Automotive

Locked: Difference between oil - 2 Cycle, 4 Cycle and Conventional

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 31st, 2018 7:47 am
Tags:
None
[OP]
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 16, 2001
76501 posts
1579 upvotes

Difference between oil - 2 Cycle, 4 Cycle and Conventional

This thread isnt about whats better, or to use synthtic, or brands, etc

This is about what is used in what and to make sure correct types are used in the correct engines. This isnt for cars and trucks, but for other types of engines

I try to do as much maintenance on my stuff as I can, but recently buyign some oil on sale from Canadian Tire, got myself questioning if I am doing stuff right.

I have 4 lawnmowers (2 riding, 2 push), a quad, a chain saw and a rought cut mower.

2 Cycle I understand are for things like chain saws, old skidoos and older quads. These are the types where you mix oil and gas together.

What Im trying to figure out what the difference is between 4 cycle and conventional oil.

Reading the manual for my rough cut, it says I can used everything from 5w30 to 10w40, all depending on how its used (temperature is the biggest thing) So I got the 5L jug of Formula one for $15 today of 10w30.

But is this the correct oil for the type of engine it is. Its a Briggs & Stratton pull start with no filter.

My old Honda riding one used 10W40 4 cycle, and it has no filter. But MY john deere has a filter and I use 10W30 4 cycle as well

The push mower are just craftsman, and just use 10W30 regular

Sometimes I get a bit confused having to buy all these different types of oils. These oils are also changed every fall and never used in the winter. Except the quad, which I have figured out
Share:
20 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 1, 2003
4207 posts
477 upvotes
Toronto
4 cycle is the same as "conventional" but for these applications, the best oil to use is actually full synthetic. I know it seems like a waste, but all of these small engines are air cooled which means they run a lot hotter than car engines which are water cooled. A full synthetic oil will withstand the heat a lot better and provide more protection. Also since these engines are so small, a 5L jug will last you a long time anyways, so the extra cost of going synthetic isn't that much.

Personally I'd use a 5w40 synthetic in most of those engines as long as the manual allows a 40w oil.
[OP]
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 16, 2001
76501 posts
1579 upvotes
HKPolice wrote: 4 cycle is the same as "conventional" but for these applications, the best oil to use is actually full synthetic. I know it seems like a waste, but all of these small engines are air cooled which means they run a lot hotter than car engines which are water cooled. A full synthetic oil will withstand the heat a lot better and provide more protection. Also since these engines are so small, a 5L jug will last you a long time anyways, so the extra cost of going synthetic isn't that much.

Personally I'd use a 5w40 synthetic in most of those engines as long as the manual allows a 40w oil.
Makes sense, so basically 4 cycle is for air cooled engines?

My quad used 4 cycle Amsol ow30 but it has a rad and is liquid cooled.

Can get a bit confusing at times. My roughcut maybe gets 8 hours of use a year and I just got it last spring, so this will be its first oil change. Bought it used so not sure what was in it.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 25, 2003
9245 posts
357 upvotes
Typically for stuff like lawnmowers and items where you would only typically use in the summer it is perfectly safe to use a single weight oil. For multi weight oils, the 5w in the 5w30 denotes the viscosity of the oil at a certain cold temperature while the 2nd number denotes the viscosity of the oil at a hot temperature. Since your mower, or say a pressure washer will never be operated when it's cold outside, you can use a cheaper oil that is simply a 30 weight oil, sometimes labeled as SAE30.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36301 posts
10544 upvotes
Ottawa
Spidey wrote: Makes sense, so basically 4 cycle is for air cooled engines?

My quad used 4 cycle Amsol ow30 but it has a rad and is liquid cooled.

