What Can I Use Instead Of 2-Stroke Oil

What Can I Use Instead Of 2-Stroke Oil?- The Perfect Substitute

Did you run out of 2 stroke oil for your 2 stroke engine motorcycle? Looking for an alternative to get your engine started? 

Well, we have just the right answer to your question, “What can I use instead of 2 stroke oil?”

We’ve curated 5 reliable and readily available substitutes for 2 stroke oil. You can use 4 stroke oil, cooking oil, or even the conventional motor oil of the right type. Moreover, you can also use automotive fluids. If you find no alternative at all, make your own substitute. 

To know more about the substitutes of 2 stroke oils, head over to our article. We have covered all the necessary details related to the substitutes.

2 Stroke Oil 

Two-stroke oils are a special kind of motor oil used in 2 stroke engines. These are low ash, high-performance lubricants for 2 stroke or 2 cycle engines like bikes, lawnmowers, chain saws, etc. 

2 stroke oil is generally mixed with gasoline for lubrication of the engine. This mix is also called premix. The oil is then burned along with the fuel when the engine is started. 

2 stroke oils use a mix of oil-based stocks such as petroleum, castor or synthetic oil and gasoline at a volumetric fuel-to oil ratio of 16:1 or lower. Most 2 stroke engine users now prefer using synthetic oil because of the benefits of synthetic oil.

As synthetic oil protects the engine better under heat and helps to flow faster under cold conditions. Moreover, it makes the engine run cooler and faster. 

Why Use 2 Stroke Oil?

Most land-based, air-cooled 2 stroke engines like motorcycles, weed eaters, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and auxiliary equipment use 2 stroke oil. 

There are certain benefits of 2 stroke oil, which is why 2 stroke engine users opt for this. These are the reasons why you shouldn’t use anything other than 2 stroke oil in a 2 stroke engine.  

  • The stroke oils have excellent wear protection because of the anti-wear additives of 2 stroke oil. This makes the engine life longer. 
  • 2 stroke oils have good thermal and oxidation stability. Moreover, it controls the deposit of carbon. This results in a clean engine. This, in turn, extends the spark plug and valve life reducing the pre-ignition problem.
  • 2 stroke oil has additives that contain excellent corrosion properties. This also helps extend engine life.
  • Even though the fuel and oil mix burn quite a lot, there is no exhaustion of smoke. So this is an environmentally friendly oil to use for engines.
  • 2 stroke oil is also known to release minimum carbon deposits and smoke with more burning.

Substitutes of 2 stroke oil

Using anything instead of 2 stroke oil won’t get your engine started. Moreover, there are concerns about the engine being damaged permanently. In case you run out of 2 stroke oil and badly need to get your engine to work, you’ll have to analyze a lot before choosing the right substitute. 

To save you some time, we’ve mentioned a few substitutes of 2 stroke oil which might give you a similar output.

Substitute 1 of 5: 4 Stroke Oil

4 stroke oils usually work the best for 4 stroke engines. But when you’re out of 2 stroke oil for your 2 stroke engine, you can try using this one instead. 4 stroke oil works fine as a lubricant and that is the most important factor for a 2 stroke engine. So you can easily use this as a substitute.

Even though 2 stroke engines and 4 stroke engines use different oils for particular reasons. And these two oils are quite different from one another as well, yet they can be used as substitutes. And this will not damage the engine as much as you’ve imagined. The only side effect this oil may have on the 2 stroke engine is that it’ll leave a lot of carbon buildup. 

Now if you try to mix 4 stroke oil the way you’d mix 2 stroke oil, you’ll surely get in trouble. Because 2 stroke oil is mixed with gas either in the fuel tank or the crankcase. With 4 stroke oil, this will wash up all the components in the 2 stroke engine parts.

So mix 4 stroke oil with gasoline and then fill the oil into the crankcase. And you should be good. But remember that 4 stroke oil lacks a few properties of 2 stroke oil so it might not give the best performance.

4 stroke oil
Source: Motorcyclistonline.com

Anyways, here are our top choices of 4 stroke oil-

Substitute 2 of 5: Cooking Oil

If you’re out of 2 stroke and 4 stroke oil, now is the time to make use of the vegetable oil you used for your fries the other night.  You wouldn’t even need to follow the 2 stroke oil mix for this. Yeah, that’s right. You can actually use cooking oil for your 2 strokes engines. Pretty surprising, isn’t it?

Well, you can quite easily use cooking oil like vegetable oil or bran oil as a substitute because cooking oil has a high viscosity. It also has anti-wear properties and higher resistance to break down in high temperatures. This makes the engine work efficiently. 

Fun fact: Your engine will smell like fried food or barbecue instead of smelling funky. 

But there’s a catch- Cooking oil solidifies when kept at cold temperatures. So if you use vegetable oil in your 2 stroke engine, you must ensure the machine is kept in a warm place, preferably above 43 degrees. Otherwise, you’ll end up having an engine filled with chunks of solidified oil. 

