil consumption.

Holger Hertneck


If there were a hit list of the most frequently asked reader questions, the one about the difference between synthetic and mineral oil would be right at the top. The main interest is whether the wear and tear of a cheap mineral oil from the department store is higher than that of a fully synthetic branded oil. Sports riders are also motivated by the possibility of increasing their performance, and motorcyclists who are economically inclined would like to know whether the oil consumption fluctuates depending on the type. Unfortunately, the answers are far more complicated and time-consuming than one or woman generally imagines.
There is only one way to get reliable information – the practical test with identical motorcycles when new in a direct comparison of driving. This means that the machines with the different oils have to be moved in a convoy over thousands of kilometers on the same route synchronously with regular driver changes. The annual big tire test came in handy for this purpose. MOTORRAD bought five brand new Suzuki GSF 1200 S Bandit, model 2002, filled them with different engine oils after the prescribed running-in period and went on a big tour.
The specifications prescribed by the manufacturer, which can be looked up in the manual, are decisive for the lubricant. MOTORRAD chose five candidates that cover all quality and price classes (from 1.32 to 10.68 euros per liter): the fully synthetic RS4T from Castrol, the partially synthetic Liqui Moly Racing and three mineral ones, one type 3000 from Motul, one of Hein Gericke and a very affordable one from the hardware store, the High Tech Star. All oils meet the requirements of Suzuki for the GSF 1200 with the API specification SG or SF.
The test route led from Stuttgart across the Alps to Italy. The convoy drove on motorways and country roads to Reggio di Calabria. The drivers meticulously checked the oil level several times a day and, if necessary, refilled from the canisters that were carried along. After 6150 kilometers, the five bandits landed safely in the editorial underground car park. The drained oils went to the Dekra laboratory for environmental and product analysis together with samples of fresh oil. Previously, as at the start of the test, the performance was determined on the test bench.
The test bench result ranged from no increase in horsepower (High Tech Star) to three additional horsepower (Motul). Different measurement conditions (temperature, air pressure, humidity) at the beginning and end of the test as well as the running-in process of all moving parts in the engine are responsible for this. The fact that the motorcycle with the cheapest oil (high tech star) remains at the same level leaves room for speculation. However, to draw conclusions about the oil quality would be pure conjecture.
At first glance, the oil consumption measured over the entire distance is surprising. Here the cheap High Tech Star with 2.05 liters (corresponds to 0.33 liters per 1000 kilometers) is also in last place. That with fully synthetic Castrol filled test vehicle only needed 1.15 liters (0.19 liters / 1000 km). This abnormality can, however, be explained by the different quality of the lubricants, since higher-quality or synthetic oils have a lower tendency to evaporate.
And what do the laboratory tests say? Here things look completely different, in almost all criteria relevant to wear and aging, the measurement results differ only slightly from one another. The Dekra experts do not see any of the examined values ​​in the critical area. All test subjects survived the continuous load within the prescribed oil change interval (6000 kilometers) without any problems.
And yet oil specialists recognize subtle differences. For example, the increase in calcium values ​​allows for interpretations. In the long term, it can lead to deposits in the engine and thus to increased wear. All in all, the expensive, fully synthetic Castrol lost the least of its properties, although it did not even have to use its certainly existing power reserves in the test. If the comparison had taken place on a racetrack, the differences between the individual oils would probably have been more striking.
For normal country road use, however, the test leads to the important conclusion: With common change intervals, commercially available mineral oils according to the prescribed API specification are completely sufficient. Even the higher consumption of the cheapest lubricant does not justify the expensive oil, the driver can not only compensate for the additional consumption of the 43 euros saved per oil change, but also fill up with fuel for an extra tour.