Can get a bit confusing at times. My roughcut maybe gets 8 hours of use a year and I just got it last spring, so this will be its first oil change. Bought it used so not sure what was in it.
A 2 cycle or 2 stroke engine is basically an air cooled engine (although 4 cycle can be too). A 2 stroke uses one rotation of the crankshaft (one up and one down of the piston) to produce power.
A 4 cycle or 4 stroke uses 2 rotations of the crankshaft (piston going up and down 4 times) to produce power.
2 cycle or stroke oil is formulated to be mixed with the gasoline as the 2 stroke engine rarely has an oil reservoir and the oil in the gas lubricates the internal engine parts.
4 cycle oil is just normal regular oil that you use in your car as it is purely a lubricant in your 4 stroke car engine.
[OP]
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 16, 2001
76501 posts
1579 upvotes
Pete_Coach wrote: A 2 cycle or 2 stroke engine is basically an air cooled engine (although 4 cycle can be too). A 2 stroke uses one rotation of the crankshaft (one up and one down of the piston) to produce power.
A 4 cycle or 4 stroke uses 2 rotations of the crankshaft (piston going up and down 4 times) to produce power.
2 cycle or stroke oil is formulated to be mixed with the gasoline as the 2 stroke engine rarely has an oil reservoir and the oil in the gas lubricates the internal engine parts.
4 cycle oil is just normal regular oil that you use in your car as it is purely a lubricant in your 4 stroke car engine.
For the 4 cycle here is a confusing example. I have 4 Cycle Formula 1 10W30 oil from Canadian Tire, and then I have regular Forumula 1 10W40. Whats the difference between the 2 then. I have a motor that says to use 4 cycle 10W30, would normal 10W30 work the same?
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 1, 2005
6091 posts
3885 upvotes
Toronto
I usually have about half a liter of 0w30 left over each time when I change my oil twice a year so I use that in my 4 stroke snowblower, no problems so far. But for 2 strokes I've always used oil made for mixing.
:arrowd: B/S/T Threads :arrowd:
[FS] N/A
[WTB] N/A
Member
Mar 28, 2009
233 posts
38 upvotes
4 cycle oil contains a lot more zinc than engine oil, which is an additive used for engine protection. Without an emissions system, the oil can have a higher concentration of zinc without destroying the catalytic converter.

Practically, you can use 10w30 in a lawnmower with no problems.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36301 posts
10544 upvotes
Ottawa
Spidey wrote: For the 4 cycle here is a confusing example. I have 4 Cycle Formula 1 10W30 oil from Canadian Tire, and then I have regular Forumula 1 10W40. Whats the difference between the 2 then. I have a motor that says to use 4 cycle 10W30, would normal 10W30 work the same?
Basically marketing.
They can "fool" you into thinking there is a different by perhaps putting in zinc (?) or teflon or pig fat. Anything to get you to buy something for a little more profit.
In essence, there is no difference.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 25, 2003
9245 posts
357 upvotes
Pete_Coach wrote: A 2 cycle or 2 stroke engine is basically an air cooled engine (although 4 cycle can be too). A 2 stroke uses one rotation of the crankshaft (one up and one down of the piston) to produce power.
A 4 cycle or 4 stroke uses 2 rotations of the crankshaft (piston going up and down 4 times) to produce power.
2 cycle or stroke oil is formulated to be mixed with the gasoline as the 2 stroke engine rarely has an oil reservoir and the oil in the gas lubricates the internal engine parts.
4 cycle oil is just normal regular oil that you use in your car as it is purely a lubricant in your 4 stroke car engine.
Stihl also has recently (few years back) come up with a 4 stroke engine with mixed oil in the gasoline, aptly called 4mix
Member
Feb 24, 2013
359 posts
52 upvotes
Ontario
The formulation of conventional crankcase oil and 2-stroke oil is different. There are even differences in the two categories, e.g. diesel oil and gasoline engine oil, and air-cooled, water-cooled 2-stroke oil. Use the appropriate one for your motor. However, in an emergency they're all interchangeable and won't do any harm if used temporarily, not under heavy load. If you really want to get into it, go here http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36301 posts
10544 upvotes
Ottawa
Velocrank wrote: The formulation of conventional crankcase oil and 2-stroke oil is different. There are even differences in the two categories, e.g. diesel oil and gasoline engine oil, and air-cooled, water-cooled 2-stroke oil. Use the appropriate one for your motor. However, in an emergency they're all interchangeable and won't do any harm if used temporarily, not under heavy load. If you really want to get into it, go here http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/
I believe that is well established already by numerous posters. The question was " trying to figure out what the difference is between 4 cycle and conventional oil."
Not sure what the link to used oil analysis has to offer to this discussion.
Member
Feb 24, 2013
359 posts
52 upvotes
Ontario
Well, if you know how 2-cycle and 4-cycle engines work, you ought to be able to figure out where the oils need to be different. As an example, a 2-cycle oil needs to lubricate and then be able to be burned in the combustion process with minimal residue. A 4-cycle (conventional) oil helps cool the engine, is in the crankcase for a long time, and has to deal with combustion blow-by products.

