Politics, religion no match for oil arguments

They say you should never talk politics or religion with strangers. Motorcycle riders can add another off-limits topic – oil.
The thick liquid that is the life-blood of all combustion engines is a source for endless bickering and disagreement. Riders spar over which brand is best, whether one should use synthetic or not, filters and, of course, how often oil should be changed.
Search almost any motorcycling forum on the Internet and you’ll find heated debate accompanied by insults and hard feelings. Oil, like politics and religion, is one of the areas where people don’t back down from strongly held beliefs.
Usually, the fight is on when someone poses the innocent question: Which is the best oil for my motorcycle?
Opinions come fast and furious and divide into several camps. There are the synthetics-only, who usually make up the majority; the smaller “dinosaur oil” traditionalists; the exotic brands and special additives group and the I’ll-use-anything-as-long-as-I can-buy-it-at-Walmart crowd.
All will tell you their oil is best. They’ll boast trouble-free riding years or make various claims about gas mileage and performance. Others will question the wisdom of $10 per quart synthetics or obsessive oil changing at 3,000-mile intervals. Someone will always maintain they use cheap car oils with great success.
Talk usually comes around to filters. Every once in a while someone will cut one open with a hack saw and make observations about filter area and material.
No one can ever agree on anything.
But there are some truths.
The first is you should always use the grade of oil specified in your bike’s owner’s manual. Put in just enough, being careful not to overfill. Top off your oil with the same kind. Don’t mix. And don’t use car oil. Motorcycle oil has special additives that prevent things like premature clutch and transmission failure. Unlike most motorcycles, cars have separate oil compartments for engine and transmission.
When it comes to changing your oil, don’t heed the 3,000-mile commandment. It’s a myth perpetuated by industry types that oil must be dumped so soon. Many mechanics now say you can go 7,500 miles or more between changes. How long will you go?
And of course, recycle your oil and filter.

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