Know Your 2-Cycle Motor Oil:

Most frequently asked questions about snowmobile motor oil

January 2005 Feature Scott McQueen Viewed 29098 time(s)

Q: My two-cycle engine is not new. Can I use any non-detergent 30-weight oil or do I have to use a two-cycle type oil?

A: Regardless of age, two-cycle engines can benefit from the use of oils designed specifically for that type of service. Two-cycle oils are intended for consumption during the fuel burning process, thus they must be specially formulated with additive chemistry and base oils which tend to leave minimum amounts of ash. Two-cycle oils are also pre-diluted for easier mixing and more complete combustion.


Q: There are many different brands and types: how do I know which two-cycle oil is right for my engine?

A: There are two basic categories of two-cycle engines: liquid and air-cooled. The liquid-cooled category is comprised of outboard motors, personal watercraft and a number of snowmobile engines. Two-cycle oils for water-cooled engines are labeled with a symbol from NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) and are given the designation TC-W3.

The air-cooled category includes motorcycles, lawn mowers, generators, pumps, chainsaws and weed trimmers. Two-cycle, air-cooled engine oils are marked with just the API (American Petroleum Institute) TC designation.

"TC" stands for two-cycle, "W" means water-cooled and "3" designates the most current generation of two-cycle water-cooled oils.

Q: Are all two-cycles oils marketed for my engine the same?

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