Castrol RS4T


Type: SAE 10W-50, API SG, fully synthetic Bought from: Polo, phone 0211/9796699, at a price of 43.43 euros for a four-liter canister (10.86 euros / liter) Laboratory tests (new / used) Wear iron in mg / kg 3/82 chromium in mg / kg – / 3 aluminum in mg / kg 1/49 nickel in mg / kg – / 1 copper in mg / kg – / 22 lead in mg / kg 1/7 molybdenum in mg / kg – / 78PQ- Index ok / 110ContaminationSilicon, dust in mg / kg 5 / 29Potassium in mg / kg – / 1Sodium in mg / kg 1 / 4Fuel content in% – / 0.6Oil conditionViscosity at 40 ° C in mm / s² 113.7 / 99.69Viscosity at 100 ° C in mm / s² 17.51 ​​/ 15.66 Viscosity index 170/167 Oxidation in A / cm – / 12 Nitration in A / cm – / 11 Sulphate ion in A / cm – / 22 Additives Calcium in mg / kg 2358/2540 Magnesium in mg / kg 20 / 22 Boron in mg / kg – / 18 Zinc in mg / kg 1320/1239 Phosphorus in mg / kg 1388/989 Barium in mg / kg – / 3TBN in mg KOH / g 8.82 /, 8.42 Dirt-bearing capacity in% – / 93 Consumption at 6150 Kilometers: 1.15 liters (0.187 liters / 1000 km) Conclusion: All values ​​are harmless. A high viscosity index is evidence of high temperature stability. Small TBN drop despite the lowest oil consumption of all participants – also the lowest calcium increase. Remains closest to the values ​​of a fresh oil over the test period.

Liqui Moly Racing 4T

Racing 4T

Type: SAE 10W-40, API SG, SH, partially synthetic Bought from: Polo, Telephone 0211/9796699, at a price of 42.08 euros for a five-liter canister (8.42 euros / liter) Laboratory tests (new / used) Wear iron in mg / kg 2/96 chromium in mg / kg – / 3 aluminum in mg / kg 2/32 nickel in mg / kg – / 1 copper in mg / kg – / 18 lead in mg / kg 3/9 molybdenum in mg / kg – / 83PQ-Index ok / 46PollutionSilicon, dust in mg / kg 2 / 36Potassium in mg / kg 1 / 3Sodium in mg / kg 2 / 5Fuel content in% – / 0.7Oil conditionViscosity at 40 ° C in mm / s² 89.75 / 98, 82 Viscosity at 100 ° C in mm / s² 13.91 / 14.76 Viscosity index 159/156 Oxidation in A / cm – / 11 Nitration in A / cm – / 12 Sulphate ion in A / cm – / 9 Additive calcium in mg / kg 2104/2953 Magnesium in mg / kg 226/263 Boron in mg / kg 236/248 Zinc in mg / kg 1286/1454 Phosphorus in mg / kg 1249/1245 Barium in mg / kg – / 1 TBN in mg KOH / g 9.35 / 7.15 Dirt-carrying capacity in% – / 96 consumption at 6150 kilometers: 1.65 liters (0.268 liters / 1000 km) Conclusion: strong increase in viscosity values ​​and strongest decrease in TBN values ​​?? However, both are still completely harmless. Noticeably high increase in calcium values ​​?? is due, among other things, to the comparatively high oil consumption. Relatively high viscosity index is evidence of temperature stability.

Motul 3000


Type: SAE 20W-50, API SG, mineral Bought from: Hein Gericke, phone 0211/98989, at a price of 26.79 euros for a four-liter canister (6.70 euros / liter) laboratory tests (new / used) wear iron in mg / kg 2/88 chromium in mg / kg – / 3 aluminum in mg / kg 2/36 nickel in mg / kg – / 1 copper in mg / kg – / 13 lead in mg / kg – / 6 molybdenum in mg / kg 71 / 142PQ -Index 30/36 contamination silicon, dust in mg / kg 7/34 potassium in mg / kg 2/6 sodium in mg / kg 60/43 fuel content in% – / 0.3 oil condition viscosity at 40 ° C in mm / s² 138.2 / 144.6 viscosity at 100 ° C in mm / s² 13.36 / 17.04 viscosity index 126/128 oxidation in A / cm – / 12 nitration in A / cm – / 12 sulfate ion in A / cm – / 9 additives calcium in mg / kg 2287/2679 magnesium in mg / kg 393/424 Boron in mg / kg 9/30 Zinc in mg / kg 1298/1289 Phosphorus in mg / kg 1256/1095 Barium in mg / kg – / 2TBN in mg KOH / g 9.57 / 9.14 Dirt resistance in% – / 96 Consumption on 6150 Kilometers: 1.45 liters (0.236 liters / 1000 km) Conclusion: laboratory values ​​except for the inexplicable PQ index and sodium content when new (true apparently an isolated case) without abnormalities. The increase in viscosity at 100 ° Celsius ?? possibly due to oil aging? is still in the frame. Positive: relatively low oil consumption and yet only slightly decreasing TBN values.

