Changing the oil in your motorcycle is just as important as changing the oil in your car. In most cases, it is even more important as the majority of motorcycle owners I know love their motorcycles even more than their cars. Simply stated if you don’t change the oil in your motorcycle on a regular basis you will destroy the inner working of your engine.
The function of the engine oil is to create a protective barrier between the piston and the cylinder wall of your engine. If this protective barrier is not in place then a large amount of friction will create heat and potentially seize the piston inside the cylinder. In motorcycles, the engine oil is also sometimes used to lubricate the transmission and the clutch. This means that if you leave old oil in your motorcycle it will affect these systems of your motorcycle.
Frequency of Changing Oil
The exact length of time between oil changes depends on your model motorcycle you are riding and how often you ride it. Consult your owner’s manual to get the exact mileage required to change your oil. But if you do not have important to access your owner’s manual then I would recommend changing it at least every 5 months or 2000 miles. It is very important to change your oil as over time the viscosity or thickness of the oil breaks down. Whenever I buy a used bike, this is the first task I perform as the engine could potentially be destroyed if run with old oil in it for too long.
Difference Between Motorcycle Oil and Regular Oil
Motorcycle oil is very similar to automotive oil in appearance and to the touch, however, it has properties that make it unique to motorcycles. Motorcycle oil performs more functions in a motorcycle than in an automobile. It helps to lubricate the transmission and is used within the clutch if it is a wet clutch. Also in some street bikes, they are designed to run a very high RPM, which breaks down the engine oil faster so motorcycle oil is designed to retain its viscosity longer than regular automotive oil.
Changing Motorcycle Oil
If you have ever changed the oil in an automobile then the process of changing motorcycle oil should be very similar to you. Below are the tools you will need.
- Clean Rags
- Oil Drainage Pan
- Standard Wrench of Correct Size
- Oil Filter Wrench
- New Oil Filter
- 4 new quarts of motorcycle oil with correct weight for your motorcycle
Start by placing your motorcycle on its center stand and chock the front wheel. You should wait at least 30 minutes before you change the oil from a motorcycle that has recently run as the engine oil will be hot. Once the bike is secured in place place the oil drain pan underneath the oil pan of the motorcycle.
The oil pan generally looks like a long flat piece of metal with a drainage bolt on the bottom or on the front side of the pan. In a V-Twin motorcycle, the pan is generally at the bottom of the V of the engine. The pan is almost always visible from underneath the motorcycle.
Once you locate the pan then locate the drainage bolt on the pan. Every bike has a different size drainage bolt, but it should be close to 15mm in size. The majority of motorcycles that I have worked on have had a size 15mm bolt. Now that you have located the drainage bolt place the correct size wrench on the drainage bolt and turn it counterclockwise until you can continue to unscrew the bolt by hand. Be careful the engine oil may be hot if the motorcycle has recently been run.
Once the engine oil begins to flow out you can open the oil intake cover in order to expedite the flow of the old engine oil. Let all of the oil drain out of the engine. It should take 10 to 15 minutes.
Once all of the oil is drained from the engine take the oil filter wrench and place it around the oil filter in the proper loosening direction. Loosen the oil filter with the wrench until it can be taken off by hand.
Remove the old filter and place the new filter in its place. You can take some of the older oil and place it around the seal of the filter in order for the filter to be applied smoothly. Snug up the new oil filter with the oil filter wrench. Replace the drainage bolt into the engine oil pan and apply tension with the wrench until the bolt is securely in place. It is not necessary to over tighten the drainage bolt as you do not want to risk breaking the bolt.
Now that the filter and drainage bolt is back in place you can fill the engine with fresh oil within the engine oil cap. Use a funnel to ensure you do not spill any oil on the engine.
Check your user’s manual to fill the engine with the exact volume of engine oil required after an oil and filter change. Move the drainage pan out from underneath the motorcycle and take the motorcycle off of the center stand.