What additives are used in motorbike oils?

Oil additives are added to oils during the manufacturing process to improve the performance of motorcycle oils.
Below are examples of commonly used additives.
Additives are often used to improve the lubrication qualities and reduce oxidation (burning) and friction, but they can also be used for simple things like changing the colour of the oil.

Additive What it does

Detergents improve the cleanliness of the engine, especially in hot areas.
They work by holding the by-products of oxidation (burning) in suspension and in so doing prevent the oil coagulating and stop deposits building up in the engine.


Dispersants help control cold-sludging and also carry products that assist the combustion process

Oxidation and corrosion inhibitors

Oxidation and corrosion inhibitors reduce the rate of oil oxidation and help control any corrosion due to acids and water vapour

Anti-wear agents

Anti-wear agents protect rubbing components against wear from friction by improving film strength.
This is especially good in aiding the lubrication of valve components

Pour depressants

Pour depressants lower the point at which an oil solidifies so they do not thicken so easily when cold

Viscosity-index improvers

Viscosity-index improvers help to reduce thinning (when hot) and thickening (when cold) of oils.
They help control oil consumption and improve cold starting.
Viscosity-index improvers enable the oil to flow like a thin oil and lubricate like a thick oil at all times.

Oiliness agents

Oiliness agents reduce the friction of heavily loaded rotating or reciprocating parts (like the fly wheel)

Anti-foaming agents

Anti-foaming agents reduce foaming, which is caused by the air in the crankcase mixing with oil under turbulence.
Foaming reduces an oil’s ability to lubricate and cool and increases oxidation


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