Hein Gericke 4-Stroke Oil

4-stroke oil

Type: SAE 15W-40, API SF, mineral Bought from: Hein Gericke, phone 0211/98989, at a price of 10.20 euros for a five-liter canister (2.04 euros / liter) laboratory tests (new / used) wear iron in mg / kg 1/79 chromium in mg / kg – / 2 aluminum in mg / kg – / 32 nickel in mg / kg – / 1 copper in mg / kg – / 14 lead in mg / kg 1/7 molybdenum in mg / kg 1 / 80PQ -Index ok / 88 contamination silicon, dust in mg / kg 7/36 potassium in mg / kg 1/4 sodium in mg / kg 36/41 fuel content in% – / 0.4 oil condition viscosity at 40 ° C in mm / s² 96.96 / 95 , 47 Viscosity at 100 ° C in mm / s² 13.07 / 13.05 Viscosity index 133/135 Oxidation in A / cm – / 9 Nitration in A / cm – / 10 Sulphate ion in A / cm – / 8 Additive calcium in mg / kg 1608/2312 Magnesium in mg / kg 78/105 Boron in mg / kg 3/19 Zinc in mg / kg 1380/1409 Phosphorus in mg / kg 1429/1293 Barium in mg / kg – / 1TBN in mg KOH / g 8.92 / 7.01 Dirt carrying capacity in% – / 96 Consumption over 6150 kilometers: 1.825 liters (0.297 liters / 1000 km) Conclusion: Relatively strong increases in calcium values ​​indicate in connection with the almost constant ten viscosity indicates only moderate shear stability. Despite the relatively high oil consumption, the TBN values ​​fall sharply? however, both are still harmless.

High Tech Star engine oil

motor oil

Type: SAE 15W-40, API SF, mineral Bought at: Toom Baumarkt, www.toom-baumarkt.de, at a price of 6.62 euros for a five-liter canister (1.32 euros / liter) Laboratory tests (new / used) wear iron in mg / kg 1/74 chromium in mg / kg – / 2 aluminum in mg / kg 1/32 nickel in mg / kg – / 1 copper in mg / kg – / 12 lead in mg / kg 1/6 molybdenum in mg / kg 71 / 146PQ-Index ok / 64PollutionSilicon, dust in mg / kg 8 / 33Potassium in mg / kg 3 / 5Sodium in mg / kg 2 / 6Fuel content in% – / 0.5Oil conditionViscosity at 40 ° Celsius 102.5 / 106 Viscosity at 100 ° Celsius 13.21 / 13.65 Viscosity index 126/128 oxidation in A / cm – / 11 nitrate ion in A / cm – / 11 sulfate ion in A / cm – / 9 additives calcium in mg / kg 2273/2825 magnesium in mg / kg 27/35 boron in mg / kg 3/20 zinc in mg / kg 938/1097 phosphorus in mg / kg 936/953 barium in mg / kg – / 3 TBN in mg KOH / g 7.63 / 8.75 dirt carrying capacity in % – / 100 consumption over 6150 kilometers: 2.05 liters (0.333 liters / 1000 km) Conclusion: Strong calcium enrichment with almost constant viscosity values ​​indicates moderate e shear stability. The completely unusual increasing TBN value (very low at the beginning), like the dirt-carrying capacity, is related to the high oil consumption.

Duties of engine oil

Sealing: Oil has to guarantee the fine sealing of critical components such as piston rings or housing-shaft junctions. Transferring forces: For example, oils in pneumatic valve controls and hydraulic valve lifters transfer the forces. Cooling: Oils have to dissipate the waste heat from the engine and the resulting frictional heat. Keeping clean: Oils keep abrasion elements (wear particles), contaminants and combustion residues in suspension and prevent deposits in the engine or other components. Lubricating: Oil reduces the friction between the numerous sliding partners in the engine and thus keeps wear low and prevents so-called »seizing «The friction partner. Protect: Oil protects components and engine innards from corrosion. Transport: Oils must ensure that wear-reducing agents (additives) are supplied to the friction partners and that dirt and wear particles reach the oil filter, where they are deposited.


