What Is Four-Cycle Motor Oil?


Motor oil is a vital part of any working, moving motor. The oil provides the much-needed lubricant so it can work efficiently without damaging the individual engine parts. Four-cycle motors and oils have different functions than two-cycle motors. Learning what type of engine you have and what kind of oil it needs is key to keeping your motor running efficiently.

Two-Cycle vs. Four-Cycle Engines

  • The number of cycles (also referred to as strokes) has to do with the piston movement within the engine. Two-cycle engines have a compression, then explosion, of fuel with one back-and-forth movement of the piston. Four-cycle engines have a separate stroke for the compression and explosion, and each is followed by a stroke that pushes the used gas out of the engine. In other words, two-cycle engines are firing every rotation of the piston, while four-cycle engines are firing every other rotation. Two-cycle motor oil is added to the gasoline and burns off as you use it. Four-cycle oil has its own pan and needs to be changed periodically, depending on usage.

Oil Uses

  • Four-cycle motor oil is most likely the oil that you think of when you imagine motor oil. Automobiles use four-cycle oil. Lawnmowers, boats, ATVs, snowmobiles and motorcycles can use either two-cycle or four-cycle oil, depending on the engine and the oil specifications of the individual motor.

How To Use It

  • When you buy four-cycle motor oil, remove the oil reservoir cap and pour it into the designated oil container. An oil funnel can be implemented to avoid spilling. After filling the amount of oil for your specific motor, return the cap and make sure that it is tightened securely. Change this oil as frequently as recommended by the manufacturer of the specific product, taking usage into account.

Where To Find It

  • Four-cycle oil can be found at most establishments that sell two-cycle oil. Auto parts stores should be able to provide the oil that you need.

Alternative Names

  • Four-cycle oil is also known as four-stroke oil. When you are looking for this kind of oil, if the sales associate for some reason does not recognize the name "four-cycle oil," just call it "four-stroke oil."

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  • Photo Credit motor image by Petr Efremov from Fotolia.com
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