There are many other differences, which is why I pointed readers to Bob Is The Oil Guy. You have to dig down to get to the forums. http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ub ... um_summary
[OP]
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 16, 2001
76501 posts
1579 upvotes
Velocrank wrote: Well, if you know how 2-cycle and 4-cycle engines work, you ought to be able to figure out where the oils need to be different. As an example, a 2-cycle oil needs to lubricate and then be able to be burned in the combustion process with minimal residue. A 4-cycle (conventional) oil helps cool the engine, is in the crankcase for a long time, and has to deal with combustion blow-by products.

There are many other differences, which is why I pointed readers to Bob Is The Oil Guy. You have to dig down to get to the forums. http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ub ... um_summary
I know how 2 cycle works, that wasnt the question. Question was between 4-cycle 10W30 and just 10W30. Im assuming 4 cycle means any engine that is used outside that is air cooled, as in push lawn mowers, etc that dont have oil filters
[OP]
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 16, 2001
76501 posts
1579 upvotes
Pete_Coach wrote: I believe that is well established already by numerous posters. The question was " trying to figure out what the difference is between 4 cycle and conventional oil."
Not sure what the link to used oil analysis has to offer to this discussion.
It can be confusing, all my lawnmowers ask for 4 cycle oil, and out of the 4 only one has a oil filter. So I thought 4 cycle meant anything without a filter. But that cant be the case since my quad has a filter and takes 4 cycle as well
Member
Feb 24, 2013
359 posts
52 upvotes
Ontario
Spidey wrote: I know how 2 cycle works, that wasnt the question. Question was between 4-cycle 10W30 and just 10W30. Im assuming 4 cycle means any engine that is used outside that is air cooled, as in push lawn mowers, etc that dont have oil filters
No, 4-cycle is how the engine works. If you don't understand engines, do some research. Nothing to do with cooling or lawnmowers or whether there's an oil filter.

Perhaps you're confused because oil sold for lawn mowers is either "4-cycle engine oi" or "2-stroke oil" so people don't use the wrong one in the wrong engine. "4-cycle" and "4-stroke" mean the same and "2-cycle" and "2-stroke" mean the same. "10W30" is the viscosity and is specified for 4-stroke engine oils. You don't usually see viscosity specified for 2-stroke oils because you mix them with the gasoline (unless you have an oil injection 2-stroke). Today you don't see any 2-stroke lawn mowers, but they were the cheapest ones you could get some 30 years ago because they're really simple, no camshaft or valves.

So, I think the answer to your original question is that oil sold for your car is "10W30" (or whatever) because practically all cars are 4-stroke anyway and when you buy lawn mower oil they say it's "10W30 4-stroke" so you don't use it for a 2-stroke lawn mower (although you could in an emergency).
[OP]
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 16, 2001
76501 posts
1579 upvotes
Velocrank wrote: No, 4-cycle is how the engine works. If you don't understand engines, do some research. Nothing to do with cooling or lawnmowers or whether there's an oil filter.

Perhaps you're confused because oil sold for lawn mowers is either "4-cycle engine oi" or "2-stroke oil" so people don't use the wrong one in the wrong engine. "4-cycle" and "4-stroke" mean the same and "2-cycle" and "2-stroke" mean the same. "10W30" is the viscosity and is specified for 4-stroke engine oils. You don't usually see viscosity specified for 2-stroke oils because you mix them with the gasoline (unless you have an oil injection 2-stroke). Today you don't see any 2-stroke lawn mowers, but they were the cheapest ones you could get some 30 years ago because they're really simple, no camshaft or valves.

So, I think the answer to your original question is that oil sold for your car is "10W30" (or whatever) because practically all cars are 4-stroke anyway and when you buy lawn mower oil they say it's "10W30 4-stroke" so you don't use it for a 2-stroke lawn mower (although you could in an emergency).
Lets take "2 stroke" out of the picture totally, because I know why and what its used for.

And yes I do understand engines, Ive been maintaining and working on vehciles for a long time now. And I understand the difference between, 0,5 and 10W30.

