What do the different letters mean on the oils? - ATVConnection.com ATV Enthusiast Community

Arctic Cat Discussions about Arctic Cat ATVs.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-13-2007, 04:45 PM
Weekend Warrior
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3
Default What do the different letters mean on the oils?

I recently bought a AC 500 ATV and I am about ready to change the oil at the 10 hr interval. The owners manual says to use 5w-30 with an API rating of SE, SF, or SG. the oil I have has an API rating of SM. Is it ok to go ahead and use the SM rating oil. If not could you explain what the SE, SF, or SG means. Also I was wondering about using synthetic oil, once I change to synthetic can I go back to regular oil or not. Thanks to anyone that can help.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2007, 06:58 PM
Range Rover
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 157
Default What do the different letters mean on the oils?

It's important to use oil rated API SE, SF or SG as your manual says, because the newer API ratings like SJ & SM have additives to increase fuel economy in cars which may cause clutch slippage in motorcycles and ATVs. Oils rated either API-SG or JASO-MA (or both) are appropriate for use in an ATV. API-SG was the last automotive rating for motor oil considered appropriate for motorcycles. JASO is a newer oil rating system developed by motorcycle manufacturers due to the fact that API ratings after SG should not be used in motorcycle and ATVs.

There are a number of old topics on the forum where oil has been discussed extensively. You can find some of these in the archives by using the search feature, but here are a couple which include some links to web pages with more information:

Motor Oil & Motorcycle Oil Wisdom
Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2007, 09:21 PM
Pro Rider
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,245
Default What do the different letters mean on the oils?

Not sure exactly what the letters stand for but it has to do with duty and working with a wet clutch. You can use synthetic but it has to be able to work with a wet clutch or you won't go anyplace - clutches won't engage. Once you use synthetic, yes you can go back to dino oil. I switched back because I change oil often and the expense was a better trade off - a clean dino oil is better than a dirty synthetic. Pure economics. I can't tell you that synthetic is better because I get the same gas mileage with either, the power seems the same but I have cleaner oil all the time. Start laying out $30 bucks an oil change and that makes you want to get your moneys worth by running the oil longer. But change it for $8 to $10 bucks and you feel more comfortable about changing more often and keeping clean fresh oil in the engine.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2007, 11:28 PM
Range Rover
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 166
Default What do the different letters mean on the oils?

SAE is Society of Automotive Engineers

API is American Petroleum Institute

ACEA is Association des Constructeurs Europeens d'Automobiles

The SA- SM are standards for bascially the year of engine.

SA was the standard for engine use in the 1950's (not really sure on the year just using it to explain)

and like was said before SM is now the standard for engines made today.

a motorcycle or atv specific oil should be used in atv's because auto oil does have additives in it.
however, where is the wet clutch on a 500 auto? or any cvt for that matter? so why would it hurt to run any recommended weight oil in a cvt machine?
Reply With Quote

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2003 Baja ba 250 wilderness 250cc vog machine from hell Impalaman 1) Engine problems.. 11 10-14-2015 10:05 PM
Gas/oil mix rockinkgin Polaris 4 09-25-2015 02:52 PM
Yamaha YFM 80 burning oil dunerv8 Technical and How-To Articles 0 09-14-2015 11:11 AM
Sudden blowby and hard starting bvolks Kawasaki 8 09-13-2015 01:57 PM
2003 Honda Trx300 Oil seals location ScopeZ_ General Chat 3 09-13-2015 08:55 AM

5w30 , api , cd , letter , letters , motor , oil , rating , ratings , sa , sf , sg , sj , stand , synthetic

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:09 AM.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: