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29/07/2020 News


Like cars, modern motorcycles come with different options of transmission system – automatic and manual. While automatic motorbikes or motor scooters are widely popular nowadays, manual transmission two-wheelers have not entirely lost followers, especially among sports and underbone motorbike enthusiasts.

From maintenance perspective, the different transmission systems require separate types of oil – each has different content. This knowledge is essential, even though many motorbike owners are not aware of this rule of thumb. Using oil products designed for different systems interchangeably will lead to damage and safety risk, especially when automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is used for manual transmission.

And why is that?

An automatic two-wheeler uses the ‘dry’ clutch that works with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) system that is separate from the motorbike’s engine. In this motorbike, oil engine lubricates just the engine parts. CVT transmission requires a separate transmission fluid to protect it. Applying manual transmission fluid to an automatic motorbike will only increase the friction between components in the CVT, preventing smooth shifts between gears.

On the contrary, a manual two-wheeler uses the ‘wet’ clutch. The oil engine lubricates the entire system – engine and transmission. ATF does not contain certain additives that a manual transmission needs; If ATF is used in a manual transmission motorbike, the clutch may slip – causing safety risks.


The next step to ensure you don’t choose the wrong oil is to notice the code that distinguishes automatic and manual transmission fluid:

Automatic: An ATF product bears the code Japanese Automotive Standard Association (JASO) MB. “MB” refers to the molybdenum content or the friction modifier additive, while JASO is a Japanese independent oil quality assurance organization.

Manual: An oil product for manual transmission shows JASO MA code. “MA” indicates that the product is made for motor vehicles with wet clutches and contains additives to lubricate the clutch disc.

Meanwhile, the difference in oil viscosity level is subtle. Both manual and automatic transmission fluid products can fall between 5W-40, 10W-30, 10W-40, and 20W-50 viscosity level.

Click the following link to see a complete variant of manual and automatic transmission oil from Total

Finally, although using the wrong oil may not cause immediate effects, making it a habit will certainly compromise engine quality and cause engine damage.

So, choose carefully and pick only the best product for your two-wheeler.