Blog Car Care Advice The JASO MA2 Engine Oil Guide (Uses + 7 FAQs)
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The JASO MA2 Engine Oil Guide (Uses + 7 FAQs)

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If you only drive a car, you might not be as familiar with JASO MA2 engine oil.

And that wouldn’t be surprising, as JASO oils are used in a motorcycle engine.

While we don’t service motorcycles, we do get a fair amount of questions about them. We’ll try our best to answer the questions around JASO MA2 engine oil in this article.

We’ll also go through some related queries to give a broader view of this motor oil standard.

So, what is JASO MA2 engine oil? 
Is JASO MA2 the same as JASO MA?

This Article Contains:

Let’s get started.

What Is JASO MA2 Engine Oil?

The JASO MA2 rating was introduced in the 2006 JASO T903 standard for modern motorcycle engines. 

A JASO MA2 oil is simply a motor oil that meets the JASO MA2 rating
This indicates a few things — the oil is: 

JASO MA2 motorcycle oil is formulated to deliver a higher wet clutch friction performance. This essentially means more grip where the clutch feel is less progressive. 

Let’s dig a little deeper into the JASO MA2 rating.

What Is The Meaning Of JASO MA2?

The JASO T903 specification has several categories: MA, MB, MA1, and MA2. 

A motorcycle oil with one of these standards needs to meet certain friction parameters in the SAE #2 Clutch Friction test included in JASO T903. 

The SAE #2 Clutch Friction test evaluates the oil performance in 3 friction characteristics:

JASO MA2 oil must meet these values (according to JASO T903:2016):

Also, for any motor oil to meet JASO T903 standards, it must have another quality level, like API SJ or API SN. Here’s the full list:

Now that we know what JASO MA2 oil is, let’s go through some FAQs. 

7 FAQs on JASO MA2

The following FAQs will, hopefully, provide a broader view of JASO MA2 oils. 

1. What is JASO?

JASO (Japanese Automotive Standards Organization) is an organization comprising major vehicle manufacturers in Japan. 

It was designed to be the Japanese equivalent to the API (American Petroleum Institute) specifications, overseeing the unique specification needs of modern Japanese engines. API standards are meant for the automobile engine, not the motorcycle engine.

2. Why Is JASO Oil Used In Motorcycles?

Up to 1998, automotive oil was used as the base for most motorcycle engine oils. 

As car technology evolved, so did car oil formulas. Anti-wear additives, like the friction modifier, were blended in to improve metal surface wear. However, these modifications can damage motorcycles. 

Motorcycles usually have the same oil lubricating the engine and wet clutch (whereas cars have separate oils lubricating the engine and transmission). 

Friction modifier additives are especially detrimental to the motorcycle gearbox and clutch. It can cause the clutch to slip and can also cause gearbox pitting. Also, motorcycle oil is subject to significant operating stress. It has to endure hotter temperatures, higher engine speed, and great power density. 

So, to ensure engine parts are properly lubricated, motorcycle manufacturers typically define a motorcycle specific oil that meets one of the JASO standards. 

3. What Is JASO T903?

The JASO T903 was introduced in 1998 as the globally recognized 4 stroke motorcycle oil standard. 

It defines the lubricant performance level of different motorcycle designs. Its grading system measures several characteristics, including motorcycle oil resistance to clutch friction (or slippage) and protection against engine wear and gearbox pitting. 

JASO T903 originally had two categories: MA and MB. 

In 2006, the MA1 and MA2 categories were added within the JASO MA standard, with MA2 being the higher standard for friction performance. 

Here’s are the friction performance requirements (JASO T903:2016):

DFI (Dynamic Friction Characteristic Index)≥1.35 and <2.50≥0.40 and <1.35
SFI (Static Friction Characteristic Index)≥1.45 and <2.50≥0.40 and <1.45
STI (Stop Time Index)≥1.40 and <2.50≥0.40 and <1.40

Note: If any of the 3 indices fall in the MB oil range, it’s categorized as an MB oil. 

The JASO MA oil category is further divided into MA1 and MA2:

DFI (Dynamic Friction Characteristic Index)≥1.35 and <1.50≥1.50 and <2.50
SFI (Static Friction Characteristic Index)≥1.45 and <1.60≥1.60 and <2.50
STI (Stop Time Index)≥1.40 and <1.60≥1.60 and <2.50

In terms of usage, here’s how the categories define: 

4. What Is JASO FA?

JASO also has a rating system for 2-stroke engine oils, JASO M345. 2-stroke motorcycle engines have smaller tolerances and require an oil that produces less ash.

JASO FA is the lowest specification for 2-stroke bike oils. It was the original standard established to regulate lubrication capability, initial torque, detergency, exhaust smoke, and exhaust system blocking. It was declared obsolete in 2005, although you might still find it in use. 

The active JASO classifications for 2-stroke motorcycle engine oils are:

5. Can I Use JASO MA2 Oil Instead Of JASO MA?

JASO MA2 is the higher category within the JASO MA oil standard. So, technically, a motorcycle specified with MA oil can run with MA2 oil. 

However, a motorcycle requiring MA2 oil should not run on MA oil. 

6. Where Can I Find JASO Information On A Bottle?

You’ll usually find information on the JASO rating and other oil specifications printed on the motorcycle oil bottle’s back label. 

This can include different viscosity details, like the SAE Viscosity Grade, the Viscosity Index (as tested to ASTM D2270), and Kinematic Viscosity (as tested to ASTM D445). 

Some motorcycles oils known to meet JASO standards: 

7. Is JASO MA2 Rated Oil A Synthetic Oil Or Mineral Oil?

It depends on the oil producer. JASO MA2 rated oils can be in synthetic oil, mineral oil, or synthetic blend format. 

Final Thoughts

As vehicle engines evolve, the oils that lubricate them have to change to match their needs, whether it’s a car oil or motorcycle specific oil. 

The next time you need to top up your motorcycle engine oil, don’t just look at the SAE viscosity grade requirement. Make sure it’s a JASO rated oil too. You don’t want your clutch to start slipping because you put car oil in your BMW bike engine.