– Check the oil level regularly (preferably with every refueling) – Use oil with the viscosity and API specification recommended by the motorcycle manufacturer – It is essential to use special motorcycle oil that is suitable for the shear loads in the gearbox and clutch – Promotes during the running-in period Mineral oil the running-in of bearings and gears ?? Even if you later switch to synthetic oil – Careful warming up for the first few kilometers reduces wear and tear and increases the service life – Always change the oil filter at the same time, as they can clog and obstruct the oil circuit – In winter, switch to oils with a higher viscosity range in order to lubricate and start the engine to enhance

Laboratory tests

Wear: The values ​​indicate how many particles are in the oil. The difference between new and used is decisive. It is a measure of how much the engine innards wear out. The individual elements can be assigned to different components. For example, aluminum parts can come from pistons, oil coolers or oil pumps. Iron parts, on the other hand, usually indicate wear on valves and guides as well as the crankshaft and camshaft. The PQ index is a measure of the proportion of magnetic iron particles in the oil. The ratio of the PQ index to the iron content in the oil enables statements to be made about the type of wear. Contamination: It is not directly related to the quality of the oil, but rather indicates how much dirt there is in the lubricant. For example, anyone driving through the desert must expect very high levels of silicon and dust. The fuel content should be as low as possible, but can be up to ten percent when driving in town. A lot of fuel in the oil indicates worn piston rings and / or incomplete combustion processes. Oil condition: The viscosity is a measure of the viscosity. Low viscosity oils are thinner than high viscosity oils. The commercially available multigrade oils have to perform the balancing act between cold (as thin as possible; low viscosity) and heat (as thick as possible; high viscosity). A sharp increase in viscosity after a few thousand kilometers can be caused by strong oxidation, nitration and sulfation (chemical processes during operation). This leads to thickening or silting up and thus to starting problems. It becomes critical from a viscosity of about 160 to 180 mm / s² at 40 ° Celsius. Decreasing viscosity may be due to fuel dilution or shear effects. Critical viscosity values ​​at 100 ° Celsius are above 20 or below 6 mm / s². The viscosity index indicates how stable an oil is over the entire temperature range. Higher values ​​indicate more stable behavior. Additives: They determine over 50 percent of the price of the engine oil and are mainly responsible for the special properties of the oil. Each manufacturer swears by its own mixture, which is determined in lengthy tests. The individual parts can shrink or increase during use. Complicated chemical processes are responsible for this. An increase in the additives is often due to high oil consumption, which means that fresh oil has to be topped up, which increases the proportions. The TBN value is decisive for the neutralization of the acids produced by the combustion. If the TBN value falls below 5, corrosion processes in the engine and thus increased wear. Sharply increasing concentrations of the calcium used as an additive are also bad, since in the long run they lead to hard, crusty deposits on the piston rings or valves.

Provider (phone)

Agip 0931/900980 Aral 0234 / 315-3968 Atlantic Oil 04163/81590 Avia 089 / 455045-0 Bel Ray 07308/3077 BP 040 / 6395-0 Castrol 040 / 3594-01 Conoco 040 / 63801-0 Dea 040 / 6375-0 Delo 040/73419360 DET 0911/2447098 Elf 030/20276373 Esso 040 / 6393-0 Fina 0211 / 9057-0 Hein Gericke 0211/98989 Ipone T05331 / 907410 Liqui Moly 0731 / 1420-0 Meneks 07308/3077 Minol 030/20276373 Mobil 040 / 3002-0 Motorex 08669/787680 Motronic Marl 02365/67160 Motul 02203 / 1700-0 Polo 0211/9796699 Power Plus 07476/933150 Putoline 02852 / 96389-6 Rock Oil 06887/901011 Shell 040 / 6324-0 Silkolene 06374 / 924-5 TM 07308/3077 Total 0211 / 9057-0 Valvoline 040 / 6320120 Veba 0209 / 606-0 Veedol 040 / 3594-535 Yacco 0211 / 9057-0

