If you’re the proud owner of an ATV or quad bike, then you’ll know that you shouldn’t put any old oil into them if you want to get the most out of their engines. Like with any machinery, the engines of an ATV need proper care if you want them at maximum capacity, and this is best done with specially designed oil for ATVs. Since they better lubricate the engines of your ATV, these oils allow you to enjoy your ATV for longer by reducing wear damage and making them more durable.
Even those who know their ATVs may not know which oils are better than others, and why, so that’s exactly why we wrote this article. We’ve gathered five of the best ATV oils and listed them below. Whether you’re a newbie or just need some reassurance in your choice of oil, you’ll definitely find some useful information in the product entries below.
Below our product list, where each product’s pros and cons are listed out for your convenience, we’ve also included a small buyers’ guide so that you can learn about them. Knowing what makes certain oils superior to others is handy if you find yourself buying oil often, so definitely check it out if you want to be able to pick the best oils for yourself in the future.
In a hurry?
Sometimes you want to be slick when buying online and take as little time as you can. If that’s you right now, let us recommend our best ATV oil options so you can see the suggestions this list has to offer upfront. We liked the YamaLube All Purpose Four Stroke Oil because of how versatile yet competent it was. See more about this oil below:
- This is definitely the option for those who want versatility in their oil, mainly versatility in which engines this oil can be applied to. We say this because this oil is compatible with motorcycles and scooters, too. It’s also a thin oil in terms of viscosity, so it’s versatile in that it can handle lower temperatures easily.
- But what about the oil itself? It’s a four-stroke motor oil that’s designed to cut away unnecessary energy loss, making it a great option for those struggling with fuel-inefficiency, or just want to get the most power out of their fuel.
- If the name YamaLube didn’t tip you off, this oil comes from Yamaha. As a reputable brand in the motor engineering field, this is bound to give some reassurance about the product. It’s also rated as JASO MA, meaning that it’s safe for you to use but also safe for the environment, too.
The Leading 5 Oils for ATV
OUR TOP PICK
When buying any accompanying product that needs to be used with something else, like an engine, a surefire way to save money is to buy for versatility. This is especially the case with repeating purchases like oil, and our first example should have you, your ATV, and any other small engines covered.
We’re talking about the YamaLube All Purpose Four Stroke Oil, which can be used with motorcycles, scooters, and, you guessed it, ATVs. Having versatility doesn’t automatically make the oil good, however, and no one wants to use bad oil for all of their gadgets, so rest assured that its place in the #1 position of this list is because it does both well.
It's four-stroke motor oil, meaning that it’s designed to save fuel and, in doing so, cutting down on energy loss so you get every centimeter of propulsion out of the fuel you’re using. That makes this a great option for those who have suffered from fuel-inefficiency in the past. Energy loss is also reduced just because of how effectively the oil lubricates the engine system, making all of its moving parts operate much smoother.
Another of the main reasons that we recommend the YamaLube Four Stroke solution is for how thin it is. It’s graded at 10w-40 for viscosity, so it’s thin even in the realm of small engine oils, and even when it’s very cold outside. That means you can run this oil in colder climates without any fear of the oil thickening and clogging up your engine system.
If you need someone else’s word on how great this oil is, look no further than the JASO MA specification that this oil has. This is a pretty high standard as far as oils go and it guarantees that the oil is both safe to use and safe for the environment at large, so you can have versatile and effective engine power without having to damage the environment as much.
It’s also from Yamaha, who is a bigger brand in the automotive engineering scene and is sure to inspire confidence in those of you who prefer to stick to reputable brands. With Yamaha’s business in car, tire, and motorcycle manufacturing, they definitely knew what they were doing when they made the YamaLube oil line.
- A versatile oil option that can also work with motorcycles and scooters.
- Four-stroke motor oil design cuts down on energy loss.
- Thin viscosity grade enables it to work at lower temperatures.
- Rated to a JASO MA standard, meaning it’s environmentally friendly and safe to use.
- Comes from Yamaha, an accomplished and reputable motor engineering brand.
