When you hit the road, track or trail on your motorcycle, dirt bike, ATV or another 2 stroke oil engine machine, you expect it to perform perfectly. After all, if you have engine problems or other issues, you simply can’t dominate behind the handlebars.
If your machine has a 2 stroke oil engine, it requires some maintenance that bikes with other engine’s don’t. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional mechanic to keep your bike in tip-top shape. In this article, we discuss some essential two-stroke oil maintenance tips. Continue reading for useful information about your motorcycle’s two-stroke engine.
What Is a 2 Stroke Engine?
You may own a motorcycle, ATV or another type of machine with a two-stroke engine. You may not, however, understand what a two-stroke engine is. Essentially, the term refers to how the engine functions.
As the name suggests, a two-stroke engine completes its power cycle in two strokes of its piston.
A piston is a unit that moves up and down inside a cylinder. On the upward swing, the piston squeezes a mixture of fuel and oxygen. When the mixture is compressed, the engine’s spark plugs fire. The resulting spark ignites the fuel and oxygen in the cylinder. This drives the piston downward.
When the piston reaches a specific point in the cylinder, it passes an opening. Combustion exhaust flows into the opening and vents away from the cylinder. Meanwhile, a fresh supply of fuel and oxygen enters the cylinder. The complete process produces the power that drives the engine.
For two-stroke engines to function, you must mix oil with fuel.
While the fuel and oxygen work to create combustion, two-stroke oil keeps the inner workings of the engine lubricated. The lubrication not only allows the engine to function optimally, but it also helps control friction. How much two-stroke oil you must mix with fuel depends on the type of engine. Your machine’s manufacturer likely has specific directions for preparing the mixture. Check your bike’s owner’s manual for precise information.
How Do You Maintain a 2 Stroke Oil Engine?
Two-stroke engines are like other engines in that they require routine maintenance to perform optimally. The best thing you can do to properly maintain your two-stroke engine is to read your bike’s owner’s manual. Most manuals have recommended service intervals.
Create a spreadsheet of these or commit them to memory. By never skipping a service appointment, you can be sure your bike is ready to go when you are.
Unlike some other engine types, two-stroke engines are simple to maintain. One key difference is the oil filter. On many bikes, you must regularly inspect and replace the oil filter. With your two-stroke engine, there isn’t an oil filter.
As such, you never have to worry about replacing it. You must, however, take care to manage oil levels. Here are some suggestions:
- Mix fuel and two-stroke oil correctly. Many riders with two-stroke engines aren’t precise with mixing oil and fuel. Taking extra care, though, is worth the effort. Remember, the ignition of fuel and oxygen create the power that drives your bike forward. The two-stroke oil keeps the engine sufficiently lubricated. If you have too much oil, your bike’s fuel likely won’t ignite as it should. The reverse is also true. If you don’t mix in the correct amount of two-stroke oil, you risk damaging your bike’s engine.
- Check oil levels. Your bike burns oil every time you take it on a trip. Throughout the riding season, you must regularly check oil levels. When oil runs low, replace it. While you are checking your bike’s oil, don’t forget to look at the fork oil. Often, riders forget to inspect and replace fork oil, leading to excessive wear on forks.
- Replace the air filter. All engines need to breathe to run properly. At least once a year, you should inspect your bike’s air filter. Most are cleanable with a gentle scrubbing or a blast of compressed air. Still, air filters don’t last forever. If yours is filthy or damaged, replace it to give your bike an extra power boost. This is specifically important if you frequently ride on dusty trails.
- Clean your bike’s carburetor. When you are maintaining a two-stroke engine, you can’t forget about the carburetor. Gunk can easily build up inside the carburetor. This can cause your bike to run sluggishly or stall completely. Fortunately, cleaning a carburetor isn’t as challenging as it sounds. Simply remove the carburetor and detach the float-bowl assembly. Spray some commercial carburetor cleaner inside to clear away grime. You may need to use compressed air to blow out blockages or small particles.
How Do You Prepare a 2 Stroke Engine for Winter?
Unless you live somewhere sunny and warm, you probably only ride your motorcycle or ATV in the summertime. If your machine has a two-stroke engine, you must take some steps to prepare it for winter storage.
Your best bet is to check your bike’s owner’s manual for precise instructions on how to properly store it.
Alternatively, you can use the following suggestions to be sure your two-stroke engine doesn’t gum up in the wintertime.
- Drain the engine of its two-stroke oil. To do this, simply remove the plug and empty oil into an approved container. To be certain you are storing used two-stroke oil in an appropriate flask, purchase one that is certified to hold a combination of oil and fuel.
- Remove spark plugs and add a bit of two-stroke oil to the spark plug openings. Generally, just a tablespoon or so is sufficient to protect the openings during storage.
- Reinsert spark plugs after the two-stroke oil works into the mechanism. If you notice your bike’s spark plugs are in bad shape, replace damaged or worn spark plugs before storing your machine.
- Clean the air filter by using compressed air. As with the spark plugs, inspect the air filter for signs of damage or decay. If you find any, replace the air filter.
- Store your machine in a dry, temperature-controlled space. Be sure you place a note on your bike reminding yourself and notifying others that you have prepared the bike for storage. This will help avoid starting the bike without first adding 2-stroke oil to its engine.
If you prefer not to drain the fuel and two-stroke oil from your machine, you may choose to use a fuel stabilizer. This formula protects your bike’s engine when you aren’t riding it. While fuel stabilizers have many fans, they also have thousands of detractors.
The choice is yours, but you should think about adding fresh fuel and two-stroke oil before you mix in a stabilizer. To do so, follow the above recommendations to drain old fuel. Then, fill up your machine with a fresh mixture and add fuel stabilizer.
If you store your bike without fuel and two-stroke oil, you must add a fresh supply before you start riding again. At the start of the next season, you may be tempted to use the same two-stroke oil and fuel you drained at the end of the previous riding season. That’s a mistake. Instead, discard old fuel and 2 stroke oil and prepare a new mixture. Then, fill the tank with it before your first trip of the new riding season.
Are All 2 Stroke Oil Equal?
When you are preparing a mixture of 2 stroke oil and fuel, you must be careful. Getting the mixture wrong can cause serious engine problems. If you don’t want to blow up your bike’s engine, you must have the right equipment. You must also understand how ratios work.
Finally, you must be certain you use high-quality 2 -stroke oil to best protect your machine’s engine.
Before mixing oil, you need a pre-marked measuring device. You also need a container. You should use these tools exclusively for your motorcycle to avoid contaminating them with unintended products. Additionally, you need a well-lit area, as precise mixtures require reading hash marks clearly.
2 -stroke oil can be intimidating. While machine manufacturers use ratios to tell you exactly how much oil and fuel you need, math is barely involved. For example, if engine specifications call for a 50:1 mixture, you need 50 parts fuel and 1-part oil.
There are dozens of 2 stroke oil on the market today. As you may suspect, not all types are good for your machine. Check your bike’s operator manual for recommendations on which 2 stroke oil to use. If your manual is silent, consider using a high-quality synthetic oil.
Why Do You Need To Get 2 Stroke Oil Maintenance Right?
For both your safety and your riding experience, your bike must run its best. Properly maintaining your bike is non-negotiable. Fortunately, your two-stroke engine is easier to maintain than other types of engines.
To get the most out of your bike, pay close attention to the mixture of fuel and two-stroke oil.
By conducting regular maintenance throughout the riding season, you don’t have to worry about engine issues. Further, by preparing your machine for winter storage, you guarantee it is ready to go the following year. Either way, you can’t ignore essential maintenance on your bike’s two-stroke engine.