Questions about engine oil

MOTORRAD asked experts from various motorcycle and oil manufacturers the most frequently asked questions about motor oil. A summary of the answers: What kind of oil do you recommend for the break-in period of motorcycles? During the break-in period, so-called break-in wear is desirable. For this reason, mineral oil should be used. Alexander Hornoff, Motul For the break-in period, a high-quality mineral multigrade oil is recommended. If synthetic oils are used, the running-in period is longer.Alwin Otto, KTMThe motorcycles are already filled with engine oil at the factory. A special running-in oil is not necessary. Peter Baumann, Liqui Moly What is the maximum interval between oil changes? 10,000 kilometers, a maximum of twelve months. Jurgen Stoffregen, BMW Depending on the model, every 6,000 or 10,000 kilometers or annually as part of the inspection. Uli Bonsels, Triumph What happens if the oil is not changed? The motorcycle loses its warranty protection. Furthermore, there is a risk of engine damage due to reduced lubricant quality.Klaus Schmitt, SuzukiWhich oil do you recommend for your vehicles? Shell Advance Ultra 4 Andreas Holzer, DucatiMobil 1 Racing 4T 15W-50Uli Bonsels, Triumph Is vehicle-specific in terms of viscosity and API requirements. Usually 10W-40 and API SE to SG. Klaus Schmitt, Suzuki What do you generally recommend for motorcycle oil? Mineral oils have been tested by BMW and are completely sufficient. Jurgen Stoffregen, BMW Synthetic oils have significant advantages over mineral oils. Basically, it should be an engine oil that has been specially formulated for the special requirements of motorcycle engines.Alexander Hornoff, Motul What is the benefit of synthetic oil compared to mineral oil? Less oil consumption, more wear protection, improved cold start behavior, more safety even under extreme conditions, less Deposits in the engine, more reliability, long service life, more power reserves. Alexander Hornoff, Motul What happens if you mix synthetic and mineral oils (functional impairment)? A functional impairment is not to be expected under normal operating conditions.Dirk Rux, Castrol A general functional impairment does not occur. However, the inferior oil deteriorates the quality of the high-quality one. Leo Schluter, KawasakiIs synthetic oil unfavorable for wet clutches? Only the use of synthetic car oils can lead to clutch problems, as friction-reducing additives are often used there. Andreas Philipp, Shell What happens if the viscosity of the oil used falls outside the current temperature range? (Example: SAE 10W-40 at 35 ° Celsius or SAE 20W-50 at below ?? 20 ° Celsius) If the temperature is too high, inferior oils can lead to high oil consumption, increased wear and tear and even engine damage. High-quality oils do not cause any problems. Cold start problems can occur if the temperature is too low. Andreas Philipp, Shell Do displacement / powerful engines need different oil than small, weak ones? In principle no. It depends on the load and the specific power as well as on the engine-specific requirements. The displacement or the power itself are not the criterion. Andreas Philipp, Shell Does a very large viscosity spread bring advantages (e.g. 0W-60)? Due to decreasing shear stability, too large a viscosity spread has a rather disadvantageous effect. Alexander Hornoff, Motul What speaks against the use of a cheap oil if you change it more often? The quality of an oil has a decisive influence on the formation of deposits, oil sludge and wear protection. Inexpensive engine oils can contain additive packages that do not adequately protect the engine and also burden the engine with deposits when it is changed frequently.Dirk Rux, Castrol Cheap oil can be overwhelmed (e.g. insufficient high temperature stability) and therefore lead to wear and tear and soiling of the engine .Sonja Hobler, TotalFinaElf Can other viscosities than the prescribed one be used? In individual cases or in the event of technical problems, a prescribed viscosity can be deviated from. Basically, however, the manufacturer’s recommendation should be observed. Dirk Rux, Castrol This is only harmless if the oil used has a viscosity class that is better adapted to the temperature range of the place of use than the recommended one. Andreas Holzer, Ducati Does the oil quality affect oil consumption Yes, high-quality synthetic oils are more stable to evaporation than mineral oils of the same viscosity. But higher viscosities can also help.Andreas Philipp, Shell How high can the oil temperatures rise without causing engine damage? The temperatures usually measured in the oil sump are not decisive. The highest temperatures occur on the piston (1st ring groove) and can be up to 300 ° Celsius. When an engine gives up varies a lot. Some tolerate oil sump temperatures of 160 ° Celsius, with others 125 ° Celsius are highly questionable. Andreas Philipp, Shell The maximum oil temperature that can be reached depends, among other things, on the temperature resistance of the oil. A general statement cannot be made here: Alwin Otto, KTM

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