Ninja 400 Riders Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi fam,

Long time lurker here. I've been trying to learn about motorcycle maintenance recently and think I've made a horrible mistake.

As the title suggests, I tried to do my first automotive oil change around a month ago on my 2020 Ninja 400 which was at 4.9k Kms but used car oil not realizing that there's a difference between car and motorcycle oil.

It's now on 6.1k Kms so has been tortured for roughly 1.2k Kms with the wrong oil. I haven't noticed anything off during this period, no power issues, clutch slipping etc.

I've attached a picture of the product used and the new oil & filter I'll be replacing with. Can anyone confirm the impact/damage I've done to my baby Ninja?

Thanks in advance.
17752
17753
17754
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
There's a bunch of articles online if you google "car oil vs motorcycle oil". Here's one.
There's also some posts related to what you have done. Here's one.
It sounds like moly in particular is frowned upon with wet clutches, but primarily due to increased wear. There's some ranting about "it's ok, but avoid anything that says energy conserving", this also seems to be due increased clutch slippage, i.e. additional wear and power loss. I don't think the oil you picked is "energy conserving" so that's a positive.

I don't really know anything, but personally, I wouldn't stress about it. After you've gone back to motorcycle oil, pretend like it never happened.
You may have worn some things more than they usually would have worn, but I don't think it's going to be critical, and there's not really going to be an option to "fix" those things short of replacing them when they wear completely, which may be prematurely due to the 1200km of incorrect oil.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply mate, I did read both of those prior but couldn't find a general consensus on the subject. Was also hoping someone more knowledgeable could identify whether the specific product I used was very harmful or not. Appreciate your reassurance on this particular oil not being 'energy conserving'.

Out of curiosity, would the additional wear be on the clutch plates or the entire clutch/transmission? Sorry, I'm still very early on the motorcycling journey and thanks again for taking the time to educate and help me :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
I did read both of those prior but couldn't find a general consensus on the subject
It's just not really something people go into great depths on I guess. A lot of assumptions / guesses. That being said I wouldn't be surprised if someone on YouTube has done some kind of test, I just didn't immediately find it with Google.

Out of curiosity, would the additional wear be on the clutch plates or the entire clutch/transmission? Sorry, I'm still very early on the motorcycling journey and thanks again for taking the time to educate and help me :)
It's about slippage, when you pull your clutch it releases the pressure on the clutch plates so they can rotate freely, preventing the engine from effecting the wheel. When you release your clutch it smooshes them all back together and makes the wheel bits spin because the friction material on the clutch plates makes them stick together.

The additional stuff in car oil is all about preventing friction, and it can, if I'm understanding it right, cause the clutch to slip while they are smooshed together, meaning the plates will be rubbing against each other and wearing more and causing some power loss. Motorcycles also have anti friction stuff but a targeted balance that allows it to work well for both the engine and the clutch.

If it's not obvious from the words I used and poor description of what I think is happening, I'm no mechanic, the above might be completely wrong, but I would say the only thing you might see is increased clutch wear and potentially would have seen increased unexpected clutch slippage, which is already a thing the Ninja 400 suffers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
:cool: That's a good explanation, stay away from any oil that says energy conserving, also I would have waited till 5000 miles before going to syn oil, to each there own...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
974 Posts
I wouldn't hold out much hope for any 'consensus' concerning motor oils.. filters...tires.. suspension... or anything else motorcycle related. The last discussion and poll I saw on a Forum trying to decide the 'best' color... was manipulated by it's author so as to agree with his/her choice of purchase. I guess that's what makes the whole community so interesting... we're a pretty diverse group. of folks. :whistle:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
866 Posts
I made that mistake years ago with a Honda VFR 750 I had. I got Honda oil with MOLY in it and my clutch started slipping right away. I changed the oil and filter right away with the correct oil, ran it a few days and changed the oil and filter again. The slipping was less with the 1st correct oil change, then went away totally with the second oil change. That was an expensive oil change, 3 times to get it right. 🥺
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Agreed with dbrain, definitely don't stress about it... I'm sure I did that same thing (multiple times) back in my college days as well (when I put 40k miles on a used KZ400!). Worst case you might get to learn how to replace the clutch friction plates a bit sooner -- it's a weekend job and a good/fun learning experience if you are up to it, and you can get lots of help here!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I put Shell Rotella T full synthetic 15-40 in EVERYTHING. Never had an issue with anything.
Motorcycles ( street, track and dirt bikes), ATV's, snow thrower, power washer. I'd put it in my cars but I have a service station I've used a long time do my cars.