So your engine will not work at all and this might damage it as well. So it is a must to keep your machine in a warm place so that the oil remains liquid. Moreover, cooking oil also shows carbon buildup on the engine and has a high flash-point. Flash-point here refers to the temperature at which the oil gives off a vapor that allows ignition.

cooking oil
Source: Inhabitat.com

Substitute 3 of 5: Conventional Motor Oil

If you always had this question whether you can use motor oil in a 2 stroke engine, but never trusted your instincts. Your instincts were wrong to some extent because you can use non-detergent motor oil as a substitute. This is because these have additives that do not burn. 

So for using motor oil in your 2 stroke engine, you’ll need to use non-detergent motor oil. Use the same proportions of motor oil you’d use for 2 stroke oil ratio. You may also use a 20:1 ratio of motor oil. This way, you’ll get better output.

Conventional motor oil like 10/30 w or 10/4o also burns well but will leave deposits, unlike 2 stroke oil. The engine temperature doesn’t change noticeably for motor oil so it’s pretty convenient. 

The only bad side to this, is the huge amount of carbon build-up, emission of smoke and high possibility of not burning. Motor oil will most definitely not work as smoothly as 2 stroke oil, yet you can use it in an emergency.

To get the right output from your engine using motor oil, you’ll have to use the right kind of motor oil. Here are a few top choices of motor oil used as 2 stroke oil-

Substitute 4 of 5: Miscellaneous Automotive Fluids

This one right here might be the best substitute for 2 stroke oil. Automotive transmission fluids as 2 stroke oil can make your motorcycle engine work just as fine.

Now, automotive fluids are of two types:  power steering fluids and transmission fluids. Both work well on the engine but if you have to opt for one, you should go for the asian type automotive power steering fluid. This one is closest to the qualities of 2 stroke oil.

Automotive fluids have the highest viscosity just like 2 stroke oil. These work perfectly because of the lubrication feature of the fluid. But make sure you use the right amount of fluid because too little can damage the bearing and bore of the engine. Moreover, the fluid is fairly light grade and cheap as well so it’s pretty convenient. 

The only issue with automotive fluids is that these fluids contain additives like zinc and phosphorus that don’t burn very cleanly. So carbon buildup and smoke are common issues here.

automotive fluids
Source: Denniskirk.com

By the way, if you don’t know which ones to go for. Here are our top choices of transmission fluids that can be used as 2 stroke oil-

Substitute 5 of 5: DIY Substitute Of 2 Stroke Oil

Now if you want to save your money, you can make your own 2 stroke oil that could also act as a substitute for the oil. To make the oil, you’ll need denatured alcohol and grease. Just mix equal parts of these very well and pour it into your engine crankcase. 

There will be no carbon buildup and the engine will work fine. But this cannot be used long term. You can use this temporarily if you’re stranded on a highway or isolated place, to make it through. So use this until you get your hands on 2 stroke oil.


To better understand and choose the preferred substitute among the five types, we’ve provided a comparison chart. All 5 substitutes have the factors that matter for a 2 stroke engine in different proportions. So let’s see how these are different.

FeaturesCooking Oil4 Stroke OilMotor OilAutomotive FluidsDIY Substitute
Carbon build-upModerateMassive MassiveModerateModerate
DurabilityShort termCan be used long termCan be used long termCan be used long termVery short term
Viscosity ModerateHighly ViscousModerateHighly ViscousLess viscous

Quick Tip 

In case you’re stranded on a highway and run out of oil for your 2 stroke engine, don’t run the engine without the oil. And never use gasoline for your 2 stroke engine. Because your engine might start and even get through for a while, but it’ll leave permanent damage on your motorcycle.

It might even kill the engine after a good 30 minutes of usage. And then your 2 stroke engine won’t start anymore. Yeah, that’s how bad it can get. So better to not do anything like that.


Question: What is the best 2 stroke mix ratio?

Answer: While, many ratios work with 2 stroke mixes. The best 2 stroke mix ratio is 32:1 oil to gasoline ratio. That is 1 gallon of gasoline with 4 ounces of 2 stroke oil. 

Question: How does a 2 stroke engine lubricate?

Answer: A stroke engine lubricates because of the oil injected into the engine. This is where it mixes with the fuel. This causes lubrication in the engine.

Question: What happens if you don’t use 2 stroke oil in your engine?

Answer: Running a 2 stroke engine with too little oil or no oil can end up destroying the unit. Oil helps in lubrication, so without it, the engine won’t be lubricated. This will melt the metals and damage the engine even further.


That was all from our side. As you can see it’s better to not use substitutes when it comes to 2 stroke engines. But if you happen to run out of 2 stroke fuel and want a short-term fix, you can use these substitutes to get going. We hope our detailed discussion about “What can I use instead of 2 stroke oil?” have cleared your doubts.

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