- Rubber pouring bladder can be tricky to get working.
Next up we have the Polaris 2202166 ATV OEM Sportsman Oil, a premium oil option straight from the manufacturer of ATVs. This does come with a caveat though, that being the oil is fine-tuned to the engines of Polaris ATVs. This means that if your ATV is a Polaris, or at least has a Polaris engine, then you’re guaranteed the highest quality performance out of this oil.
The linked product is actually an oil change kit, meaning you don’t just get the oil but also a filter to use for your very first oil change, as well as other accessories you should need, none of them being aftermarket. That said, we’d recommend having your spare components ready just in case you need more than this kit supplies.
The 0w-40 viscosity that this Polaris oil has works in its advantage in a huge way. The most noticeable and commendable of these is how it can work in extreme temperatures. We’re not just talking lower temperatures but from minus forty degrees to standard forty degrees, this oil won’t clog or otherwise go stagnant within the engine.
As mentioned, Polaris is an ATV brand, so we trust they know how to make a great oil. Between coming from a reputable supplier, featuring a filter and other handy kit components, and boasting a very wide range of active temperatures that this oil can do its job at, we’d say it’s a shoo-in for your choice of ATV oil.
- A factory original equipment kit, not aftermarket oil.
- 0w-40 viscosity works well at extreme temperatures.
- Arrives with an oil filter and other handy accessories.
- Comes from a brand of ATV manufacturers who know what they’re doing.
- Polaris oil works best with Polaris engines.
Surely everybody has heard of Honda, so we’ll spare you the explanation of how this oil comes from yet another brand that’s prominent in the industry, and how that means they know what oil works and what doesn’t. We’ve linked a one-gallon bottle of Honda Pro GN4 Motor Oil for those who need more in their workshop.
What else about this oil that caught our eye was once again the thinness of the Honda Pro GN4 oil, rated at a 10w-40 viscosity that guarantees competent low-temperature performance. That doesn’t exclude other climate uses, however, with this GN4 oil being ready for use with the rest of the temperature range too.
Speaking of temperature, the lubricating action of this oil is great for reducing the potential of overheating, which usually occurs when the engine and its moving parts have been running for prolonged periods of time. With this oil, you can get more longevity out of your engine by reducing this friction and thermal interference.
Unlike some of the branded oils above, Honda has made this a universal oil. This means that different machines will get different but impressive results out of it since it was formulated with versatility in mind. It can work on both ATVs and rangers, and other compatible engines for both.
- A large one-gallon bottle made by Honda, a popular manufacturer.
- 10w-40 viscosity level allows for use in most temperatures and climates.
- Reliably proven to protect against engine overheating thanks to its lubrication.
- A universal oil that will offer different but capable results for different machines.
- Pricey for what you get.
At our fourth spot we have what we call the budget option, an oil you should consider if you’re not too picky about brand recognition and instead want a cheaper oil that can still deliver on what you have planned for it. We think the Lucas Oil 10720 Engine Oil fits the bill perfectly.
They still have some reputation amongst those that know them, mainly for their quality multi-purpose oil like the one we’re recommending now. Whether it’s ATVs or UTVs, this oil should work just as well and will also be compatible with similar engines used in other contexts, such as lawnmowers and even small generators.
It's a semi-synthetic oil that’s rated at 10w40, so it can tackle most environments fairly competently. This also means that it’s on-par with some of the heavy-hitters above whilst being an affordable alternative when it’s all tallied up. It should be noted that the linked product is just one quart, so this oil is most cost-efficient when used for smaller engines since larger ones may require two or three purchases, though that’ll still work out cheaper than the above oil examples.
Lucas Oil makes much of its product in the United States, so you can rest assured that it’s been made to a high standard and hasn’t contributed to climate problems through being shipped across the world.
- An affordable and alternative brand oil that you can rely on.
- All-purpose oil for ATVs, UTV, lawnmowers, and generators.
- Semi-synthetic 10w40 oil that can tackle most temperatures and climates.
- It’s manufactured in the United States.
- One-quart bottle means you may need to buy another.
