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 reliable and readily available substitutes for 2 stroke oil for different survival transports. You can use 4 stroke oil, cooking oil, or even the conventional motor oil of the right type of transport. 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.

Substitutes of 2 stroke oil

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. Such as the engine cooling system.

Also, make sure you figure out the engine of your vehicle or machine. If it has an expansion chamber connected to the exhaust pipe, then it’s a 2 stroke engine.

We’ve used a lot of 2 stroke oil substitute and came down to a conclusion.

So, what can you use instead of a 2 stroke oil?

Instead of a 2 stroke oil, you can use motor oil, automotive fluids, cooking oil or vegetable oil, motor oil, marine oil and others. Not only that, you can even use DIY substitutes.

Here’s a comparison and our recommendations for 2 stroke oil substitutes.

FeaturesCooking Oil4 Stroke OilMotor OilAutomotive FluidsDIY Substitute
Carbon build-upModerateMassiveMassiveModerateModerate
SolidifiesYesNo No No No
DurabilityShort termCan be used long termCan be used long termCan be used long termVery short term
ViscosityModerateHighly ViscousModerateHighly ViscousLess viscous
PriceGrab it nowGrab it nowGrab it now Grab it now

Now, in case you’re out for a survival trip, there might be a number of reasons why you would need alternatives to 2 stroke oil. That’s why we’ve listed these options for you above. That way you would be able to understand exactly what you need.

2 Stroke Oil Substitute For Motorcycle

Here is a list of options that are the best alternatives to 2 stroke engine oil

4 Stroke Oil

Now, you might be wondering- can I use 4 stroke oil instead of 2 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 4-stroke oil 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. 

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-

Cooking oil

If you’re out of 2 stroke oil 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?

Although there’s a possibility of the chains getting dirty since vegetable oils attract dirt. However, a good wash with a cleaning detergent fixes the problem right away. So, you can get a temporary solution by using cooking oil/vegetable oil in 2 stroke engine.

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. Also, there is a possibility that cooking oil isn’t available because of the use of different fuel tablets.

Here’s our recommendation for cooking oils as substitutes for 2-stroke oil.

Motor Oil

If your transport contains separate transmission, you can use motor oil without any hesitation. In the case of dirt bikes, with 2 stroke engines, you’ll need to use motor oil with a certain weight. For example, a 4 stroke engine will need 20w50.

Here’s our recommendation for 20w50 motor oils.

Provides wear protection: Mobil 20W-50 V-Twin Synthetic Motocycle Motor Oil

Formulated to maximize horsepower: Valvoline VR1 Racing SAE 20W-50l

And 2 stroke engine might get you curious- can I use 10w40 instead of 2 stroke oil?

Yes, you can! Using 10w40 would be one of the best solutions. However, you can’t use it without mixing a little patrol in it. Otherwise the weight of the oil will be too much for the engines. So, you need to figure out the ratio for mixing patrol and 10w40 according to the vehicle you’re using.

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.

Here’s our top picks for Asian type automotive power steering fluid.

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.

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-

2 Stroke Oil Substitute For Outboard Motor

Let us take a look at our options for 2 stroke oil for outboard motors-

Marine Oil

If you want to save money and a long-lasting effect then you should go for marine oil. Marine oil for 2 stroke engines can work wonders. It not only keeps the engine cool but also keeps the carbon buildup from forming. That’s how you can keep the combustion chamber, piston tops, under crowns, and on piston-combustion rings free from carbon build-up.

Here’s our recommendation for marine oils.

This oil lasts longer than other oil due to its formation on a synthetic base. The synthetic blend emits little smoke and consumes less oil overall. Although you can use it for other purposes, its high-performance blend was originally made for boat engines.

4 Stroke Oil

You can also use a 4 stroke oil for the outboard motor. However the chances of carbon buildup increases. So you should mix it with gasoline just in case.

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. 

cooking oil
Source: Inhabitat.com

2 Stroke Oil Substitute For Snowmobile And ATV

Snowmobile or ATV oil can also go bad. In that case, you can use any of the following-

Motor Oil

Of course, you can use motor oil for your ATV or snowmobile instead of 2 stroke oil. 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. However, you must make sure to keep the ratio of motor oil and gasoline right.

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-

4 Stroke Oil

You can use 4 stroke oil for your ATV or snowmobile. But you need to do it following the simple rule of mixing gasoline beforehand. Also do check the manufacturing guide for any tips on using any sort of oil.

2 Stroke Oil Substitute For Generators

Choosing oil for a generator would be the easiest task in any survival trip. That’s because you can replace the generator oil with almost any sort of oil available for you. The type of oil is not important as long as the oil lubricates the generators. So you can use motor oil, engine oil, 4 stroke oil, or marine oil whichever you like- instead of a 2 stroke oil. Though cooking oil isn’t encouraged to use, because of the dirt it attracts. You can still use it if it’s clean enough. However, make sure you know the proper ratio. If not, the manual will be your best friend.

automotive fluids
Source: Denniskirk.com

Some 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.

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.


What is the best 2 stroke mix ratio?

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. 

How does a 2 stroke engine lubricate?

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.

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

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.

Can you use regular oil instead of 2-stroke?

Yes, you can. Regular oils can lubricate any engine as much as a 2 stroke engine. However, you need to put extra attention to the ratio. Using the correct mix of gasoline will do the trick.

What is the fuel to oil ratio for a 2 stroke?

32:1 for 1 US gal. (128 oz.) with a 2 cycle oil volume of 4 oz. If the volume is 3.5 oz. then the ratio would be 40:1 per 1 US gal. (128 oz.). These are some of the fuel to oil ratios for a 2 stroke engine. Do check the volume before mixing.


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?” has cleared your doubts.