The oil that lubricates your UTV or ATV engine is, a harder-working oil than your automobile’s. ORV engines run at high temperatures and high RPMs, often have to both get going in frigid weather and run in intense heat. They also commonly operate under intense use for concentrated periods while sitting unused for lengthy intervals in between. To compensate for this comparatively extreme demand, ATV/UTV engine oil has special additives to dissipate heat and maintain a wider range of viscosity and shear stability over longer use than standard automobile oil.
As with automobile motor oil, you can choose between conventional, semi-synthetic, or full synthetic oils for your SxS or quad. Conventional oil is made from a mineral base, synthetic from chemically altered molecules, and semi-synthetics from a mix of the two. Given their superior performance at high temperatures and better stability, synthetic oils tend to be the best choice for UTVs and ATVs.
Any motor oil is obviously vital for allowing the moving parts of an engine to function, and when you consider the extra work and wide range of conditions a UTV/ATV oil is subjected to, maintaining its level and changing it consistently are essential. Check the level of your UTV/ATV motor oil before every ride and add to the full mark if necessary. Consistently dropping oil levels may indicate a leak in the system, which should be promptly investigated and mitigated. A rising oil level, meanwhile, is just as much a cause for concern: It may betray a buildup of contaminants in the oil sump or the crankcase, which also should be dealt with immediately.
Speaking of contaminants—byproducts of combustion, dirt, and other material are among the chief reasons oil needs to be changed regularly. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended schedule; normal ATV or SxS use often requires an oil change every six months, 100 driving hours, or 1,000 miles. Your owner’s manual will also indicate the UTV/ATV oil capacity for your particular machine. It should also suggest when the oil should be changed during the break-in period of a new engine.