Check the ratings on the back if the oil is JSO MA rated you are good to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks all, I'm hoping this experience doesn't reduce clutchs' life but if I need to upgrade to the Barnett or Spears kit then so be it haha

Still feel incredibly stupid for making this mistake, I'll update this thread if something more sinister happens to the bike :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Thanks all, I'm hoping this experience doesn't reduce clutchs' life but if I need to upgrade to the Barnett or Spears kit then so be it haha

Still feel incredibly stupid for making this mistake, I'll update this thread if something more sinister happens to the bike :)
I would not worry about it in the least. If you were racing and running at redline, it may make a slight difference, but a few thousand miles commuting on car oil....naaa. In some places all that is available is car oil and only in one grade. Bikes seem to not know the difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Hey mate, I think the possible difference here is that this oil contained a 'friction modifier' (Moly DTc), that's what most of the internet warnings were regarding. My clutch didn't slip once though so not sure what concentration of that stuff was in there or how true the warnings are.

Either way I emptied that stuff and replaced with motorcycle oil and a new filter. Appears to be running fine now :unsure:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
:cool: That's a good explanation, stay away from any oil that says energy conserving, also I would have waited till 5000 miles before going to syn oil, to each there own...
I just got my Z400 back from its first 1000km service, and the service guy says they put Kawi Synthetic oil in it. Is that standard practice ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
467 Posts
I just got my Z400 back from its first 1000km service, and the service guy says they put Kawi Synthetic oil in it. Is that standard practice ?
The tech and my dealer told me to use mineral oil for the first 5000 km in order to allow the engine pieces to fit better. But some on this forum say that you can go with synthetic sooner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
320 Posts
I would not worry about it in the least. If you were racing and running at redline, it may make a slight difference, but a few thousand miles commuting on car oil....naaa. In some places all that is available is car oil and only in one grade. Bikes seem to not know the difference.
I was about to say the same thing. Just ride it without doing wheelies and crazy stuff. I've added car oils on occasion when times where tuff in my Honda bikes, no problem. My opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
I study oil analysis as a geeky hobby. I've used oil with up to 87 ppm of moly in numerous bikes without any ill outcome, no slippage. As others have stated, the number one thing to look out for is "energy conserving" oil. By default, 40w oil is not energy conserving. Motorcycle oils SOMETIMES tend to have a different additive pack, and SOME Motorcycle oils claim to meet JASO MA/MA2 requirements set forth to make it wet clutch compatible. You'll find many high mile riders who have used heavy duty diesel oil, logging 100k's of miles for decades. Rotella T4 does not have moly and has a high zinc content, making it quite popular for riders who choose to deviate from a more expensive motorcycle specific oil. Even Synthetic T6 oil is low on moly, but robust on detergents and additives.

I would suggest you search for a virgin oil analysis on the oil you used, and compare it to a motorcycle specific oil. I think you may find that there is not a whole lot of difference so long as it is not a energy conserving oil containing the friction modifiers that cause slippage.

Keep in mind that a motorcycle gearbox tends to chew up the viscosity enhancers in an oil, causing a shearing effect. This can cause a reduction in oil weight in time. Such is the case with Rotella, which is why many users will experience a drop in shift quality at around 2-3k mi. Change it out earlier than a typical synthetic drain interval is the common remedy. Many old timers swear by a straight weight oil for that reason, as the oil is more shear stable. One must consider the proper weight for the temperature range. As they say, your mileage may vary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
268 Posts
I used car oil in my Ninja 250 for 2 years before learning. I think it affects high torque powertrains more than low power engines. Of course, the Ninja 400 clutch springs are a bit weak from the factory as I understand it.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top