"So, I think the answer to your original question is that oil sold for your car is "10W30" (or whatever) because practically all cars are 4-stroke anyway and when you buy lawn mower oil they say it's "10W30 4-stroke""

for the above quote 10W30 and 10W30 4 cycle, whats the difference between the oil in the bottle? 4 cycle is for smaller engines as in quads, lawnmowers and the like? Reason I ask is the manula for my rough cut mower says 10W30 oil, nothing about 4 cycle. Yet my lawn mower says they need to use 4 cycle oil. Same engine type, Briggs and Stratton, both pull starts, etc
Member
Feb 24, 2013
359 posts
52 upvotes
Ontario
Spidey wrote:
for the above quote 10W30 and 10W30 4 cycle, whats the difference between the oil in the bottle? 4 cycle is for smaller engines as in quads, lawnmowers and the like? Reason I ask is the manula for my rough cut mower says 10W30 oil, nothing about 4 cycle. Yet my lawn mower says they need to use 4 cycle oil. Same engine type, Briggs and Stratton, both pull starts, etc
Okay, when you're looking for motor oil for your car, it's all pretty much the same, except there's differences between gasoline engines and diesels, but owners of diesels will be looking for the specific type of oil recommended for their vehicle. Basically, it's all either conventional or synthetic and different viscosities and and different prices. Your owner's manual tells you what's recommended and includes the SAE API Service designation, which you'll find in a circle on the oil bottle. For example, turbo engines need a more severe service oil because of the high temperatures. See http://www.motorexbih.com/API-SAE%20Eng ... ervice.pdf

When it comes to off-road toys and lawn mowers, etc, they will also have an oil service grade recommendation. For example, my small Honda riding mower says "Use high-detergent, premium quality 4-stroke engine oil, certified to meet or exceed U.S. automobile manufacturer’s requirements for API Service Classification SG, SF/CC, CD." Sometimes they won't say "4-stroke" because that's a given. As I said earlier, when you buy oil in the lawn mower section, it might say "4-stroke" so you don't use it in a 2-stroke. So long as you use an oil with the right viscosity and service classification, you're good. As to what's inside the bottle, I don't really know. Actually, for my mowers (I also have a John Deere) I just use whatever I have left over from when I change oil in my cars, or buy the cheapest 10W30 motor oil at Walmart.

I don't know what else I can say. If you really want to get into discussing oil, go to Bob is the Oil Guy.
[OP]
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 16, 2001
76501 posts
1579 upvotes
Velocrank wrote: Okay, when you're looking for motor oil for your car, it's all pretty much the same, except there's differences between gasoline engines and diesels, but owners of diesels will be looking for the specific type of oil recommended for their vehicle. Basically, it's all either conventional or synthetic and different viscosities and and different prices. Your owner's manual tells you what's recommended and includes the SAE API Service designation, which you'll find in a circle on the oil bottle. For example, turbo engines need a more severe service oil because of the high temperatures. See http://www.motorexbih.com/API-SAE%20Eng ... ervice.pdf

When it comes to off-road toys and lawn mowers, etc, they will also have an oil service grade recommendation. For example, my small Honda riding mower says "Use high-detergent, premium quality 4-stroke engine oil, certified to meet or exceed U.S. automobile manufacturer’s requirements for API Service Classification SG, SF/CC, CD." Sometimes they won't say "4-stroke" because that's a given. As I said earlier, when you buy oil in the lawn mower section, it might say "4-stroke" so you don't use it in a 2-stroke. So long as you use an oil with the right viscosity and service classification, you're good. As to what's inside the bottle, I don't really know. Actually, for my mowers (I also have a John Deere) I just use whatever I have left over from when I change oil in my cars, or buy the cheapest 10W30 motor oil at Walmart.

I don't know what else I can say. If you really want to get into discussing oil, go to Bob is the Oil Guy.
Thanks, that explains it for me 10W30 and 10W30 4 cycle, more or less the same oil. Thats what I was thinking as well.
Newbie
Oct 29, 2018
1 posts
I have question u think is bad to put 4cycle oil in my electric generator is455cc 8000w is 10w30

Top

Thread Information

There is currently 1 user viewing this thread. (0 members and 1 guest)