The last example of motor oil we have to show you is the Valvoline 4-Stroke ATV/UTV SAE Motor Oil. Valvoline is another of those brands that you may recognize if you’ve browsed for motor oils before because they’re one of the world-leading brands that are known for their top-notch chemical formulae.
They’re known to use some of the purest materials available in their oils and this one is no different, being a non-detergent oil that acts as its own oil filter, making the oil changing process much easier for newbies or those that don’t appreciate the hassle. Any contaminants contained within the engine are left aside so that only clean oil makes it inside, reducing the potential that wet clutch can develop.
Unfortunately, this design does result in more sludge buildup than if you used other oils, but it isn’t carried into the engine system itself and so won’t get clogged easily. The oil is rated at 10w-40 viscosity, so it’s relatively thin but maintains this consistency through both hot and cold weather, making it ideal for an ATV that’s going to see a lot of travel.
- A handy, non-detergent oil option that acts as its own oil filter.
- Doesn’t carry contaminants into the engine, preventing wet clutch.
- Rated at 10w-40, maintaining viscosity in the summer and winter.
- Ergonomically designed bottle for easy pouring.
- Oil results in more sludge buildup than usual.
What you Need to Know when Buying Motor Oil
How to choose the right oil for you
Whether you’re a beginner or have just stuck to a favorite oil and want some change, it can be hard to know what would make certain oils better than others. That’s why we’ve written this buyers’ guide which seeks to act as a rationale of how we ranked our oils, but also as something to learn from. If you learn what makes one oil better than another, you can apply that for yourself when buying more oil instead of having to search online.
We think the principle way to rate the oils is to break them up into different categories based on their features and abilities. That way you can judge them piecemeal, which is handy for identifying which oils are better in which situations since there isn’t often a single type of oil, it depends on what you’re doing with it.
We separated the oils into their compatibility, the different types of oil, its viscosity, and its brand.
As mentioned, not every ATV is compatible with all ATV oil, so you should definitely find that out before making any moves. It’s common for ATV manufacturers to recommend oil so, if you have old leaflets or instruction manuals lying around, check those out to see if certain oils are recommended. If you haven’t got that information, you can also search it up online.
Compatibility is an issue because of how vastly different a lot of oil products are, even when they may be very similar on paper. There’s no telling how the oil may react if you’re putting unsuitable types of oil into your ATV engine, so some brands will give very specific recommendations of which oil you should use.
Types of Oil
Oil is pretty vague since it actually comes in a few types that each have their own advantages and disadvantages. These are conventional oil, semi-synthetic oil, and synthetic oil. Before choosing, always consult your ATV manufacturer or any of the guides and instructions you received with your ATV/its engine, since some ATVs will have recommendations that nudge you towards a certain oil type.
Conventional oil, sometimes called mineral oil, is the typical oil many think of. It’s the ancient stuff taken directly from the ground and is, technically speaking, all-natural since it has no chemical additives. It also tends to have a viscosity of 10w40.
Semi-synthetic is, as you may have guessed, a mix of both conventional and synthetic. This means that it achieves the desirable conventional 10w40 viscosity whilst benefiting from some of the more artificial elements that are included in synthetic oils.
Synthetic oils are fully man-made and have many additives. These serve a lot of purposes but for you, as the consumer, the most important will be the ability to resist high temperatures. That means you can ride in hotter climates for longer and it generally reduces overheating.
Viscosity is just the thickness, or thinness, of the ATV oil. This is important for clogging concerns. You should always err towards higher viscosity since that makes it easier for the moving parts inside ATV engines to function. In the list above you’ll be seeing 10w40 a lot, the designation of viscous oil that works well against the temperature and other external factors.
Whenever you’re buying something that’s a repeatable purchase, brand consideration does become more important than we’d usually admit. That’s not to say there aren’t great third-party oils out there, but you’ll feel much safer using Yamaha or Honda’s own oils. If the brand is the same as the manufacturer of your ATV engine, then it’s definitely a shoo-in for your oil pick since it’s virtually guaranteed to be compatible and probably your best ATV oil option.